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LOCAL TIME: 08:40 pm | Sunday, 25 February
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Birding around Memel, North Eastern Free State

The Grey Crowned Crane or Mahem, Memel, South AfricaThe entire area around Memel is a birder’s paradise, with varied landscapes from pockets of cloud forest to gently undulating hills with willow fringed dams and wetland vleis. The area south  and east of Memel is more mountainous and dramatic, being on the edge of the Drakensberg  Mountain range, and north of Memel you will find the RAMSAR Seekoewvlie Wetland Nature Reserve and more wetlands along the Klip River as it winds through open alpine farmlands.

Take a slow drive west along the R556 from Memel with your binoculars and look out for Grey and Red Wing Francolins, Southern Bald Ibis, Blue Crane, Grey Crowned Crane (also called Mahem), Wattled Crane and Blue Korhaan among other bird species that thrive in the combination of wetland, alpine grasslands and grazing, including may high altitude grassland endemic bird species.

The species checklist for birding in and around Memel is 250, and 100 – 120 species can easily be seen over a weekend in the area. The best time for birding is in the rainy summer months, but this can also make some of the roads difficult to negotiate, so head there in a 4X4 if you can.

The Memel area is particularly well known of its many species of Lark, including Rudd’s Lark, Eastern Long-Billed Lark, Pink-billed Lark and Botha’s Lark.

Getting there: Memel is situated north of Harrismith on the R34.

More info on the quaint town of Memel More info on the Eastern Free State area

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