Birding in Memel
Did you know?
A number of famous South African musicians have moved to Memel.
Birding in Memel, an area in the Free State of high grassland with a massive wetland, is a premier experience – and not only for birders.
This is a high-altitude grassland, with an extensive wetland nearby - an exceptionally scenic place with oxbow lakes.
You have a better than good chance of seeing those ultimate grassland lifers – Rudd’s lark, Botha’s lark and the rare yellow-breasted pipit. Also in the region you might be lucky enough to see the striking blue korhaan, blue crane and Denham’s bustard.
In some respects, the experience of birding in Memel is similar to that of Wakkerstroom in Mpumalanga. Memel, however, is less ‘discovered’ a destination and retains the old-fashioned feel of a truly agricultural town.
The area where Rudd’s lark and Botha’s larks can be found is just south of Memel, where you also might see black harrier, Lanner falcons, African rock thrush, buff-streaked chat, ground woodpecker and mountain wheatear.
One of the drives recommended by birders is to head out on the Normandien road to the jaw-dropping views from the top of the escarpment, with the yellowwood forests of KwaZulu-Natal below.
Here you stand an excellent chance of seeing forest birds like the bar-throated apalis, yellow-throated woodland warbler, Cape batis and African olive pigeon.
Take a long loop back via the Klip River Valley, its many grassy wetlands full of widowbirds, warblers and bishops.
The Seekoeivlei wetland itself yields an excellent variety of birds including African snipe, African shelduck, African darter, southern bald ibis and grey crowned crane.
Heading there or back you may find spike-heeled larks and grey-winged francolin.
Memel itself is well worth the visit. A sleepy little farming town with a beautiful church, it has attracted a number of creative émigrés from cities. Its environmentally friendly cob houses and rammed earth buildings have become something of an attraction in their own right.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Mahem Country Guesthouse
Tel: +27 (0) 58 924 0034
Tel: +27 (0) 58 924 0740