2007 M.A.H.E.M Hysterical Tour

Ken Gillings led us on a Magical Avian and Historical Expedition to Memel in the Free State in 2007.

Mahems – Crowned Cranes who trumpet ‘Ma-Hem!’ as they fly overhead – are found year-round in Memel, but I can’t remember if we saw any. They’re nomadic, so they come and go. Did we see any? Someone may remember.

The reason birders go to Memel is the vleis – the marshlands – the wetlands

. . and the grasslands – the vlaktes – wide open spaces

Or, if you’re a history buff, cos kak happened here. Here’s Ken telling us what shit went down here, right here, on this spot

– right over there, Steenkamp shot Poncenby – morsdood – war is hell, I’m not to blame –



  1. Harry says:

    Kranskop is a sandstone outcrop just off the Memel road, not too far from Mullers Pass where we used to rock climb on many weekends, and even on many afternoons we sneaked away from work. Regularly saw them and other cranes around the area. When Cyris and Robson were doing there Bird Atlas of Natal my friend Stoffel and I set off early one morning around the Kranskop area and ticked 170-something (can’t remember the exact number) birds in about a 3 hour period, including cranes, buzzards, falcons, kites, cape vultures, chats, ducks, geese, laksmanne, kwikstertjies, cisticolas, bulbuls, cuckoos, etc… I remember us getting back to our tent at about 8.30 and cracking a beer to celebrate the number of birds we ticked in that short session…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. bewilderbeast says:

      Mountains, Birds and Beer. What I imagine heaven is gonna be like!


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