Chrissiesmeer (Lake Chrissie) is a small town in a wetland area of Mpumalanga province in South Africa, on the northern banks of the eponymous Lake Chrissie. In total there are more than 270 lakes in the immediate area (located not far from Carolina). Every year nearly 20.000 flamingo come into the area to breed. But Chrissiesmeer is also renowned for its cranes.
The fact that all three of these rare and beautiful birds occur here makes the area very special indeed. From a crane’s perspective the Chrissiesmeer area is an absolute jewel year-round. During the summer months several Blue Crane pairs and a dozen or more Grey Crowned Crane pairs use this area for breeding. During winter a large flock of Grey Crowned Cranes can often be seen around some of the larger pans or in the harvested maize fields. The critically endangered Wattled Crane is more elusive and frequents some of the larger wetlands in the Lake District.
The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) is proud to announce the launch of the very first annual Chrissiesmeer Crane Festival taking place on the 6th and the 7th of July in Chrissiesmeer, Mpumalanga. The Festival aims to spotlight the alarming plight of our cranes and their wetland habitats with only around 4000 Grey Crowned Cranes; less than 25 000 Blue Cranes; and only 260 Critically Endangered Wattled Cranes left in South Africa.
The festival is about generating awareness and understanding among local communities and visitors to the area about the importance of conserving cranes and their wetland habitats. Furthermore, the festival provides an opportunity for the local communities to become more involved in the conservation of the cranes and their habitats and, as a result, maintain and increase the tourism potential of the Mpumalanga Lakes District.
The two day Crane Festival programme includes the following:
- Talks on Chrissiesmeer’s lakes and pans, history, and the area’s fauna and flora, including the cranes;
- Trips to see the cranes, to bird watch and stargaze;
- A live reptile show;
- Praise poetry by local learners;
- A photo competition;
- Activities for the kids, including face painting, puppet shows and storytelling;
- Arts and crafts stalls, including local produce and confectionery; and
- A special Saturday dinner with guest speaker and renown photographer, Warwick Tarboton.
For more information on the Chrissiesmeer Crane Festival or to book your place for the trips and the Saturday dinner please contact Ursula Franke on firstname.lastname@example.org
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