The flamingos of Kimberley’s Kamfers Dam offer a rare and lovely sight – thousands upon thousands of these pink birds stretching for as far as the eye can see. This area is one of only four breeding sites in Africa for lesser flamingos and is a must-see for any birder.
These flamingos are a spectacularly memorable sight, even if you’re not a serious birder.
Kamfers Dam is a permanent wetland just minutes by road from the iconic old diamond mining town of Kimberley. Some years there are around 20 000 birds at the dam; but sometimes the population can rocket up to 50 000 birds and more.
The lesser flamingos flock to this dam because it has an abundance of algae, the favoured food of these filter-feeders. Apparently, the amount of algae in the dam has been put at 750 000kg. The problem was – would they, could they – breed here? Their continued existence at the dam depended on successful breeding.
In cooperation with birding experts, a visionary and generous mining company, Ekapa, built an S-shaped artificial island in the middle of the dam. Everyone – conservationists, birders, concerned environmentalists, many of the general public – held their collective breath. Would the lesser flamingo take to this new man-made home?
The birds loved it and set a record – this was the first time that the lesser flamingo had bred in South Africa. Now there is a large, permanent breeding population here that has become a magnet for travellers and birders from all over the world.
But the story continues – now Kamfers Dam is under threat from an increased inflow of untreated sewage water. The Save the Flamingo Association and BirdLife South Africa are raising money and public awareness to stop the threats to this unique South African attraction. Visit the flamingos of Kimberley and then add your voice to the urgent appeal to save them.
Courtesy of SA Tourism