Gauteng Tourist AttractionsKorsman Bird Sanctuary
Where? Korsman Bird Sanctuary, Lakefield, Benoni, East Rand, Gauteng
This small 100 hectare bird sanctuary lies roughly 1 km south of a shallow valley that carves its way through the centre of Benoni. It is home to at least 250 bird, including the goliath heron and glossy ibis, black egret and African spoonbill.
Korsman, considered one of the best bird sanctuaries in an urban area in the country, is a natural pan closely surrounded by residential homes.
It provides an area of peace and nature and is closely maintained by a combination of the city council, and a group of individuals who formed the non-profit Korsman Conservancy as a way to care for the bird sanctuary.
Korsman has an interesting history. The San used Benoni as a hunting ground – spear points and knives were found near the old Cranbourne station, and there was a period when non-indigenous trees were planted in the sanctuary, as was the custom at the turn of the last century.
Different types of wild game, including zebra and buck, have lived in the nature reserve at times, removed because high levels of water appeared to cause hoof rot. Today it is predominantly birds, reptiles and frogs that make the sanctuary their home, and there is a continuous battle to prevent the spread of exotic vegetation.
Rare birds include the white pelican, yellowbilled stork, orange-throated longclaw, pygmy goose, African harrier-hawk, long-crested eagle and lesser black-backed gull.
Other animals include the water mongoose, slender mongoose, vlei rat, striped mouse, bats, 25 species of butterfly and 45 different spiders, one of which is endemic to the sanctuary.
The sanctuary is fenced so that the birds remain undisturbed. There is a perimeter grass verge that is safe for walking, known as The Drive, which provides one with a 2 km walk and great views over the fence.
If you would like to visit the inner sanctum, contact the conservancy or join them on a litter pick-up or alien vegetation removal day.
The Korsman Conservancy frequently update their Facebook page.