A rare chance to see Sarus Cranes in the wild.
Come to Anlung Pring to see the world’s tallest flying birds, Sarus Crane, tall and noble, marked by his distinctive red mark on their head which makes it possible to differentiate them for other bird species. Arriving during the main birding season (December – April), you will be rewarded by a beautiful show, where flogs of the Sarus Cranes are gradually accompanied by other birds arriving into the area. Many people come for the wildlife and stay for the hospitality. Easily assessable from Kampot or Kep this project is becoming a place to visit for authentic village culinary and cultural experiences for the whole family.
The site is managed by local community members who established the Anlung Pring Sarus Crane Conservation and development Community (AC-SCC-DC). This group consist of local community members who oversee the operation and management of the tourism activities at the Anlung Pring area.
From Mr. Morm Rein – the Manager of Sarus Crane protection at the natural area: “I have lived in this village my whole life, I was born here 47 years ago. I used to be a rice farmer, like my father. Farming in the area is very difficult, and every year I would struggle to earn enough money to support my family. Some years, it was really difficult for me. I have been involved with this project for 12 years, volunteering my time to help develop this local initiative. Today, my role is to manage the protection fo the Sarus Crane and oversee the tourism development in this community. At the beginning it was very difficult, the villagers did not understand why we should be protecting the birds. People used to fish in the wetlands, which means that there would not be enough food for the birds. It took a very long time for us to educate everyone in the community and explain the benefits of protecting the wildlife. The important step was for the NGO to buy the wetlands land, this means that this area is now protected. Over time people started to understand that tourism can create jobs for them. They can see that it is possible to earn money by having a homestay or by being a cook. We hope that tourism will help to protect the Sarus Crane and create more opportunities for our people in the future. So, please tell people about our project, so they come to visit.”
The Anlong Pring bird sanctuary is located in Kampong Trach district, Kampot province. This sanctuary is an official IBA (Important Bird Area), along with over 12,000 IBA’s in 200 countries. Anlong Pring’s IBA is Cambodia’s 2nd Sarus Crane reserve since 6 January 2011. The 1st reserve was established in Takeo province in 2007. The Anlong Pring reserve covers 217 hectares of seasonally inundated grassland. In March 2010, the site held nearly 300 Sarus Cranes, more than 30% of the global population.
Sarus Cranes were previously widely found across South and Southeast Asia, but have undergone rapid population declines due to widespread hunting, egg collection and habitat loss. The last remaining Southeast Asian stronghold is in Cambodia and adjacent areas of Laos and Vietnam. Sarus Cranes in Cambodia are highly vulnerable because they are dependent upon two particular types of wetland habitat: temporarily flooded grasslands for breeding during the wet season, and permanent marshlands for feeding during the non-breeding dry season – like Anlong Pring Site.
Please note that you can only see the Sarus Crane birds from mid-November until May every year!
The Along Pring site has a specially-built viewing tower that was completed last year, which allow you to can stay above the wetland. this means that you can see the cranes without disturbing them. The tour guide has a Western – high-quality binoculars that are available for tourists to use, and provide improved birding experience. The tower has a shaded area so, even at the heat of the day you are being protected from the direct sun.
1-3 private bedrooms in a Tampuan house, elevated on stilts and accessible via stairs. Bedrooms are equipped with bed, bedding, pillow, mosquito net and light. All houses have a local style bathroom external to the house that is clean and lockable. Amenities include a squat toilet and bucket shower. House includes safe charging facilities and free clean drinking water.
The project has a range of good quality working bicycles to hire in order to explore the local area and the villages around the project.
One of the main reasons people visit the site is the opportunity to Surus Crans, and other local bird species. The Cranes usually arrive around mid-November, to use the wetlands as a feeding ground, and remain until early May when they begin their migration to the wetlands in the northern and eastern plains of Cambodia where they breed. The Sarus Crane (subspecies sharpii) is a large crane found in parts of the Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia and Australia. The tallest of the flying birds, standing at a height of up to 1.8 m, they are a conspicuous and iconic species in the open wetlands. The Sarus Crane is considered globally vulnerable.
Along the bird watching experience, the villagers have developed a range of cultural fun and engaging activities that help you to learn more about the lives of Cambodian rural communities. So, why not try the traditional Khmer fishing method including a casting net, bamboo basket and seine net. In the right season, the guide can show you how to harvest other seasonal foods fresh from the wetlands. If you are crafty or want to learn about non-plastic alternatives to packaging, you can take part in a traditional weaving; it is not easy but it can be great fun for the whole family.
Rice wine is a source of pride around Anlung Pring—join in the fun of making and drinking it!
AROUND ANLUNG PRING
Explore the local area by bicycle. There is a lot to see in the area that surrounds Anlung Pring, and there’s no better way too explore it than by bicycle. Every guest is provided free bicycle hire when they stay at the homestays. Discover the old Ranger’s Station and Hidden Mountain.
accommodation offered to guests within a local family home. This is an authentic way to gain insight into how Cambodians live in rural areas and to experience it yourself. Of course, life is more rustic in rural Cambodia, so don’t expect all the mod cons of a modern hotel. But herein lies the charm of this experience, you can sit back, observe and become part of daily village life. All the homestays have electricity but no wifi, although internet can still be accessed via smartphone or internet dongle if you have one.
FROM PHNOM PENH:
Kampot Province, Camsouthern’s South province is easily accessible by road. You can it by VIP minibus or bus. It takes approximately 3,5 hours from Phnom Penh, 8 hours from Siem Reap (note from experience, the journey is always a little longer than listed by the bus companies). Phnom Penh take a bus bus going to Kampot, Kep and the Vietnamese border, the journey took approximately 3,5 hours. Once you reach the intersection with a road going to Kampong Trach Caves , ask the driver to stop so you can get off the bus. From there, you can hire motodops or tuktuk to reach the site, if you want to save time motorbike might be faster (tuk-tuk, but it might be a bit slower than the motorbikes). The 8km distance takes around 25minutes in the dry season.
BY CAR OR MOTORBIKE FROM KEP:
From White Horse roundabout in Kep, drive east on road #33. After 29km, #33 takes a sharp left turn. You continue straight onto #31 (gravel road) for 700m. Turn right under an archway, drive through the countryside for 9km until you arrive at a T-crossing. Turn left here, drive past the pagoda and turn right again. Continue 3km and turn left (there is a crane bird sign board here) (if you go straight instead, you complete the loop to the Kampong Trach metal bridge after 15km). After 200m turn left again, continue 1.5km and you arrive at the Birdlife Centre watch post. The last 500m is not accessible by tuk-tuk.
ANLONG PRING BIRDS SANCTUARY
OTHER TRAVELLERS EXPERIENCES
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My trip to Anlung Pring Sarus Crane Project
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