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East of Khartoum, a sanctuary offers haven for birds

Some of the parrot types the Marshall Nature Reserve shelters, tucked away east of Sudan's capital Khartoum.   -  
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AFP PHOTO / Khartoum Marshall Nature Reserve


Tucked away east of Sudan's capital Khartoum, a sanctuary of lush green vegetation has been a haven for dozens of exotic birds from far and wide.

Birds feeding off human hands. The Marshall Nature Reserve gives a different glimpse of the Sudanese capital. It is a haven of peace and tranquility. Nested east of Khartoum, the sanctuary of lush green vegetation was set up four years ago by Sudanese bird lover Akram Yehia.

"The idea was to create an ideal environment that simulates the bird's natural habitat, the owner of the Marshall Nature Reserve says. That was the great challenge at the beginning."

In the natural reserve, visitors can behold over a hundred100 birds of 13 species. Ring-necked parakeet, rosella birds, Meyers as well as African grey parrot and red-rumped parrots flit, across branches and compete over birdhouses.

The natural sanctuary -that used to be Akram Yehia's front yard- also shelters a garden pond and mist nozzles for cooling off against the heat. All of this to the great joy of visitors coming from Sudan and beyond to admire the unique scenery.

"Khartoum is a desert, there isn't any nature. He managed to bring this [nature] to Khartoum", local visitor Hossameddine Sidahmed tells beaming.

Anna Shcherbakova, a visitor from Ukraine will not contradict him: "The place is amazing, it's nice. It's a nice change of scenery. The birds are very domestic, they're very social. The owner has done a great job in training them. It's just really nice to get away from the routine and just to find a place like that. I wish I knew about it before."

Visitors are welcomed only during two to three hours per day to avoid disturbing the animals. If the reserve seems out of time, the political instability that Sudan faces has however affected the haven.

Tear gas used during the series of demonstrations shaking Sudan is extremely harmful to birds. For now, Yahia takes care of his birds and wishes to expand the reserve in the future.

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