Chrissiesmeer is a small historical town situated in the heart of South Africa's lake district. The ancient San were undoubtedly the first inhabitants of the region, including the Tlou-tle, who built floating rafts on the larger lakes which in turn became floating villages.
An eccentric Scotsman, Mr Alexander McCorkindale, fell in love with this area which reminded him so much of his home country, Scotland, and he bought 200 farms from the ZAR government. Alexander was also responsible for the name Chrissiesmeer. He and his wife did not have children but were very fond of Christina Pretorius, Pres. M. W. Pretorius's talented daughter. They renamed Zeekoei pan to Miss Chrissies Lake which later became Lake Chrissie and even later, Chrissiesmeer. During the time of the Anglo-Boer War it was also known as Bothwell.
Lakes and pans
In the 1880s, the town became an important stopover to and from Barberton and yet the town has retained its unspoilt charm and is now one of the most important eco-tourist destinations in the country. This Lake District has about 270 small lakes and pans within this area which offers birdwatching and for the more patient, frog watching. The area is also known as Matotolan, which means Frog Land due to the 13 frog species found in and around these waters. Frog tours have been on offer for more than a decade.
Lake Chrissie is a natural lake, 24Km in circumference, covering about 1500 ha and is around 3m deep at its deepest spot. It is the largest natural fresh water lake in South Africa. A flock of about 20 000 flamingos, 82 aquatic bird species and 170 other bird species make their home here.
There are a number of sites of historic interest in the area, notably the Dumbarton Oaks Hotel built in the late 1800s, and Billiard Cottage, which was transported by ox wagon all the way from Bloemfontein and served as a recreation mess for British soldiers in the 2nd Anglo-Boer War. There are San rock paintings on the farm Welgelegen and in various sheltered places around Chrissiesmeer.
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