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Chrissiesmeer / Lake Chrissie

Chrissiesmeer

Municipality

District Municipality: Gert Sibande District Municipality

Info Chrissiesmeer Tourism Bureau

Sabiland Rd
Chrissiesmeer

Phone number: 017-847-0164
Fax number: 017-847-0164
Email: Email inquiry

Chrissiesmeer is named after Christiana Pretorius, daughter of President MW Pretorius. The town Christiana, in the North-West Province, is also named after her. The Chrissiesmeer area is also known as Matotoland, which means Frog Land after the numerous frog species found in and around the waters. During the time of the Anglo-Boer War it was also known as Bothwell.

Attractions

Also see the neighbouring towns

Chrissiesmeer is in the lake district of eastern Mpumalanga. This Lake District has about 270 small lakes and pans within a 20Km radius. The area offers birdwatching, and for the more patient, frog watching - there are 13 species of frogs. Frog tours have been on offer for more than a decade.

Lake Chrissie is a natural lake, 24Km in circumference, covering about 1500Ha, and at the deepest spots about 3m deep. It is the largest natural fresh water lake in South Africa. A flock of about 20'000 flamingos, 82 aquatic birds and 170 other bird species can be viewed.

The area is under threat of the mining industry, which is slowly busy destroying the ecosystem.

Many sandstone buildings dating from 1860 to 1902 can be seen. These include churches, banks, trading posts, old mill works, magistrates courts, stables and hotel.

San rock painting visits are included in some hiking trails.

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History

There are San rock paintings in the area, and they probably lived in the area as long ago as 25'000 years. Chrissiesmeer was probably the last area to be soamed by the south-eastern Bushmen.

The Tlou-tle tribe settled in the area about 1500 years ago. They built floating rafts on the larger lakes which formed floating villages.

Chrissiesmeer is in the area once known as the Republic of New Scotland, established by Alexander McCorkindale in 1864 - the capital being Roburnia, the modern Amsterdam.

The "Battle" of Chrissiesmeer

The Battle of Chrissiesmeer took place on 6 February 1901.

The British armies of General Sir John French (8000 British troops) and General Sir Smith-Dorrien (4000 men) were stationed in the general area, while the Boer forces were under command of General Louis Botha (about 2000 men).


General Louis Botha (1862-1919)


General Sir Horace Lockwood Smith-Dorrien (1858-1930)


General Sir John Denton Pinkstone French (1852 - 1925)

Around 2:30 on the morning of 6 February 1901, Botha implemented decoy firing on Smith-Dorrien's Suffolks men. During this skirmish a group of Botha's men penetrated the West Yorkshire Regiment and cut loose the horses, which stampeded away. Smith-Dorrien's cavalry was thus paralysed. About 50 Boers died during the assault.

Smith-Dorrien highly regarded Botha's military strategies, and later wrote that Botha was the best general he had ever met, on either side, in all his 48 years of soldiering. Botha later (in 1910) became the Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa.

The battle is re-enacted every year.

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