The largest (around 9 km long, 3 km wide, with a circumference of 25 km, and 1500 ha big) natural body of fresh water in South Africa is in the wetlands of Chrissiesmeer and is the start of four big river systems, all flowing in different directions. Namely, the Vaal, Komatie, Olifants, and Usutu Rivers. Thus, making this serene region an ecological wonder combined with its beautiful rock formation and impressive mountains.
The Chrissiesmeer region is also called Matotoland, which is derived from maxoxo, the Swazi word for frog. No less than thirteen frog species are recorded in the area.
With more than 270 lakes in the immediate area, Chrissiesmeer is a real bird paradise. Every year nearly 20,000 birds come into the area to breed. The Chrissie Pans support 287 species of birds.
The best time of year to spot over 287 species of birds is from September to March.
Usually held during the first week in December, a new frog species called ‘Mampharra padda’ (padda is frog in Afrikaans) is sought after.
Join visitors and locals trying to catch as many frogs possible in the mud. Pack a pair of boots and a raincoat for this activity.
After all that fun, frog experts love sharing their stories around the campfire over a scrumptious meal.
Your best bet for decent stargazing in South Africa is at Chrissiesmeer with the clearest skies and most magnificent stargazing opportunities. The best time is during winter but bundle up warmly as it can get pretty cold, even in summer. This small town was not referred to as ‘New Scotland’ by early settlers for nothing!
For the best gin experience, with over 50 different local and international gins, head over to The Gin Shop, at 88 King Edward Street. You will also find them on Facebook – search for @theloveofgin.
They make a delicious breakfast and the atmosphere is warm and friendly. Most certainly worth a stop. Also, an opportunity to buy some South African traditional rusks!
This coffee shop/restaurant is most certainly worth a stop. Head over to their Facebook for more details.
Chrissiesmeer is located in the Mpumalanga Province of South Africa.