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Memel Accommodation, Northern & Eastern Free State

Memel Accommodation

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Typical scene of cattle outside of Memel, Free State  © Nick Roux, License


Memel, a Prussian word meaning 'surrounded by water' is an apt description for this quaint town situated in the Drakensberg area in the north eastern corner of the Free State.

Two kilometres north of Memel is one of the largest remaining wetlands of South Africa, making it a site of international ecological importance. Since the wetlands and surrounding plains are home to more than 300 species of birds, it has become a bird lover's haven.

The Seekoeivlei Nature Reserve situated within the wetland area, consists of some 220 oxbow lakes formed in the Klip River over the centuries. The last hippopotamus in the Free State was shot here in 1894. A project to re-establish them in the reserve was started in 1999 and Memel's visitors can now once again view these large creatures wallowing happily in their reclaimed waters.

Founded in 1913, Memel was home to General Christiaan De Wet, Leader of the Rebellion during the Anglo Boer War. Various battle sites and memorials can be found in and around the town.

A unique area of spectacular beauty, Memel is a popular destination for nature lovers and history buffs.

Memel, a small town in the Free State province of South Africa, is known for its serene landscapes, birdwatching opportunities, and historical charm.

Here are three things to see and do in and around Memel:

  1. Seekoeivlei Nature Reserve:
    Birdwatching: Seekoeivlei Nature Reserve is a haven for birdwatchers, boasting over 250 bird species, including several rare and endangered ones. The wetlands, grasslands, and vleis (shallow lakes) attract species such as the wattled crane, blue crane, and grey crowned crane.
    Wildlife Viewing: Apart from birds, the reserve is home to various mammals, including antelope, reedbuck, and the elusive otter. The diverse habitats within the reserve support a rich array of flora and fauna.
    Scenic Walks and Trails: Enjoy walking trails that meander through the reserve, offering stunning views of the wetlands and the chance to observe wildlife up close. The peaceful setting makes it an ideal spot for nature photography and relaxation.

  2. Memel Historical Buildings and Sites:
    Dutch Reformed Church: Visit the historic Dutch Reformed Church in Memel, a beautiful example of early 20th-century architecture. The church is an iconic landmark in the town and reflects the cultural heritage of the area.
    War Memorials: Explore the various war memorials around Memel that commemorate those who fought in the Anglo-Boer War and other conflicts. These sites offer a glimpse into the town's historical significance and the impact of past events on the local community.
    Old Railway Station: The old railway station in Memel, though no longer in operation, is a relic of the town's past and adds to its historical charm. It's an interesting site for those keen on history and heritage.

  3. Scenic Drives and Outdoor Activities:
    Drakensberg Escarpment: Take a scenic drive towards the nearby Drakensberg Escarpment, which offers breathtaking views of rolling hills, mountains, and valleys. The landscape is perfect for photography, picnicking, and exploring the natural beauty of the region.
    Fishing and Boating: The dams and rivers around Memel provide excellent opportunities for fishing and boating. Spend a relaxing day by the water, fishing for local species or simply enjoying the tranquil environment.
    Hiking and Nature Walks: The area around Memel offers several hiking and nature trails that cater to different levels of fitness and experience. These trails provide a great way to explore the countryside, enjoy fresh air, and experience the region's natural beauty.

These attractions highlight the natural beauty, historical significance, and outdoor activities that make Memel and its surroundings an appealing destination in the Free State.


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Memel Accommodation, Northern & Eastern Free State
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