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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa


Afrikaans name: Memel

Approaching Memel

Memel / Memel-Zamani

Photo © Steven Herbert

Free State

The small town of Memel is officially called Memel-Zamani. Zamani was the name of the adjacent township and the two have officially combined and the names were combined to reflect this.

The area surrounding the town is picturesque and the nearby Seekoeivlei Nature Reserve is a popular bird-watching destination. Memel lies on the west slope of the Drakensberg escarpment and much of the surrounding habitat is known as high-altitude grassland.

Memel is situated at an altitude of 1,730 metres and experiences some fairly extreme weather conditions. It experiences warm summers and bitter winters. Some people believe that Memel is the coldest place in South Africa and not Sutherland which is the popular belief.

The economy in Memel is supported by tourism and farming. Tourists come to enjoy the natural beauty in the area as well as the diverse bird life. The local farms mainly produce maize and livestock.

The town was founded in 1911 and there are a number of theories as to where the name came from.

Cows in the street

Cows wandering through the streets of Memel

Photo © Steven Herbert


Memel's Museum

Photo © Steven Herbert

Memel Hotel

Memel Hotel

Photo © Steven Herbert

Dutch Reformed Church

The Dutch Reformed Church building

Photo © Steven Herbert


References and further reading

Country Life - Issue 272 - Author: - Year Published: 2019 - Page: 58

On Route - A region by region guide to South Africa - Author: B.P.J. Erasmus - Year Published: 1995 - Page: 241

Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to Southern Africa - 4th edition - Author: - Year Published: 1986 - Page: 307

Southern Africa from the Highway - Author: AA RSA - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 241

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