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History of Meiringskloof Nature Park
Meiringskloof, now a well developed nature resort, has a rich history in context to the town and surrounding area stretching back to the early 1930’s. The name Meiringskloof originates from Mr. J.H.Meiring who was the major of Fouriesburg from 1925 – 1931. In these early years of Fouriesburg’s history not much provision was made for water, with the inhabitants of the town having to fetch their own water from a borehole or from a fountain southwest of the town. As the need for water grew, a pipe was installed at a fountain on the side of Ventersberg that led into a dam from which the town then got its water. This improvement was enough save for in times of drought. In the late 1940’s the municipality bought the farm Glen Skye – previously known as Meiringen – so that the water from Meiringskloof could supplement the towns growing need.
The farm was later sold again, but a part of Ventersberg, as well as Meiringskloof was kept aside as a nature reserve. This area, in which the current resort is located, was the municipal water works from roughly 1940 – 1973. The current shop was the pump station, and the area behind it was the water filtration plant with a store room off to the side. The grass bank opposite the shop was the dam wall to the town’s water supply.
In 1973 with the town boasting a much larger population, a new dam had to be constructed. The old waterworks and dam were converted into a picnic area, and a small ablutions facility was constructed. The picnic area used to be where camp sites 1 to 16 are now located, and where the swimming pool is located there was indigenous bush and a small quarry. In the early 1980’s Ds. J. P. Le Roux, a retired missionary minister, settled in the town of Fouriesburg and became an active member of the community. His son-in-law and daughter, Wynand and Susan Pretorius, decided to develop the picnic area into a caravan park and entered into discussions with the municipality.
At first the area was rented from the municipality, and was finally purchased in 1987. In 1988 Ds. J. P. Le Roux, fondly known as “Oom Japie” by the townsfolk and early visitors to Meiringskloof, became the first manager of Meiringskloof and started work on the park as we know it today. The first chalet to be occupied in Meiringskloof was Chalet number 2 “Patrys”, this was the old ablutions block for the picnic site and was redone and occupied for the first time in 1988.
The main hiking trail to the “Boesmangrot” and “Holkrans” were part of the original reserve. The development of a 5 day hiking trail, the Brandwater Hiking Trail, resulted in the construction of the chain ladder still used today to climb up the side of the cliff at the top of the trail. Sadly this popular trail was closed in 2002.
The various hiking trails, some leading up the sides of the cliffs, were constructed by a team led by Ds. J. P. Le Roux. He and his team were responsible for much of the construction of the current Meiringskloof. The rest of the hiking trails were finished in late 2000, with chalets having been added through the years from 1988 up until August 2007 which saw the completion and occupation of the most recent chalet, chalet 8. Plans for the future include the revamping of the swimming pool, the upgrading of some of the older chalets and the Swallow’s Nest and the possible addition of two more chalets
Entrance to H4, H5 and H6
Entrance to H12, H9, H8 and H7
Entrance March 1878
Swimming Pool area
The current K10, K11 and K12 area
Ablution Block area
Clearing up dam area, where H12, H9, H8 and H7 is situated today.