Battlefields & Glory

Battlefields & Glory

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Our young country has a rich heritage shaped in many cases by the numerous battles that raged across the veld.Many of the battlefield sites are easily accessible from Johannesburg and are well worth a visit.

In fact I have one two occasions made day excursions to KZN to view and photograph the site returning to Jhb. around 20h00 each time. The Ncome-Blood River site is about 45 minutes drive from Vryheid en route you will pass Majuba and o Neill’s Cottage where the treaty was signed ( Anglo Boer war) but if you stop you will end up spending a good few hours as the climb to the top of Majuba takes time.

Blood River was witness to a major battle between Voortrekkers and the Zulu Nation and has the Voortrekker Memorial of Bronze wagons and a museum and across the river is the Zulu Ncome museum, on the day we visited we were treated to a guided tour of the museum by the curator. Then it was off to Dundee and the Talana museums and battle site, its an interesting visit as the complex houses numerous museums, a coffee shop cemetries and some original fortifications. Our trip up the mountain to the fort was cut short by rain.

From Dundee one could travel south to Isandlwana and Rorkes Drift however we opted to travel towards Bergville to visit the Spioenkop Battlefield. This was one of the bloodiest and most futile battles of the Boer War with numerous tactical errors having taken place on both sides, a unique fact about this battle was the presence of Louis Botha, Winston Churchill and Mahatma Ghandi who was a stretcher bearer.

The second time we visited Spionkop we opted to start at Colenso and visited the site of the British Cannon, The Thukela loop, the Ambleside Memorial  and the Chievely and Clouston Cemeteries as well as the site of the armoured train ambush which led to the capture of Winston Churchill. Restaurants are not abundant so we took our own food and water stopping at Montrose for Diesel and a caffeine refill. If you go in summer sunscreen and a broad brimmed hat are necessary, wear light clothing as the area is very humid, also take a light rain jacket as it often showers in the latter part of the afternoon. Other than fuel and tolls you will pay an entrance fee at Blood River and Spionkop. All the other sites are open to the public other than a nominal fee at the main Talana Museum.

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