Battlefields, KwaZulu Natal
Once you've booked your hotel or Battlefields accommodation explore our destination pages below for info on attractions and what to do in Battlefields Region.
Not only the place of some of the most picturesque landscapes in the country, the sweeping hills and knotty rock formations that pepper the rolling plains and valleys of northern and central KwaZulu Natal are also the site of a concentration of historical battles that took place over numerous years and shaped the history of both South African and British history.
Today what appears to be little more than wind-swept plains littered with the remains of stone forts, graveyards and little else to indicate strife, bore witness to innumerable fierce battles. First between the Voortrekkers on their way to the hinterland in a bid to escape the British rule of the Cape Colony, and the fierce Zulu kings, who believed that this beautiful land that lay between the Drakensberg Mountains and the Indian Ocean was their own ‘heaven on earth’.
Today this beautiful and somewhat fragile region forms the heart of a Battlefields Route that one can do as part of a tour or as a self-drive experience - maps and brochures in tow to trace the battles that involved Mahatma Gandhi, Churchill, Shaka and General Louis Botha - all of whom played strategic roles in these intense clashes that have left the landscape imbued with the echoes of battle. (See Battlefields Map).
Destinations / Towns & Suburbs of Battlefields
Where to Stay: Battlefields Accommodation
Elandslaagte might be a place on the map, but it's virtually a nothing doing village in the midst of some of the most beautiful countryside in KwaZulu Natal. Drive along the R602 between Pyne's Farm and the N11, and Elandslaagte ... Elandslaagte information
Where to Stay: Battlefields Accommodation
Paulpietersburg is a small, pretty town nestling in the foothills of the Dumbe Mountain - a big, flat-topped, triangular mountain in the middle of flatlands territory, popular with paragliders and hikers and named after ... Paulpietersburg information
Where to Stay: Accommodation in Rorkes Drift
Rorke’s Drift, 46 kilometres southeast of Dundee, describes a natural crossing presented by a rocky outcrop that allows one to cross the Buffalo River on foot. To give one an idea of its significance, just 4 kilometres ... Rorkes Drift information
Where to Stay: Accommodation in Spioenkop
Spioenkop Dam lies within the Spioenkop Dam nature reserve, its waters sourced by enclosing the great Tugela River, which has its source higher up in the Drakensberg Mountains. Both the dam and the reserve lie at the foot of... Spioenkop information
Featured and "Must See" Attractions in Battlefields
The source of the uMngeni River lies in the uMngeni Vlei area, an ancient wetland bounded by hills. From here it meanders eastward through undulating pastoral countryside until just before Midmar Dam, where it is joined by the Lions River. Below Midmar Dam the river plunges some 111 metres down ... more information
The KwaZulu Natal hinterland has witnessed some of the most brutal and significant battles to be fought in South Africa. These historical sites form part of the Battlefields Route, a trip through 14 historical towns whose surrounding areas boast the largest concentration of battlefields in South Africa ... more information
The Bloukrans Monument marks the communal grave of those Voortrekkers - men, women and children, along with their servants - killed on the banks of the Bloukrans River in what went down in history as nothing short of a massacre by the Zulus, in the year 1837. The monument today ... more information
The Chelmsford Nature Reserve, situated on the Ngagane River, lies just 70 kilometres from Ladysmith and is the site of the third largest dam in KwaZulu Natal, a wonderful venue for swimming, soaking up the sun and enjoying various water sports. The dam, which takes three hours to circumnavigate ... more information
Found just outside the little town of Eshowe, the Dlinza Forest is one of two indigenous forests that lie close to one another in this southern part of Zululand; the other is Entumeni. Dlinza, 250-hectares of incredibly beautiful forest bisected by numerous walking trails and a 10-metre high aerial boardwalk, is ... more information
The Eshowe Country Club is situated on the Eshowe Hills Eco Estate in Eshowe and as such meanders through the famous Dhlinza Forest and grasslands which are rich in indigenous fauna and flora. Strict environmental controls have ensured that the local birdlife and animals have been well catered for - the Dhlinza ... more information
Fort Durnford was built out of local sandstone in a strong rectangular shape with thick, high walls and a couple of prominant towers. It was built to serve as a stronghold on a rise overlooking the old military post at Bushman's River drift. It is said to rest where the Voortrekker ... more information
This magnificent Ithala Game reserve, tumbling from the heights of the Ngotshe Mountains a thousand meters down into a deep valley, carved over the aeons by the Phongolo River revealing the world's oldest rock formations, is a game viewers paradise. Situated in the rugged, mountainous thornveld of northern ... more information
Ladysmith, the little country town, might lie on the south-western perimeter of the Battlefields Route, but it also played a rather prominent role in the 118-day siege of the Anglo-Boer War. Like other old towns in South Africa, it has a rather imposing town hall built in 1893 in the ... more information
Nambiti's chief appeal is its exclusivity as the only reserve in Kwazulu-Natal with big 5 viewing. Lion, elephant, leopard, buffalo and rhino are included in the 30 species of game the malaria-free 22 000 acre reserve offers in Ladysmith close to the southern Drakensberg, just three hours from ... more information
56 kilometres north-west of the town of Eshowe, once the capital of Zululand, is a beautiful forest; one of the most magnificently beautiful in the province. Nkandla Forest is a rare type of high wet rain forest of which there are few examples left. Nkandla covers the ridge ... more information
South Africa's smallest and arguably most beautiful wilderness area is Ntendeka, consisting of 5 250 ha of undulating grasslands, verdant forests and dramatic cliffs with breathtaking waterfalls. Rivers and streams have formed deep valleys and the varied topography has resulted in great ... more information
Lying virtually at the foot of the rugged Spioenkop Mountain, the dam was the site of one of the most bloody battles to ensue during the Anglo-Boer War in an attempt to lift the Siege of Ladysmith, Spioenkop Dam Nature Reserve is 4 400 hectares of thorn savannah that contrast magnificently with the ... more information
Set in a 20 acre heritage park that forms a portion of the Talana battlefield - the first battle of the Anglo-Boer war - is a museum that is dedicated to memorabilia and the growth of the Dundee area, and is home to displays as diverse as war and agriculture, mining, industry and domestic life ... more information
Vryheid, which lies in northern KwaZulu Natal, is the largest town in the area and is situated on a transitional belt between grasslands and low-lying bushveld. Pretty mountains, hills and an abundance of wetlands and patches of forest further imbue this landscape with a high number of bird species - 340 species have ... more information
Situated on the other side of the N3 from Estcourt, Wagendrift Nature Reserve surrounds the dam of the same name. With a resident yacht club, and popular for boating and fishing, the pretty reserve is 980 hectares of beautiful scenery, quiet, time out and a three kilometre self-guided trail along the Bushman's ... more information
Weenen Game Reserve covers an area of typical inland KwaZulu Natal acacia grassland with occasional thickets. There are extensive game viewing facilities, guided walks and environmental education in the Weenen Game Reserve. More than 230 species of birds have been recorded (there are two hides ... more information
Featured Things To Do in Battlefields