Laing's Nek Pass

Mountain Passes in or near Newcastle, Battlefields in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.

KwaZulu Natal Tourist AttractionsLaing's Nek Pass

Where? Laingsnek Pass is located on the N11 route between Newcastle and Volksrust.

Overnight? Stay in Newcastle, in KwaZulu Natal

On the journey between Newcastle, the third largest city in KwaZulu-Natal, and Volksrust, a town in Mpumalanga, one travels through the Drakensberg range of mountains along a pass known as Laing's Nek Pass.

The pass follows the easiest route through this 'barrier of spears', cutting through the mountains at the lowest dip in the ridge. The pass slopes from mount Majuba (Amajuba) down to the Buffalo River.

Laing's Nek used to be the main connection between Durban and Pretoria before a railway was built in 1891. It was also to play an enormous role in the battles fought between Boer and British in this area. As such the pass forms part of the KZN Battlefields Route.

On the top of Majuba Mountain is more than one memorial to commemorate soldiers who fell on this summit – both Boer and British soldiers lie here, evidence of the pointlessness of war.

The Battle of Lang's (Laing's) Nek took place on the 28 January 1881 when British forces attempted to break through the Boer's defense to relieve the British besieged in the then Transvaal. The 58th Regiment came up Majuba Mountain to cross the road at Laing's Nek, intent on getting over the other side, but suffered heavy losses. A 20 minute walk off the N11 brings you to the monument to the 58th Regiment.

If you are interested in the history, visit Amajuba Commemorative Farm where there is also a small museum and a walk up Majuba Mountain to the Battlefield site.

The pass is named after Henry Laing, a farmer in the area, after whom Laingsburg, in the Western Cape, is also named.

Volksrust is linked to KwaZulu-Natal by what remains of a bridge on which the third Swaziland Convention of 1894 was signed, a short-lived agreement between President Paul Kruger and Sir Henry Loch the British high commissioner that brought Swaziland under Transvaal's administration.

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