Vryheid, Battlefields

Fundamentally a coal mining and beef farming town, Vryheid - from the Afrikaans word for ‘freedom’ - lies roughly 70 kilometres north east of Dundee in Zululand.

Vryheid also lies close to the site of one of the more infamous battles of the Battlefields Route, the battle of Blood River, fought on the river of the same name in 1838 when the Boers confronted the Zulus under Dingaan. The town of Vryheid was moreover intrinsically involved in the subsequent Anglo-Boer War of 1899, making it one of the more interesting towns on the Battlefields route - a route that traces the myriad battlefield sites and memorials dotted across the surrounding countryside.

Whilst Vryheid’s surrounds are largely dominated by timber farming - hence the extensive wattle and timber plantations - crops such as groundnuts and maize, and mining, the town also lies near the sources of four major rivers, the White and Black Umfolozi, Mkhuze and Pongolo. Access to wetlands in the area is thus good, and some of them are of regional importance, which is of added benefit to bird watchers and provides a diversity of scenery for hikers to the area, coupled with the added value of several nature reserves.

There are several notable buildings in the town of Vryheid worth seeing, such as the Old Raadsaal (old council chambers), the Lucas Meyer House (he was president of the rather brief Nieuwe Republiek), and the Dutch Reformed Church.

The Vryheid Nature Reserve, just outside town that includes both one day and two day hikes, some small game and a bounteous bird life, and the Klipfontein Bird Sanctuary, two kilometres south west of the town and part of one of the aforementioned wetlands, are also worth a visit.

Travellers' Reviews

1 Review from SA-Venues.com travellers. All reviews are verified.

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We did the Battlefields Route last year and visited Vryheid as a result. Apart from the history, there's not much to this little town, but it does benefit from the KZN beauty. We had an interesting time overall.

September 2012

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