This land is ancient. Sketches, paintings, engravings and tools of the stone age
Khoi San testify to early and long occupation. By the 18th century Nguni tribesmen
had given this area the name of "Honey Mountains,” for life was sweet.
A lofty world of vast panoramas, this area can claim many titles- "No Man's Land,”
“The Turbulent Frontier,” "Crossroads of South African History," “Land of the Covenant,"
"Land of Forts," "Land of Battles," Land of Missions."
Destiny marched with men along its winding roads and through its steep, narrow passes
where bloody battles were fought between Bantu, Boer and Brit. Bantu met Bantu in
the great Shakan age, Boer confronted Bantu in 1838 and broke Dingane's impis at
BloodRiver, Proud Imperial Britain bit the dust of Isandlwana on 22 January 1879.
That same day reputation was to be salvaged at Rorkes Drift.
The first of the Boer/Brit conflicts was brief, but never forgotten. "Remember Majuba"
was to be a rallying cry for the conflict 20 years later.
Copyright (C) 2009 Lance Siedle, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Boer challenged Brit in the most tragic of civil wars in 1899. Talana was the first
dramatic battle of that three year conflict.
Some of the most decisive battles of "Victoria’s little wars" were fought in this
region. Winston Churchill's historic reference of the town of Ladysmith, "famous
unto the uttermost ends of the earth," holds true for the area as a whole.
The highroads to adventure cut through this area and many are the ghosts of people
who passed this way. Brigands and bankrupts,officers and gentlemen, smugglers and
cattle rustlers, men of theCross and men of the Sword, all have lent romance to this
corner of South Africa.
Colour, culture, characters and the echoes of fierce, clashs - all his and much more
can be found in the tranquil hills of northern KwaZulu/Natal.
Mercifully, this area offered more than conflict. Its great natural beauty and its
small wonders enchanted early settlers and continue to enchant.
Pride in the environment and their heritage is a real force in these mountains, where
farmers have banded together in game conservancies to reintroduce game and protect
surviving species. Bird viewers are delighted with their sightings. Trails, with
evocative names, open these pleasures to ramblers.
The Battlefields Route starts at Estcourt in the south and winds north, through Colenso
and Ladysmith to Newcastle and Volksrust and eastwards to Utrecht, Glencoe, Dundee,
Nqutu, Paulpietersburg, Vryheid, Babanango, Ulundi and Eshowe.
The Battlefields Route is not a journey, it is a rich experience. These unspoilt
battlefields have a palpable atmosphere and the information centres or tourist guides
can evoke vivid pictures of the tough battles fought there.
Midway between Durban and Johannesburg, the Battlefields Route is an interesting
area and wherever you go, you can be assured of friendly hospitality.