R600 – Winterton/Ladysmith, Bergville/Drakensberg and Battlefields Regions, KwaZulu-Natal.

Relive the memories and walk in the footsteps of three great leaders, Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi and Gen. Louis Botha. Discover a fascinating story in history on which the sun never sets.

The meeting point of the tour is at Spion Kop Lodge, former Headquarters of General Sir Redvers Buller, Commander-in-chief of the British forces. Today it is a working farm and 703-hectare eco-reserve, with some 285 bird species, abundant antelope and indigenous bush. In June and July, the reserve boasts a breathtaking mass of flowering Aloes.

The South African Boer War, which took place between 1899 and 1902 was called ‘The Last of the Gentleman’s Wars’, but in fact, it was far from gentlemanly.

Britain and her empire fought the Anglo Boer against the Boers. The Boers were comprised of the combined forces of the South African Republic and the Republic of the Orange Free State. On 11th October 1899, the Boer Republics declared war and the conflict ended on 31st May 1902, a bitter battle lasting two years and eight months.

At least 25,000 Afrikaners died in the war, most of them in concentration camps. The war also claimed 22,000 British and 12,000 African lives.

Chronology:

October 1899:
9 October: Ultimatum from ZAR to British
11 October: Britain declares war
9th October: General attack on Ladysmith repulsed
15 October: Armoured train wrecked near Chievely and – Buller’s force repulsed at Colenso.
18 October – Lord Roberts appointed Commander-in-Chief in South Africa.

January and February 1900:
6 January: -Attack on Ladysmith repulsed.
10 January: Movement for relief of Ladysmith resumed.
11 January: Dundonald seizes the pont at Potgieter’s Drift.
18 January: Buller makes second attempt to relieve Ladysmith.
23 to 24 Spion Kop captured on 24th, but evacuated during night and Gen. Woodgate fatally wounded.
5 February– Buller commences third attempt to relieve Ladysmith Lyttlelton crosses the Tugela River and captures Vaal Krantz.
9 February: Lord Roberts arrives at Modder River.
17 February: Fourth attempt to relieve Ladysmith. Buller advances on Monte Cristo Hill.
19 February: Buller takes Hlangwane Hill.
21 February: Fifth Division crosses Tugela River.
23 February: Buller unsuccessfully attacks Railway Hill.
26 February: Buller makes fresh passage across the Tugela.
27 February: Pieter’s Hill carried by Hildyard.
28 February: Relief of Ladysmith.

Spion Kop was the site of the most futile and probably the bloodiest battle of the Anglo-Boer War, fought on 24 January 1900. Anglo-Boer raconteur Raymond Heron and Alastair Heron will accompany you on your tour as they paint a vivid picture of the personal trauma and military mindset that resulted in the slaughter of so many British and Boer soldiers.

R600 – Winterton/Ladysmith, Bergville/Drakensberg and Battlefields Regions, KwaZulu-Natal.

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