• sign in
  • |
  • sign up
  • |
  • my miniguide
  • |
  • write a review
KwaZulu Natal Battlefields, South Africa
Fast Facts
Historic Interest
Places to Visit




Points of Interest Nearby

Bloedrivier Poort Battlefield


Photo by Battlefields Region Guides

The rolling grasslands and rocky outcrops of northwest KwaZulu Natal bore witness to more than 60 years of bloody conflict. From 1838 to 1902 three imperious, yet vastly disparate nations - Zulu, British, and Boers - engaged in bitter and merciless conflicts that shaped the future of South Africa and nature of warfare. The Voortrekker victory against the Zulu in 1838 paved the way for the establishment of the Republic of Natalia. In 1879 the British battled the Zulu in the Anglo-Zulu War, which ended Zulu independence. Twenty years later, the British fought a brutal three year war with the stock farming Boers of the Transvaal (South African) and Orange Free State republics known as the Anglo-Boer or Great South African War. Not only did this war bring the two independent Boer republics under British control it introduced a new style of warfare, including the khaki uniform, guerilla warfare and the concentration camp.
Getting There
Most of the KwaZulu Natal Battlefields are situated in the northwest corner of the province and are found within the triangle formed by the towns of Ladysmith, Dundee and Vryheid. The nearest airports are located in Johannesburg and Durban, a 3.5 and 3-hour drive respectively.
Getting Around
Dundee is the departure point for most visitors to the KwaZulu Natal Battlefields and is a great base for family travelers intent on touring attractions throughout the region. Ladysmith is the most central location for exploring Anglo-Boer War battlefields, monuments and museums. Newcastle, in the far northwest corner of the province, is the best place to overnight when visiting Majuba and the battlefields of the Transvaal War of Independence 1881 (First Boer War). A car is required to reach most area attractions.
When to Travel
The climate in northwest KwaZulu Natal is characterized by two well-defined seasons; cool, sunny winters and hot, wet summers. The average daytime high is 28°C (82°F) from December through February and 19°C (66°F) in June and July. The nighttime lows are significantly cooler than the daytime high throughout the year. The area receives roughly 680mm of rainfall each year, most of which falls between November and March.
Health & Safety
The Battlefields region is malaria-free. Visiting in summer? Be aware of the heat and sun. Wear sunglasses and a hat with a brim. Apply high factor sunscreen to all exposed areas. Carry plenty of water and drink regularly. Traveling in winter? Cold winds and frosty mornings are the norm. Pack warm clothing and wind breakers. Plan to dress in layers.
Things to Keep in Mind
Each battlefield, monument and museum offers a slightly different experience. Sites on the Battlefields Route can be visited as a side trip from a game reserve.
Travel Trivia
Which of the following is the capital of France:
Free Travel Journal
Get a free kids travel journal to document your family vacation.
Download PDF