Ancestral voices

There’s more to the Battlefields Route than you ever imagined

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Stand in the sun, on any battlefield in northern Kwa-Zulu Natal and let your imagination soar as you listen to your tour guide bringing the past alive. This land, once the focal point of so many military clashes, is alive with a legacy that we, many years later, find fascinating, inspiring – and humbling.

Come and join us as we remember and respect our past, and the men and women who made it. Cemeteries, graves, memorials and monuments are stark reminders of those men and women who gave their lives in the struggle and of the futility of war. Kings, statesmen, warriors and leaders, their names reverberate through history: Shaka, Dingane and Ceteswayo, Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi, Prince Louis Napoleon, Louis Botha and Jan Smuts are frequently mentioned along the Battlefields Route.

Blood River, Isandlwana, Rorkes Drift, Ulundi, Majuba, Talana, Ladysmith, Colenso are the names that thread through history and constantly pull visitors into the area to re-live events that have shaped our country.

At the centre of the route, midway between Durban and Johannesburg, lies Dundee with the impressive Talana Museum on the outskirts of the town: a good starting point for your journey into this area.

While this area is rich in sites of conflict, it also has a great natural beauty with a wide variety of cultural experiences and activities: birding, scenic hikes, mountain, bush and forest walks, fishing, farm experiences and wild life resorts. You may also like to plan your trip to coincide with some of the many annual events held through the Route.

As you travel around with us, you will discover interesting cameos of a land rich in history, traditional culture and a quality of friendship that you never expected.

The incredibly rich Zulu culture and the fascinating and hardy German and Afrikaner culture are waiting for you to explore, with cultural aspects that haven’t changed much over the past century.

You can be assured of friendly hospitality. Accommodation includes traditional Zulu villages, country and farm guesthouses, self catering cottages, hospitable bed and breakfast establishments, game lodges and caravan parks.


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Base camp

Situated in the centre of northern KwaZulu-Natal, Dundee has long connections with coal mining, military conflict and a rich and varied history.

Although coal mining is no longer as prominent as it once was, the history and scenery of the area provide a wealth of interesting activities for visitors.

The town is characterised by numerous historical buildings and churches that date back over 100 years. Named by Peter Smith in memory of his links with Scotland, the town and area still echo a number of those links, borne out in the names of farms, villages and mountains. The area is also noted for its agricultural industry, particularly dairy, beef and game ranching.

Tours specializing in military history, Zulu culture, game viewing, hunting, birding and fishing, hiking and horse trails, are all on offer.

This is where the Anglo Boer War of 1899-1902 began, and the Talana Museum, Heritage Park and Battlefield, boasts superb exhibits of the battles of the area. It is also the home to the coal mine museums of South Africa, an exquisite glass collection, Peter Smith’s home and farm steading and much more.

Dundee is an excellent central base for visits to Rorkes Drift, Isandlwana, Fugitives Drift, Blood River/Ncome, Maria Ratschitz and a host of other interesting sites.

The range of accommodation from backpackers to exclusive lodges caters for all.

Spend a couple of days in the area absorbing the atmosphere, rich traditions, culture and history that comes alive with tales by local tour guides. Visit game lodges, stay on a game farm, enjoy superb meals and make new and long lasting friends.

Annual events not to be missed

Battlefields Fly In – May
Dundee July – Horseracing event
Gandhi Walk – first Saturday in August
Mine Walkers Walk – beginning October. In memory of the 7000 African mine workers who were led by John Marwick (“Muhle”) from Johannesburg back to Natal on 6-15 October 1899.
Ghost walk on 20 October – Anniversary battle of Talana
Talana Live Heritage Weekend with Battle of Talana and re-enactments – nearest weekend to 20 October

A host of other events can be found on as well as information, on tours of the town and area.

Contact Dundee Tourism for accommodation, annual events and regular battlefield tours info.

Tel 034 – 2122121 ext 2262 Fax 034-2182837 e-mail:

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