HOME





OFFERS
TRAVEL BLOG
ABOUT US
ENQUIRE
BROCHURE
CONTACT US
PRIVACY & COOKIES
KwaZulu Natal Holidays Tours South Africa Battlefields Durban Safari

South African War: Boer War Battlefields Tours


SPY10K
10 NIGHTS
FROM £2,996
Per person sharing
International flights quoted separately
Our privately guided Anglo Boer War battlefield tours focus on key battlefield sites in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. Starting in Newcastle, we visit Laings Nek & Majuba, as well as Blood River, before continuing to Ladysmith. Visit the Siege Museum and key battlefield sites around Dundee, Frere & Colenso, including Spion Kop. End with a luxury Big Five safari. English speaking battlefields guide & all transfers included.
Boer War Battlefields Tours Majuba Ladysmith Colenso Spion Kop Blood
• 
Boer War Battlefields Tours
• 
Laings Nek
• 
Majuba Hill
• 
Blood River
• 
Dundee + Talana Hill
• 
Ladysmith Siege Museum
• 
Frere + Willow Grange
• 
Colenso + Wagon Hill
• 
Spion Kop
• 
Nambiti Big Five Safari
• 
Boer War Battlefields Tours
• 
Laings Nek
• 
Majuba Hill
• 
Blood River
• 
Dundee + Talana Hill
• 
Ladysmith Siege Museum
• 
Frere + Willow Grange
• 
Colenso + Wagon Hill
• 
Spion Kop
• 
Nambiti Big Five Safari
Day 1
You will be met at Johannesburg Airport by your driver/guide and transferred 3.5-hours through the farmlands of the old Transvaal and Free State to the mining town of Newcastle in northern KwaZulu Natal.
 
Check into your hotel and relax under warm blue skies.
Day 2
Today we drive to Laings Nek Pass and Majuba Hill, situated between Volksrust and Newcastle, where we visit two significant sites related to the First Anglo Boer War (or Transvaal War of Independence).
 
Here the Boers won decisive victories over the British forces, which had gathered in northern KwaZulu Natal and were attempting to invade the Transvaal Republic, following the Boers' declaration of independence in 1880.
 
Following an embarrasing ambush at Bronkhorstspruit of a British column that was advancing on Pretoria, the British High Commissioner, Major General Sir George Pomeroy Colley assembled troops at Newcastle and rushed forward, claiming to be relieving the British garrisons in the Transvaal. On 28 January 1881, Colley unsuccessfully tried to force a way through Laing Nek Pass, with the Boers under the command of General Joubert winning a decisive victory against the British, who were wearing brightly coloured red tunics that made them easy targets.
 
One month later, on the night of 26 February, Colley occupied Majuba Hill with some 400 men. In the early hours of the next morning, when the Boers realised the British had occupied the mountain which dominated their position and blocked Laing’s Nek Pass and the road into the Transvaal, they advanced on the British position. They stormed the top of the mountain and forced the British off, in what was one of the most humiliating defeats in the history of the British army. The British suffered some 256 killed, (including Colley himself), wounded and captured while the Boers lost only 2 men. This was the last time the colours were carried into battle by any British regiment.
 
This battle brought an end to the Transvaal War of Independence, which gave the two Boer Republics 19 more years of freedom from British rule - until the outbreak of the Second Anglo Boer War in 1899.  
 
Please note today involves a very steep climb up Majuba Hill.
 
Recommended Reading:
The Transvaal Rebellion: The First Boer War – John Laband
Day 3
Today we drive 1.5-hours from Newcastle to the town of Ladysmith, that was besieged by the Boers.
 
Our first stop is at the battlefield at Blood River, where the early Boer Voortrekkers won a defining battle against the Zulus as they fought for the right to establish a homeland south of the Thukela River. The loss of life here was so great that the river ran red with blood. This day is still celebrated as a national holiday - but is now called the Day of Reconciliation.
 
Following the Boer line of advance, we continue to Dundee. We stop at Talana Hill battlefield and museum, where the first major clash of the second Anglo Boer War (or South African War as it is now known) of 1899 took place and where khaki was worn for the first time. This war was started shortly after the conquest of Zululand, as the British Empire turned its attentions to the lucrative Transvaal goldfields.
 
We also visit the battlefield at Elandslaagte, where the British won a clear tactical victory but threw it away by retreating, before continuing to the small town of Ladysmith.
Day 4
Today we call at Frere, site of the British camp and the Churchill capture site.
 
We continue to follow the fortunes of the Boer raiding party as far as Willow Grange, where the final offensive battle of the war (from the Boers’ perspective) was fought.
 
In the afternoon we visit Fort Durnford, before returning to Ladysmith.
Day 5
This morning we visit Colenso, where the third and final battle was fought during the 'Black Week' of December 1899. Inadequate preparation and reconnaissance, and uninspired leadership, led to a heavy and humiliating British defeat. Here we visit the site of the 'Saving of the Guns'.
 
After returning to Ladysmith, we visit the war cemetery at Caesar's Camp. We also visit the battlefield at Wagon Hill (or Platrand), the only serious attack launched by the Boers on the British lines during the siege of Ladysmith.
Day 6
Today we drive to the battlefield at Spion Kop, where one of the bloodiest battles took place in efforts to relieve Ladysmith, which was besieged for 118 days. Visit the mass graves atop Spion Kop hill and see for yourself how poor military decisions affected the outcome of this battle.
 
Incredibly three future world leaders were in the area at the time this battle took place - Winston Churchill as a young newspaper correspondent, the future Mahatma Gandhi as a stretcher bearer, and Louis Botha as the Boer general who would go on to become the first Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa.
 
Recommended Reading:
Boer War – Thomas Pakenham
Day 7
We spend today exploring significant Boer War sites around Ladysmith, where the Boers surrounded the town and cut off the important rail link to Durban.
 
We start with the battle of Tugela Heights - a series of military actions that lasted from 14 to 27 February 1900 and resulted in General Sir Redvers Buller's British army relieving the siege of Ladysmith that had been enforced by the Boer general, Louis Botha.
 
We visit the small Siege Museum (open on weekdays & Saturday am). On Christmas Day 1899, the Boers fired into the town a carrier shell without a fuse containing a Christmas pudding, two Union Flags and the message "Compliments of the Season". This shell is still kept in the museum. Time permitting, we can also visit the small All Saints garrison church.
Day 8
Today transfer 1-hour from Ladysmith to the malaria-free Nambiti Game Reserve.
 
Your guide will drop you off at your Big Five safari lodge, where you can enjoy a thrilling afternoon open-top game drive with a lodge ranger.
Days 9 To 10
Rise early when game viewing conditions are at their best, for an open-top game drive with a lodge ranger in Nambiti Game Reserve.
 
With a mixed vegetation of savanna grasslands, indigenous trees and bushveld, this wildlife conservation area is home to all the Big Five, as well as offering an ideal habitat for a large variety of plains game and abundant bird life. Although leopard are rarely seen, this reserve offers excellent opportunities to spot the endangered cheetah. Return to the lodge for lunch and some relaxation, before returning to the bushveld in the late afternoon for another exciting game drive.
 
Note: Children < 2 years are not allowed on open top game drives, with higher age limits applicable at certain lodges.
Day 11
Transfer 4-hours to Johannesburg Airport for your flight home.
Contact us
Order a brochure
Feedback