LISTEN | Tour guide's chilling tales of the historic Battle of Spioenkop

05 November 2017 - 00:00
Graves mark the site where the Battle of Spioenkop took place.
Graves mark the site where the Battle of Spioenkop took place.
Image: Supplied

The Battle of Spioenkop was one of the bloodiest of the Anglo-Boer War. Equal amounts of great courage and vast stupidity marked the two-day battle for this lonely hill on KwaZulu-Natal's Tugela River.

Raymond Herron - hotelier, historian and storyteller - gives one of the most moving accounts of the battle you are ever likely to hear:

Beyond hearing chilling stories like these, here are four reasons to take a break from your road trip and visit this historic site:

1. It is one of the most evocative battlefields in the country

Isandlwana may have the brooding mountain and Rorke's Drift may have the quaint mission station, but Spioenkop has the wind sighing in the grass, jackals calling in the dusk and sweeping view across the Tugela to the distant Drakensberg. There could be worse places to spend eternity.

2. It is one of the easiest of our battlefields to visit

It's just minutes off the N3 yet, apart from the graves and the scattered memorials to this who fell, it is exactly as it was 117 years ago. Close your eyes a little and listen and you will feel the years peel away.

3. It is the site of one of history's great coincidences

Three men who were on the hill that day - Mohandas K Gandhi, Winston Churchill and Louis Botha - would become world-famous leaders. If any of them had died on those bloody slopes, the world we live in could have been a very different place.

4. The battlefield borders the Spioenkop Nature Reserve

The roaming eland and kudu are a reminder that even amid war and bloodshed, there is still much beauty in the world.


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