Boer & Brit Self Catering

Guest House Accommodation,
Ladysmith, KZN

Homely Comfort in the Heart of the Battlefields

Call us on 036 631 0739 or 078 376 5179

Boer & Brit Self Catering Accommodation - Brief History & Attractions Info

On this page we offer you:

A brief History of Ladysmith and the Battlefields

and also

A short list of Places of Interest in and around Ladysmith


Boer & Brit Self-catering Guest House and Contractor Accommodation, Ladysmith

Information Brochure

Browse the Boer & Brit Info Pack, which contains all relevant info regarding House Rules,
DSTV Channels available,
Places to shop and eat,
History and Places of Interest. (1.9 MB)

Click on Image to the left to view or download Boer & Brit Self Catering Info Pack.


Short Summary
Ladysmith and surroundings is a historical paradise and people from all over the world view the many battle sights, museums and cemeteries dotted over this area of the 10 major battles fought here during the Second Anglo-Boer war from 1899 to 1902. The names of Spioenkop, Colenso, Platrand and Elandslaagte are well-known battle sites in the area. The first recorded use of trenches in war was that dug by the Boers at Colenso.

There are many minor skirmishes and notable places like: where Churchill was caught by the Boers near Colenso, Napoleon III's son died during a skirmish at Colenso and Gandhi was a stretcher bearer with Buller's relief forces.

Many memorials and cemeteries can be visited including the imposing Boer memorial on Platrand just outside Ladysmith.

Ladysmith's Siege Museum is a must for all historical buffs as well as anybody interested in the development and daily life during the siege of Ladysmith, the various camps of the combatants. Another significant first in warfare was the British use of concentration camps where nearly 50 000 women, children and men of all races died.

Two excellent smaller game reserves may be seen; the Spioenkop dam has a lovely selection of animals and birds including Rhinos. Weenen nature reserve is also worth a visit and a few game farms in our area offer game drives to day-visitors.

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History of LadysmithBoer & Brit Logo, Self-catering Guest House and Contractor Accommodation, Ladysmith

Information from: Wikipedia

How we got our Guest House Name
The Boer & Brit was established in 1998 with the centenary celebrations of the Siege of Ladysmith. Our logo depicts Genl. George White and Genl. Louis Botha, the leaders at the time of the British and the Boer forces respectively, in front of torn flags representing the two warring sides.

Ladysmith is a town in the Uthukela District of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It is 230 kilometres (140 mi) north-west of Durban and 365 kilometres (227 mi) south of Johannesburg. Important industries in the area include food processing, textiles, and tyre production. Tyres are produced by Sumitomo Rubber South Africa in the nearby town of Steadville.

Ladysmith is the seat for both the Alfred Duma Local Municipality and the Uthukela District Municipality. In 1900, the unincorporated town of Oyster Harbour (established c. 1898) on the east coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, was renamed Ladysmith by James Dunsmuir, in honour of the British lifting the siege of Ladysmith in South Africa (28 February 1900) during the Second Boer War.

In 1847 after buying land from the Zulu king Mpande, a number of Boers settled in the area and called it the Republic of Klip River with Andries Spies as their commandant. The republic was annexed by the British in the same year and on 20 June 1850 was proclaimed a township called Windsor. On 11 October 1850 the name was changed to Ladysmith after Juana María de los Dolores de León Smith also known as "Lady Smith," the Spanish wife of Sir Harry Smith, the Governor of the Cape Colony. Sir Harry Smith was the British general governor of Cape Colony and high commissioner in South Africa from 1847 to 1852.
A fort was built in 1860 to protect the villagers from the Zulu.

Battle of Ladysmith
During the Second Boer War British commander Lieutenant General Sir George White made Ladysmith his centre of operations for the protection of Natal against the Boer forces. Starting on 29 October 1899 a number of short lived battles were fought for control of the town, but after suffering heavy casualties the British forces retreated to Ladysmith and the Boer forces did not make use of the opportunity to follow up the attack and take control of the town.

Siege of Ladysmith
Following the Battle of Ladysmith, whilst British forces under Lieutenant General Sir George White regrouped in the town, Boer forces surrounded Ladysmith. The siege lasted 118 days, from 2 November 1899 to 28 February 1900, during the most crucial stage of the war. Approximately 3,000 British soldiers died during the siege.

Relief of Ladysmith
Three attempts by General Sir Redvers Buller to break the siege resulted in defeat for the British forces at the battles of Colenso, Spion Kop and Vaal Krantz. On 6 January 1900 the Boer forces of Commandant-General Piet Joubert attempted to end the siege by taking the town before the British could launch another attempt to break the siege. This led to the battle of Platrand (or Wagon Hill) south of the town.
Buller finally broke the siege on 28 February 1900 after defeating the Boers by using close cooperation between his infantry and artillery.

Sir Winston Churchill, then a young war correspondent for The Morning Post (London), was present at the Relief of Ladysmith after having been taken prisoner (between Ladysmith and Colenso) and escaping earlier during the war. Mohandas Gandhi and the stretcher-bearing corps that he established earlier during the war, was involved in a number of actions that took place in and around Ladysmith during the Relief.

Ladysmith is located on the banks of the Klip River ("stone river"), with the central business district and a large part of the residential areas located within the flood basin of the river. It is on the foothills of the Drakensberg mountains, about 26 km from the Van Reenen pass.

Since it was established the town has suffered severely from flooding of the Klip River. During the 110 years up to 1997 with the completion of the Qedusizi Dam, 29 serious floods have occurred. Minor flooding occurred almost every year.
The worst flooding in 30 years occurred in 1996 leading to R500 million in damages and the evacuation of 400 families.Efforts to control the flooding date back to the 1940s. In 1949 the Windsor Dam was completed, but this dam silted up very fast and was not an effective means of flood control.

Ladysmith has a subtropical highland climate (Cwb, according to the Köppen climate classification), with warm summers and cool, dry winters. It borders on a humid subtropical climate (Cwa). The average annual precipitation is 639 mm (25 in), with most rainfall occurring during summer.

The Soofi Mosque on the banks of the Klip River was originally built sometime between 1895 and 1910, but it was greatly extended in the 1960s. Other building of interest are the Siege Museum, originally built in 1884 as a marketplace and the Town Hall, damaged by Boer artillery during the Second Boer War.

Ask at reception for further information and brochures for places of interest and activities in the area.

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Check Availability & Book Online!
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You can now view availability of rooms and make secure booking online, directly from this website! We accept EFT, direct deposits and Credit card payments. (MASTER, VISA and MAESTRO)
Click on the image on the left to get started.

Book NOW at Boer en Brit self-catering guest house and contractor accommodation, Ladysmith, KZN


Places of Interest in and around Ladysmith

(Ask at reception or view direct links below for maps)

Tourist information
We have several brochures and maps of the area at reception, but you can also visit Ladysmith Tourist Information Office in Murchison street, or browse to:, where there is a good selection of maps and leaflets on the battlefields.

For more information and updated details of places to visit, please visit the Ladysmith page of the KZN Battlefields Route website at:

Sights in Ladysmith
Ladysmith's historical monuments are on the main square by the town hall on Murchison Street. The town hall, on the corner of Murchison and Queen streets, is a classic Victorian municipal building which was completed in 1893. During the siege, it was converted into a hospital until the clock tower was hit by a six-inch shell. The town hall was repaired in 1901. There is a small museum, with a gallery of photographs illustrating Ladysmith's history up to the present day.

The Siege Museum is next to the town hall. This is a fascinating museum, with one of the country's largest collections of South African military memorabilia, including reconstructions of scenes from the Siege of Ladysmith and the Boer War. There are displays of weapons, uniforms and household goods that were used during the siege, with explanations in English, Afrikaans and Zulu.

There are four field guns on Murchison Street just outside the museum: Castor and Pollux are the two guns sent from Cape Town at the outbreak of the Boer War for the defence of the town; Long Tom is a replica of the Creussot Fortress Guns, which were used by the Transvaal Republic to bombard Ladysmith from the surrounding hills. The Boers destroyed the original gun at Haenertsburg when Kitchener's Fighting Scouts threatened to capture it.
The last gun is a German Feldkanonne, which was captured in German Southwest Africa and sent back as a war trophy.

Walking south down Murchison Street will take you past two historical hotels which are still in use. The Royal Hotel was built before the siege during the gold and diamond rushes of the interior. During the siege it was used by the press corps as a base. The Crown Hotel is the site of Ladysmith's first hotel, built of wattle and daub. The earliest battlefield tours, on horse- back, could be booked here in 1904. Further down Murchison Street, on the corner with Princess Street, is the Old Toll House where wagon drivers paid a toll before entering town.

A refreshingly non-historical site is the Cultural Centre. There is a collection of cultural and natural history exhibits, a township shack and a tribute to the Drakensberg Boys' Choir. There is also a hall dedicated to Ladysmith Black Mambazo, the world- renowned group that became one of South Africa's most successful bands. The music-filled hall contains the footprints of the members of the band eternalised in concrete, and life-size cut outs of the band on a mock-up stage. The curio shops sells the band's CDs. Further along Murchison Street is the Central Mosque, which was completed in 1922, and has a beautiful fountain and courtyard surrounded by palm trees.

Spioenkop Game Reserve
Spioenkop (Spy hill) Mountain stands sentry over thorn savannah and water where visitors can see panoramas that stretch from hot valley bushveld across cool water to the Drakensberg Mountains often covered in snow in the winter. Steeped in Anglo Boer War history, the reserve boasts a rich selection of wildlife including white rhinoceros, giraffe and a variety of plains and bushveld antelope. The abundance and variety of species assures visitors a rewarding game experience.

Spioenkop Mountain is the site of the infamous Battle of Spioenkop which took place in 1900 where the British suffered one of their worst defeats of that period. The Battlefield is accessible by road and the 360 degree view from the summit can only be described as spectacular.

The dam offers opportunities for a variety of water-sports and there is a road network open to tourists. Busses are not permitted as the road system is unsuitable.
From the reserve there are views of the Drakensberg Mountains which extend from Giants Castle, to the Sentinel in Royal Natal National Park.

An easy excursion from Ladysmith, the town was named after John William Colenso, the Anglican Bishop of Natal from 1853 to 1883. The first advance by British troops trying to break the siege at Ladysmith was foiled here by General Louis Botha in a battle fought along the Tugela River. It was to be a further two months before Ladysmith was relieved. The small RE Stevenson Museum, concentrates on the Battle of Colenso, with exhibits of weapons, medals and photographs. There are also two vintage steam engines and a steam tractor. The building itself was erected in 1879 as a toll house.

Weenen Game Reserve
The 6500-ha reserve is the core area of the much larger Thukela Biosphere Reserve. The reserve has been hailed as a conservation success as it has succeeded in converting heavily eroded farmland into an area where the flora and fauna indigenous to the Natal Midlands have been re-established. The vegetation is mostly grassland, interspersed with acacia woodland. One of the great attractions are the black and white rhino.

More common species include giraffe, red hartebeest, eland, zebra, kudu, ostrich and common reedbuck. This is a good reserve for birdwatchers; more than 250 species have been recorded including korhaans, blue crane and the scimitarbilled woodhoopoe. Thukela has short walking trails, picnic sites, a 47km network of game viewing dirt roads, 4WD trails and the Isipho Hide, which can be rented at night for game viewing.

Ask at reception for further information and brochures for places of interest and activities in the area.

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