Ladysmith Tourist Attractions
Ladysmith is a lively town on the main road between Durban and the Transvaal, situated in a thriving agricultural area (maize, soya, barley, fruit and vegetables; stock-farming).The first European settlers in the area founded the town in 1847, declaring it capital of the Klip River Republic. The ''republic'', however, lasted only a few months before the area was brought under British control. The town was then named after the wife of Sir Harry Smith, Governor of the Cape.During the Boer War (1899-1902) Ladysmith was under siege by the Boers for 120 days before being relieved by General Sir Redvers Buller. A number of important battles were fought round the town (at Wagon Hill, Caesar's Camp, Lombard's Cop and Umblawana Hill).
Spioenkop Nature Reserve
35km/22mi west of Ladysmith is the Spioenkop Nature Reserve (area 5979ha/14,768ac), in an attractive region of hills and valleys round the Tugela River, which is dammed at this point. This was the scene of a bloody battle during the Boer War (known in English history books as the battle of Spion Kop). A Historic Trail leads to the battlefield.Within the nature reserve is a 400 hectare/1,000 acre game park containing blue wildebeests, zebras, reedbucks, impalas, red hartebeests, blesboks, rhinos and giraffes. Visitors can explore the reserve on foot accompanied by a park ranger. The Spioenkop Discovery Trail (a 2-4 hour walk) introduces visitors to the ecology of the region.There is accommodation for visitors in the form of attractive chalets, country cottages and a camping site. There are also picnic areas and children's playgrounds, and facilities for water sports on the Spioenkop Dam.
Colenso, South Africa
25km/15mi south of Ladysmith is Colenso, in an area which was also the scene of fighting during the Boer War - commemorated by a number of monuments and the Robert Stevenson Museum. From Tugela Drift Nature Reserve (area 98ha/242ac) there is a view of the battlefield of Colenso.
The Bloukrans Monument, 18km/11mi south of Colenso on R 74, commemorates a bloody battle between Zulus and Boers in 1838.
The Siege Museum, adjoining the Town Hall, displays mementos and documents on life in Ladysmith during the Boer War.
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