The Anglo-Boer War broke out on 11 October 1899 between the two former republics (Free State and Transvaal) and Britain. As the war escalated Britain brought reinforcements from Australia, New Zealand and Canada as well as some volunteers from other British colonies. The war lasted three years with a very high casualty rate on both sides.
Since the governments of the Free State and Transvaal were both elected by the white population, historians in the past generalised it by calling it a White Man's War. Apart from the fact that a war cannot be waged in a country without affecting all that lives within the borders, recent archival research has proved that the Black inhabitants of the two republics were affected more than was generally accepted. Both sides used these people as scouts, labourers and even, at times armed them and thus using them in a fighting capacity,
The scope of the war was the biggest thus far on South African territory and one of the greatest thus far waged by Britain in Southern Africa. The Boer forces had a potential of 54 000 men but never more than 40 000 were employed at once, whilst the British forces grew to 450 000 at the height of hostilities.
Casualties were as follows:
British soldiers: 7 792 (killed) 13 250 (deaths from disease)
Boers: 6 000 Women and children in Concentration Camps: 26 370 Blacks in Concentration Camps: 20 000+
H1 - Pretoria, Citadel of Fortifications Tour (1 Day)Visit the South African Air Force Museum, the Voortrekker Monument and Museum, Melrose House, Sammy Marks House, the forts of Klapperkop, Schanskop, Wonderboom, and Daspoortrand, and the Diamond Hill (Donkerhoek) Battlefield and the Rooihuiskraal Battlefield Site. Lunch included.
H2 - Siege and Relief of Ladysmith Tour (2 Days)
The tour includes visits to selected sites in the Estcourt and Ladysmith area, providing the interested visitor with the background and atmosphere of the battlefields and places of military interest in the area. Total distance covered: approximately 800 km
Day 1: Depart after an early breakfast via Germiston and Heidelberg, past Villiers and Warden to Harrismith and Ladysmith until we arrive at Estcourt. Visit Fort Durnford, the Churchill Memorial where Winston Churchill, then a military correspondent of the "Morning Post", was captured, Blauwkrantz Memorial where a vanguard of Dingane's warriors killed 41 men, 56 women, 185 children and 200 servants, also known as the "Great Murder". Then visit Chievely Hospital immortalised in Treves book "The Tale of a Field Hospital", Gen. Buller's Headquarters, and the Battle of Colenso, possibly one of the most famous battles of the Anglo Boer War, also renowned for the gallant efforts of the British soldiers and officers and no less than seven Victoria Crosses were awarded. Continue to visit Ambleside, the Battle of Tugela Heights that was Sir Redvers Buller's last attempt to relieve Ladysmith. Overnight in Ladysmith.
Day 2: After a hearty breakfast, visit the Ladysmith Siege Museum, which tells the story of the 118-day siege of Ladysmith and numerous photographs and diagrams about the siege are exhibited. An illuminated diorama describes the battles in detail, the Town Hall, the Royal Hotel and the All Saints Church, the Toll House and Klip River. Continue to Caesar's Camp (Platrand) where one finds an impressive monument to the Boer soldiers who lost their lives during the Natal campaign, Manchester's Fort, and Wagon Hill where the Duke of Ava died in the battle. End the tour with a visit to the Battle of Spioenkop, which was Sir Redvers Buller's second attempt to relieve the siege at Ladysmith. Return to Johannesburg/Pretoria. This tour can be combined with the Drakensberg Tour.