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Established as Bergville Mountain Village in 1897, Bergville is a small town in the foothills of the Drakensberg mountain range in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Known as the gateway to the Northern Drakensberg, Bergville now operates as the commercial centre for a 2500 square kilometer dairy and cattle ranching area. Although a small and quaint town today, the area of Bergville was the site of some of South Africa’s most notorious and intensely fought battles. The area is steeped in battlefield history and has now been proclaimed a World Heritage Site.

Dating back to 1850, Sandford Park started its life as a coach house offering food and shelter for pioneers carving a road between KwaZulu-Natal and the Transvaal. The battles that took place in the Bergville area are iconic moments in the history of South Africa where fierce and bloody conflicts between Boer, British and Zulu troops were fought for control of land and water.

Ultimately, this struggle for control evolved Sandford from a pioneer pit-stop to a British garrison residence whose men/ soldiers were sent to relieve the town of Ladysmith, causing the historical battle of Spioenkop.

Sandford survived almost complete obliteration and the present true beauty of the property has stood the test of time. Generations have come and gone but Sandford Park still remains. Today, Sandford Park Country Hotel has been restored to a place of complete relaxation and tranquility and offers guests a unique opportunity to experience the heritage of the property itself as well as the surrounding battlefields.

Other historical & cultural attractions in the Bergville area:

Cannibal Cavern, Northern Drakensberg
When Shaka's impi raged through KwaZulu-Natal in the 1820's, smaller clans were forced to flee. Some took refuge in overhangs in the little Berg and had to resort to cannibalism to survive. Sidinane was the chief here.

Kaalvoet Vrou (Barefoot woman), Drakensberg At Voortrekker Pass there is a monument of a woman walking away from KwaZulu-Natal. This is in memory of Susanna Smit, sister of Gert Maritz, who declared that she would rather trek barefoot back over the Berg than live in KwaZulu-Natal under British rule.

Located in Voortrekker Pass near Bergville.

This settlement was built by the Zizi people who lived there until the Mfecane of the 1820's. The site appears to have been occupied for several decades and there is evidence of four phases of construction. The site was declared a national monument in September 1995. Located on the Farm Zuur Lager 1040, at the base of Mgodanyuka Hill overlooking the Thukela river.

Oliviershoek Laager
The construction of a proper laager began in March 1879, incorporating the magistrate's court and the gaol. After the war the laager became a police post. It is now a ruin. South West shores of the Woodstock Dam.

Retief's Pass, Drakensberg

In 1837 Piet Retief's party of voortrekkers braved the Drakensberg in their quest for freedom and a land (Natal) of their own. The original trail carved by their ox wagons is known as Retief's pass. The pass was declared a national monument in February 1977.

From Bergville take the R74 and proceed up the Oliviershoek Pass for 42 km follow signs - Retief Klip. Follow dirt road for 1 km.

Retiefklip (Retief's Rock)
Upon arriving in the Free State, there was a dispute amongst the Boers as to the final, proposed destination of the great trek. Piet Retief chose Natal. Here at the foot of the Kerkenberg, he left his laager on 7 October, 1837 with 14 men to reconnoitre Natal in advance. His daughter Deborah painted her fathers name on a rock to commemorate his birthday.

Kerkenberg, across the border, but accessible by car from Bergville

Upper Thukela Blockhouse
Built by the British during the Anglo-Boer war, this unique structure is now a Moth Shellhole. It is situated in the Courthouse Grounds and is a national monument.