Spioenkop and other iconic destinations of the history tourist – the ramblings of a battlefield guide in Northern Natal

Johann Hamman Battlfield Tours Kwazulu-Natal history Anglo-Zulu war battle of Isandlwana 24th regiment

We are on the eve of celebrating our 15th year in the Kwazulu-Natal battlefield guiding industry. (Left-Isandlwana Mountain, taken from the Drift. One of the more ominous silhouettes in British Army history.)The industry has shown upward and downward curves, most certainly, and tourists have been scared away by various noises on the political spectrum, here and abroad. I have certainly had my moments on our array of battlefields in and around our base town of Dundee.  A Battlefield guide in this part of the world is an eclectic figure, and we have had our share of fame. We remember the late David Rattray, one of our most awesome raconteurs, uncle Foy Vermaak who had passed away last year, and then of course, the indomitable Ken Gillings, who was lost in a snorkelling

Johann Hamman Battlfield Tours Kwazulu-Natal history Anglo-Zulu war battle of Isandlwana 24th regiment

(The haunting image of the disputed trench grave on Spioenkop – right.) accident off Cape Cape Vidal. Its been many years since my first battlefield in the Swakop River, in Namibia, amidst all those silent shadows and brooding granite hills where the ghosts of brave men past share their tales with the patient earth. My sojourn through the equally haunting battles of the First World War, and my unforgettable Armistice Day celebration at the Menin gate in Ypre in 1998. Today we pay homage to the brave men who fought each other to a standstill in the rocky vistas of Kwazulu-Natal.  A spellbinding tale that needs to be told. When do we see you…???

 

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