DISCOVER THE GEMS OF THE OASIS ROUTE
The McGregor Museum in Kimberley is the former residence of Cecil John Rhodes, the mining magnate. He was trapped in Kimberley during the siege
and was an influential voice among the British leadership. The museum houses a siege display, where the story of the siege and eventual relief of
Kimberley is told. From here you can take the N12 to Hopetown, a route along which several battlefield sites are commemorated. These include the
battles of Belmont, Graspan, Modder River, and Magersfontein, the most famous of the battle sites, approximately 40km from Kimberley.
Just before dawn on 11 December 1899, the Boers opened fire on the Highland Brigade from their concealed trench at the base of Magersfontein Hill. It
was a legendary Boer victory, but the memorials and graves at the site speak of casualties on both sides. The Magersfontein Museum should not be
missed as it has an audiovisual presentation that offers visitors a first-hand experience of battle from a darkened Boer trench.
The war finally ended on 31 May 1902 with the signing of the Treaty of Vereeniging. This was after the Boers were forced to surrender following the
British ‘scorched earth policy’ whereby they destroyed farms and placed women and children in concentration camps.
Part of the treaty included the dissolution of the South African Republic and the Orange Free State as independent Boer republics. They became part of
the British Empire. Less than a decade later, this amalgamation led to the establishment of the Union of South Africa in 1910, as a member of the
Commonwealth of Nations. Traveling the N12 Battlefields Route is a sobering reminder that wars aren’t glorious; the loss of life and property still rings
sour more than a decade later.