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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Magersfontein Museum and War Memorial

Afrikaans name: Magersfonteinmuseum

Magersfontein battle site

Magersfontein battle site

Photo © Johan van Zyl

Northern Cape

When visiting Kimberley, it is highly recommended that you pay a visit to the Magersfontein Museum and Memorials. These have been erected on the site where the Battle of Magersfontein took place on 11 December 1899.

The British were led by Lord Methuen and Major-General Wauchope, while the Boer forces were led by General Piet Cronje and Combat General Koos de la Rey. The Boer forces dug trenches at the foot of Magersfontein Hill rather than on the hill. This was contrary to their normal practice of taking the higher ground where they were susceptible to the British artillery. As expected, the British bombarded the hills with their artillery while columns marched towards the hill.

Accommodation in Kimberley

The Boer tactics worked as, when they opened fire from their trenches, it threw the British forces into disarray. The battle continued throughout the day only broken by a truce in the afternoon to allow the casualties to be treated. That evening the British retreated after having suffered more casualties than the Boers.

Today the site has a museum, information centre and several memorials. It also offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside which is predominantly flat.

Entrance gate

Entrance to the Magersfontein museum site

Photo © Johan van Zyl

Monument high on a hill

One of the many monuments

Photo © Johan van Zyl

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References and further reading

Conolly's Guide to Southern Africa - Author: Denis Conolly - Year Published: 1982 - Page: 344

go! - Issue 084 - Author: - Year Published: 2013 - Page: 67

Places to Visit in Southern Africa - Author: AA RSA - Year Published: 1995 - Page: 340

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