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Gateway to the Battlefields
The picturesque town lies along the Bushmans River, from which the town originally took its name, and is considered the gateway to the Battlefields Route – just south of Estcourt was the southernmost point reached by the Boer Forces during The Anglo Boer War and it marks the beginning of the Kwazulu-Natal Battlefields Route.
Estcourt is ideally situated with easy access to Winterton, Frere, Colenso, Ladysmith, Howick, Nottingam Road and Weenen and all the attractions that go along with these quaint towns. Historical sites in and around Estcourt include the Armoured Train Cemetery, where a young Winston Churchill was captured, and Brynbella Hill, only 10 kilometres from Estcourt, which represented high ground for the Boers as they pressed further south. The stone wall used by both the Boer and British forces during the skirmish on 23 November 1899 is still visible, and is a national monument.
The natural surrounds is an exciting mic game viewing, walking, hiking, mountain biking and birdwatching trails.
Estcourt offers a variety of accommodation which includes B&B’s, Guesthouses and self-catering cottages.
Things to do and see
- Fort Durnford Museum
- Wagendrift Nature Reserve
- Wagendrift Dam
- Weenen Nature Reserve
- Garden of Remembrance
- Old Stone Wall
- Battlefields Route
- Estcourt Golf Course
Estcourt receives approximately 760 mm of rain annually with most of its annual rainfall during summer.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 14˚C and 28˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 1˚C and 21˚C.
There are daily local flights into Pietermaritzburg Airport, approximately 108 Km’s away via the N3, and into King Shaka International Airportin Durban, approximately 202 Km’s away also via the N3. Car hire facilities are available at the Airport.
Estcourt has been said to bear, at least in its origins, some comparison with the ancient city of Rome, for it began at a fort or drift, where a modest inn and Trading Store was set up by the first inhabitant Clem Heeley, in 1847.
The fort was built in 1847 to guard the fording place over the Bushman River staging point on the road from Pietermaritzburg to the north. Shopkeepers, blacksmiths and innkeepers were attracted to the area and in 1863 the growing town was named after Thomas Estcourt, an English parliamentarian who had promoted immigration to Natal.
Estcourt’s turbulent past began with the murder of Piet Retief and his followers at the hands of Dingane, followed by the murder of Boer families near Estcourt, where a memorial now stands.
With ample water from the Wagendrift Dam, 5 km upstream, Estcourt has become a substantial town with a farmers' co-operative sausage and meat packing plant, a milk canning and drying plant and a hardboard factory.
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