Ladysmith – Culture and Beauty
Located on the banks of the Klip River, with the mighty Drakensberg Mountains as a backdrop, Ladysmith in KwaZulu Natal is steeped in history, culture and natural beauty. Ladysmith is the perfect half-way stopover for holidaymakers traveling between Johannesburg and Durban, as well as being the gateway to the Northern and Central reaches of the Drakensberg Mountain range.
Established in 1850, and named in honor of Juana Maria de los Dolores de Leon Smith, the Spanish wife of Sir Harry Smith, Ladysmith played an important role as a replenishment station and staging post for fortune hunters making their way to the goldfields of the Transvaal or the diamond diggings of Kimberley, in those early pioneering days. There are many reminders in and around Ladysmith with regard to the role the town played in the Second Boer War, also referred to as the Anglo-Boer War, which took place between October 1899 and May 1902. The 118-day siege of Ladysmith (2 November 1899 to 28 February 1900), with the British forces trapped in the town surrounded by Boer forces, made world headlines. Ten of the battlefields around Ladysmith have been preserved for their historical value, with monuments and memorials erected in honor of those who lost their lives. Also of historical interest is the Siege Museum located next to the Town Hall.
Places showcasing the natural heritage of the Ladysmith area include the Malendeni Bird Sanctuary, the Qedusizi Dam, and the Spioenkop Nature Reserve – located adjacent to the Spioenkop Battlefield, around 25 kilometers from the town. This well-stocked reserve is home to giraffes, rhino, zebras, a variety of antelope and plentiful birdlife, as well as providing opportunities for angling, water-skiing, yachting, hiking and camping.