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South Africa Tourism Awards

Type: Experience
Category: Unique Experience

Motivation for award: Raymond Heron , Owner of Spion Kop Lodge – Knowledgable Historian and excellent Tour Guide as you can see from a few comments in our guest book. “Excellent Tours and Hospitality. A Memorable visit, one that we will not forget.” Raymond as our guide on the four days of guided trips. He is incredibly knowledgeable, about the various battles, both in respect of the Zulu wars, as well as the South African war. Raymond and Lynette are a formidable team, who made our stay totally wonderful. We left there feeling as though we were part of the family, Hopefully we will be able to return to Spion Kop/Spionkop in the future. Raymond we cannot thank you enough for “setting the scene” and for your moving account of the Battle of Spionkop/ Spion Kop / Spioenkop. I want to express the pleasure we all had from the occasion and our admiration, Raymond, for your most interesting and enjoyable narrative of Southern Africa’s history culminating with your very clear exposition of the tragic events which took place during the Battle of Spion Kop. I for one will want to remember what you said and try to inspire my friends in England to come out and have the experience at first hand. ” A wonderful stay. Raymond’s brilliant raconteur skills brought history to life! Raymond Heron, a renowned historian who has a fascinating presentation on the war and the far-reaching effects it had on Britain and South Africa, who fought as allies in both World War One and World War Two. A Memorable visit,one that we will not forget.” During Raymond’s vivid presentation, one is able to relive memories of the war and walk in the footsteps of three great leaders – General Louis Botha, later to become the Union of South Africa’s first prime minister and a major player in drafting the post-World War One League of Nations, Mohandas (later the “Mahatma”) Gandhi and Winston Churchill. Imagine how the history of South Africa, India and Great Britain might have changed had any or these three men been killed in battle! Six years later the famous home of The Liverpool Football Club Anfield gave the name SPION KOP to the home supporters side of the ground in memory of Liverpudlian soldiers from that part of England who had fought and given there lives in the battle. This battle was one in a series of four fought to relieve the besieged town of Ladysmith.

Region: Kwazulu Natal / OKHAHLAMBA , KZN



Spion Kop Lodge P O Box 20 Ladysmith 3370
Tel: +27 (036) 4881404 Fax: +27 (036) 4881404
Email: web: http/

South Africa – Kwa Zulu Natal a province of excitement and mystery, where the past meets the present in a destination of astonishing natural beauty-a melting pot of traditional and western culture.

From the ashes of the tragedy of the South African War of 1899-1902, fought between the people of South Africa and Britain and the allied men from Canada, Australia and New Zealand, who joined this war, being the first time that troops from overseas fought under their national banner – But it was not only the two sides who suffered, indigenous Inguni people and Indians played supporting roles for both sides – there were times when indigenous people were deployed to fill defensive tasks and the medical services were assisted by the Indians.

Raymond Heron has a fascinating presentation on the affects, which this war had on the History for the people of South Africa and Britain. Half a million troops took part, of which 22 000 were to die, 16 000 from disease.

The long history of conflict in Southern Africa going back to 1652 when the Dutch East India Company established a supply station at the Cape, had been a cause of contention between the British and the descendants of the Dutch settlers, Afrikaners or Boers as they were referred – providing an understanding of the History of the South African people and reason why Britain played such a huge roll in South African History.

Included in the talk as Raymond paints a vivid picture of the personal trauma and military mindset that resulted in the slaughter of so many British and Boer soldiers are:

Winston Churchill’s link with KwaZulu-Natal- “15th November 1899,an incident involving an armoured train, helped to catapult one of the world’s greatest statesmen into his political career.”

Colenso (15th December1899) and the Thukela Heights (12th to 28th February 1900). “Where a series of battles where principles changed to such an extent that the British honed their tactics from the battle of the Thukela Heights during the First World War. The British Army uses this change in philosophy as part of its adaptation in battle

The Battle of the Thukela Heights “ until world war 2, this was the largest battle fought by the British in Africa and until the Falklands War, the biggest they had fought in the Southern Hemisphere. ”

Spion Kop (24th January 1900).

“Stand on the hill where history was written”- SpionKop was the scene of one of the most futile and perhaps bloodiest of all battles fought in the 1899 – 1902 South African War. During Raymond’s vivid presentation you are able to relive the memories of that War and walk in the footsteps of three great leaders, Gen Louis Botha, the Union of South Africa’s first Prime Minister who helped draft the constitution of the League of Nations; Mohandas Gandhi, later the Mahatma and Winston Churchill, Britain’s most famous Prime Minister. Imagine how the history of South Africa, India and Great Britain might have changed had one, two or all three of them been casualties in this battle.

This was the most expensive war fought by Great Britain in both the lives lost and in financial terms.

For South Africa the concentration camps where 28 000 women and children died and 19 000 indigenous people died in appalling conditions.

These were the consequences of this war- a major turning point in world history, perhaps not as glamorous as the Anglo Zulu War, yet still a story of tragic events.

Ghandi, the Great Mahatma Ghandi was on the summit of Spionkop as a stretcher bearer. It’s on that mountain, on that day the 24th January, 1900, that he is believed to have got his first feelings for passive resistance. He said that he could see what the human race was capable of doing to one another, but, he needed to know, in the name of what?
Raymond’s message will try to ensure that the lessons of the past become the beacons of the future.

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