- Magersfontein Battlefield Museum
You can take a tour of the Magersfontein battlefield on your own or with an experienced guide and military historian to relive that grim day. You'll visit Boer graves in the veld before stopping at the Burgher Monument. Watch a short audio-visual account of the battle, and then it’s off to the hills to view the Highlander Monument and look across the trenches and battlefield.
The Battle of Magersfontein, just outside Kimberley took place during the Anglo-Boer War on 11 December 1899. The Boers scored a decisive victory in what became known as Britain’s 'Black Week'.
The Battle of Magersfontein was a triumph for the Boer forces, a disaster for the British army, and came close to wiping out Scotland's proud Highland Brigade. During the second South African War, the Boers had besieged Kimberley and its 50 000 inhabitants since November 1899. Supplies were scarce in the diamond-mining town and relief was imperative. The British public and press were demanding action. British forces advanced north along the railway line in an attempt to relieve Kimberley, but a Boer force was in their way at Magersfontein.
The British mistakenly believed that the enemy was encamped on the slopes of the surrounding hills and were confident that their superior artillery would win the day. The troops advanced under cover of darkness and prepared to storm the Boer positions at daybreak. The plan proved horribly wrong.
The Boers had dug trenches at the base of the hills and the flat trajectory of their Mauser rifles raked the advancing British troops. The soldiers of Scotland's Highland Brigade who survived the rifle fire were pinned down on the battlefield in the heat of the day. Over 200 British were killed during the battle, many of them dying of sunstroke and exposure.
It is claimed that if you listen carefully, you may well hear the mournful notes of a the Scottish piper.
The Magersfontein battlefield is a must for any visitor to Kimberley. It is situated south of Kimberley and can be reached either via the airport road (31.5km) or via the N12 to Modder River (47,5km).
Map to the Magersfontein Battlefield Anglo-Boer War Museum