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b and w

The Karoo Battlefields

War, loss and recovery

The Karoo is South Africa's arid heartland - with heritage treasures such as fossils, geology, landscapes, architecture, art and cuisine.

The Karoo Battlefields Route recalls and celebrates the heroism, suffering, and aspirations of the South African War. Join us as we trace the soldiers, the officers, the commandos, and the many ordinary people whose lives were profoundly transformed by the war of 1899-1902.

The northern Karoo was the only “theatre of war” in South Africa which remained active and important for the whole period of the South African War (October 1900-May 1902).

Our Route currently includes six towns: Colesberg, Noupoort, Norvalspont, Bethulie, Philippolis and Springfontein, clustered around the N1 highway. This route will soon extend further into the Karoo, and we will help you to link with battlefields and museums elsewhere.

The Route offers interesting options for everyone:


  • Follow General de la Rey, leading the Boer forces in Colesberg

  • Follow Reverend Christoph Sandrock of the Berlin Missionary Society, who helped black people to find a refuge in the war

  • Get to know General Christiaan de Wet, as he tried to invade the Cape Colony near Bethulie, and eventually succeeded near Philippolis

  • Join the resourceful British commanders in their pursuit of the elusive Boers

  • Meet Emily Hobhouse, the English lady who found a place in the hearts of the Boer nation

  • Follow the dashing young Veldkornet Gideon Scheepers, leading the attack on Philippolis in October 1900 – and finally executed as a Cape rebel by the British in Graaff-Reinet

  • Follow your favourite British regiment in the area

  • Explore the railway history of Noupoort, Norvalspont, Bethulie and Springfontein

  • Explore the wartime experiences of the local people - Afrikaans, English, and Black people.

How to use this website ...

This website is a portal for everyone!

  • For travellers: See our page WHERE TO GO, as well as the STAY page

  • For travellers and locals who want more information about the towns: See the TOWNS page

  • For people who want to explore even more in-depth topics: See the THEMES page

  • When the history bug really begins to bite, see our SOURCES page!

  • And when you would like to share information and photos, please send them to Doreen (, and we will add them to the site.

This website is WORK IN PROGRESS! Visit us frequently for new updates.

And we will see you in the Karoo!


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