Bergville - Gateway to the Northern Drakensberg
Bergville is situated less than 40km from Royal Natal National Park in the Northern Drakenserg. Bergville is an ideally-situated agricultural and trading centre and today has become a centre relying on tourism. British forces built a blockhouse in the settlement two years later at the onset of the Anglo-Boer War - that building is now a Monument and Museum within the grounds of the Bergville Court House.
Bergville offers a wide range of accommodation from Hotels, B&B's self catering and camping facilities. See this Bergville Accommodation directory for more details. Also contact Midlands Reservations for accommodation offered in and near Bergville.
The Bergville District is home to the tribal authority areas of Amangwane and Amazizi. Amangwane comprises 44 settlements and Amazizi four settlements. The district further comprises African freehold areas with eleven villages, white commercial farms, and the town of Bergville. The town of Bergville is very small and comprises only 162 properties. Only 3% of the Bergville region's population live in Bergville. Most residents of Bergville District are very poor. Ninety seven percent are Africans. Most survive through subsistence farming on small plots, some keep cattle, while some get income from migrant worker remittances and pensions. Bergville's economy is based on providing services for its rural impoverished citizens.
More than 70000 people live in the tribal authority areas, and an estimated 40000 live on white commercial farms and the freehold areas have another 30000 residents. Populations are concentrated along the fringes of the tribal areas in close proximity to Bergville and Estcourt. The commercial farms have a low population density. Population is therefore not evenly distributed. Bergville town has 800 inhabitants.
Community development in Bergville
Poverty in Bergville is a problem. The small and micro business has limited exposure to opportunities outside of the township. Raw materials are costly and not easily obtained. Services are not accessible to these micro businesses. There is limited access to tools and equipment, because of poverty. Credit is not available for emerging enterprises. Education and training opportunities are limited. Management and technical skills and basic adult education training programme's are not freely available. Small and micro businesses do not have access to mainstream economic markets in the formal economy. Transport is not easy in the tribal authority and freehold areas.
But tourism is helping and community projects like Thandanani and Zimisele where crafts are being produced and sold creating upliftment and ways out of this poverty trap.
Bergville - Historical & Cultural Attractions
All Out Adventures
Cannibal Cavern, Northern Drakensberg
When Shaka's impis raged through natal in the 1820's, smaller clans were forced to flee. Some took refuge in overhangs in the little Berg and had to resort to cannibalism to survive. Sidinane was the chief here.
This settlement was built by the Zizi people who lived there until the Mfecane of the 1820's. The site appears to have been occupied for several decades and there is evidence of four phases of construction. The site was declared a national monument in September 1995.
Located on the Farm Zuur Lager 1040, at the base of Mgodanyuka Hill overlooking the Thukela river.
The construction of a proper laager began in March 1879, incorporating the magistrates court and the gaol. After the war the laager became a police post. It is now a ruin. South West shores of the Woodstock Dam.
Kaalvoet Vrou (Barefoot woman), Drakensberg
At Voortrekker Pass there is a monument of a woman walking away from Natal. This is in memory of Susanna Smit, sister of Gert Maritz, who declared that she would rather trek barefoot back over the Berg than live in Natal under British rule. Located in Voortrekker Pass near Bergville.
Retief's Pass, Drakensberg
In 1837 Piet Retief's party of voortrekkers braved the Drakensburg in their quest for freedom and a land (Natal) of their own. The original trail carved by their ox wagons is known as Retief's pass.The pass was declared a national monument in February 1977.
From Bergville take the R74 and proceed up the Oliviershoek Pass for 42 km follow signs - Retief Klip. Follow dirt road for 1 km.
Retiefklip (Retief's Rock)
Upon arriving in the Free State, there was a dispute amoungst the Boers as to the final, proposed destination of the great trek. Piet Retief chose Natal. Here at the foot of the Kerkenberg, he left his laager on 7 october, 1837 with 14 men to reconnoitre Natal in advance. His daughter Deborah painted her fathers name on a rock to commemorate his birthday. Kerkenberg, across the border, but accessible by car from Bergville
Upper Thukela Blockhouse
Built by the British during the Anglo-Boer war, this unique structure is now a Moth Shellhole. It is situated in the Courthouse Grounds and is a national monument. Courthouse Grounds, Sharratt street, Bergville