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Bergview Guest House

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Bergview Guest House


74 Browning Street

Bergview is a modern guest house, central in Northern Kwazulu Natal and pivotal to all the battlefields. Accommodation perfect for leisure and business travellers. We endeavour to create a cosy, homely atmosphere.

We offer the following facilities:

-Nine rooms with twin beds
-Two rooms with double beds
-All rooms en-suite (showers only)
-Dinner by request
-Hot beverage facilities in rooms and in lounge
-Lounge, dining room with a fireplace
-TV in all the rooms
-Secure, undercover parking
-Laundry service available in town

The History of Dundee

Coal mining began in this area in the early 1860's. Peter Smith found coal on his farm \Dundee" in 1864. His neighbour, E. Howe Pascoe, began mining operations on "Coalfields" and many people were attracted to the mines and the need for a town was soon discussed.


The two Smith brothers, Thomas and Peter, who came to Natal from England, were the sons of Thomas Smith and Mary Paterson who lived on Mole Hill farm in Forfarshire, near Dundee in Scotland.
Thomas Smith left home in the 1850's and headed for the Australian goldfields. He spent five years there before coming to Natal. On arrival in Natal in 1855 he was granted 3000 acres in Northern Natal . He named his farm "Dundee". He was a building contractor and farmed on a small scale. He built many of the homesteads in the area.
Peter Smith was born in 1828. He married Ann Craighead. In 1859 they immigrated to Natal, arriving in Durban aboard the 'Lady of the Lake'. At this time Natal was suffering as a result of an economic recession and the Government had ceased to grant land to immigrants. Peter leased a farm in the Ladysmith area. This venture proved unsuccessful and he was forced to earn money by felling trees on the Drakensberg Escarpment. He was paid in cattle and was soon able to return to farming.

Shortly after moving on to Dundee in 1864, Peter Smith discovered a coal outcrop about 500 metres from the farm homestead on the Talana hillside. He began mining and by 1878 was employing Cornish miners. His wagons plied regularly between his farm and the market square in Pietermaritzburg, where his coal sold readily. The coal was of a high quality and was to bring the Smith family a fortune. Gradually the expansion of operations brought a small community together in the Steenkoolstroom valley. A tiny hamlet of wattle and daub and wood and iron cottages sprang up near the stream. This was the beginning of the modern town. A wood and iron store was established under the manager-ship of an energetic Charles Wilson. The store and the mine enjoyed a boom when the British Army made the valley their headquarters for the Second Invasion of Zululand in 1879. This encouraged Peter Smith to enlarge his interests. In 1882 he brought out a fellow Dundonian, McConnachie, from Scotland, to develop further coal deposits. Mr McConnachie, a mining engineer, was to transform the industry.

Born on the 25th April 1840 in Inveraray, Argylshire, Scotland Macphail came to live in Natal 1864. He lived the life of an adventurous bachelor. In 1870 he visited the Dundee district and stayed with Peter Smith and his family on their farm.

He is the eldest son of Peter and Ann. He married Janet Gray of Cathkin. They settled on Balgray, a 3600-acre farm alongside Craigside, which was owned by William's brother-in-law Dugald MacPail. Janet bore him five sons and two daughters.

A Londoner by birth, Charles Willson was only a toddler when his family landed in Natal in 1852. On his way up country in 1873, he met William Smith, who was travelling down to Durban. Smith advised him to set up a store in the Sterkstroom Valley where seven roads met. Peter Smith leased him four acres of land on his farm Dundee and the general store opened in the name of Thos Muirhead & Co. Thirty-three years later, on his way to England for his first visit back to the 'Old Country', Willson confessed that when he first came to Dundee he "hadn't enough to buy a match".


Blood River Battlefield (Between Boer and Zulu)
A party of Voortrekkers, led by Andries Pretorius, defeated a Zulu army on the banks of Ncome river on 16 December 1838. The river was renamed "Blood River" after the Boers' victory. The Voortrekkers used a "laager" technique to defend themselves and today 64 replica bronze wagons stand as a memorial. There are two museums on site, the recently opened "Ncome Museum" and the "Blood River" museum.

Isandlwana Battlefield
(The defeat of the British at the hands of the Zulus)
On this site on 22 January 1879 an entire British army was defeated by a force of 25 000 Zulu warriors. White cairns scattered across the battlefield mark the positions of buried British soldiers.

Rorkes Drift Battlefield
On 22 January 1879, 100 British soldiers defended this position against 4 000 Zulu warriors in a 12 hour engagement. A record number of 11 Victoria Crosses were awarded to the defenders.

On site is a informative museum housed in some of the original buildings as well as a craft centre.

Fugitives Drift

On this lonely hillside the two men responsible for saving the colours from the Isandlwana camp were killed and are buried. 15km beyond Rorkes Drift. The fugitives Trail follows the route along which the handful of survivors fled from Isandlwana to Fugitives Drift. Experienced professional guides are available to lead groups along the trail.

Site of the death of the Prince Imperial
A memorial marks the spot where Lois Napoleon, the Prince Imperial of France was killed on 1 June 1879. His body was returned to England for burial.

Talana Battlefield
The first major battle (20th October 1899) between British and Boers during the Anglo-Boer War of 1899 - 1902. On site is the Talana museum, well worth a visit for the tourist interested in Dundee's varied history and the Anglo-Boer war.

Other Battlefields
Within travelling distance from Dundee:
Ladysmith, Spioenkop, Majuba, Hlobane, Colenso, Vaalkrans, Elandslaagte, Helpmekaar among many others.

Other Things to Do and See

Ten Commandments
Just leading out of Dundee on Victoria Street to Wasbank is a unique monument. It is constructed of engraved granite and plain brick and stands 5 metres high. It contains a copy of the Ten Commandments and a summary of the divine law given by God to Moses, plus other biblical structures. Really worth visiting. Self-guiding.

Maria Ratschitz mission
Set at the base of the Hlatikulu Mountain. Trappist monks built it at the end of the 19th century. The buildings deteriorated and fell into disuse but have been restored. The cathedral-like church is magnificently decorated. The mission is the home of the Nardini sisters who run an aids hospice.

Gladstone Street Mosque
It was built in 1902 by architects from India, and can accommodate 2000 worshippers. All visitors welcome.

Pro Nobis
A Roman Catholic Convent erected in 1917 on 18 acres of land. Today it is a school for physically and mentally challenged children.

Dundee Adult Centre
Situated in Victoria Street is for physically and mentally challenged adults who usually move up from Pro Nobis School.

The Hindu Temple
Established in 1910 . Mahatma Gandi worshipped here in 1914 during his campaign of Passive Resistance

St. James Anglican Church
Boundary Road. Erected in 1898. It houses plaques listing men who died in the Anglo Boer War battles of 1899-1902. Gen. Penn Symons, the British commanding officer at the Battle of Talana and Lt Hannah, the first man to be killed by a Long Tom shell, are both buried in the gardens.

Throley Farm
Is on the reverse slopes of Talana Hill where the Boer forces had their headquarters, hospital and mortuary during the Battle of Talana. The restored buildings are on a private farm.

Valley of the Cannibals
These are very scenic valleys from Rorke's Drift via Elandskraal to Helpmekaar. In the early 1800's tribes fleeing from the emerging Zulu nation took refuge in these hills and turned to cannibalism for survival.

Melusi Mission
In Cornhill Street, formally the Betania Mission Station that was started in the early 1890's by Baroness Posse & Rev. L.P. Norenius. On the 12th January 1899 the hospital was completed.

Wesleyan Church
McKenzie Street. This was originally the Ebenezer Church designed by Rev. L.P. Norenius & built in 1898 & formed part of the Betania Mission. It was declared a National Monument in 1979. It served as a field hospital during the battle of Talana & some of the soldiers who died are buried in the small cemetery behind the church.



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