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Estcourt - South Africa

Estcourt is now a medium sized town in South Africa. In the pioneer days when the road to the north was simply a rough wagon track, a fort was erected on a hill dominating the fording place over the Bushman's river. 

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Estcourt museum Fort Durnford This fort was first occupied in 1847 and is reputedly haunted by the numerous ghosts, who for some obscure reason have become attached to the place. The Estcourt fort was designed as a substantial stronghold, and built to protect transport riders and the herds of cattle driven across the ford. It is as secure as any castle with drinking water tanks in the basement, a drawbridge, moat and two secret tunnels. A trading station, blacksmith and inn were established under the protection of the garrison and in 1863 it was decided to call the village Estcourt in honour of Thomas Estcourt, an English parliamentarian who sponsored the immigration of settlers into the area. Today Estcourt is a thriving center of industry particularly for livestock and meat products. Estcourt is also a gateway for tourism for the Drakensberg and Battlefields regions of South Africa.

Hiking trails in the Estcourt area lead to destinations such as Giantís Castle in the Drakensberg Mountain range and will take you past San caves and a site museum. The Wagondrift Dam Public Resort offers fishing and water sport opportunities.

Estcourt also offers oppertunities to experience Zulu culture and traditionsIkukhanya Kwelanga Cultural Village is run by a traditional healer, who is also head of an organization of traditional healers. The "village" is a homestead in one of the townships around Estcourt  and also includes a nursery specialising in plants with medicinal qualities, used by traditional healers for many years. Tours are conducted to a local township tavern and offer opportunities of meeting some of the local Zulu people and of seeing the dance troupe perform.

Estcourt Anglo-Boer War battle sites include the Brynbella-Willow Grange. Veglaager ("Battle Laager") is the site of a battle between the Boers and Zulus in 1838. Bloukrans Memorial marks the site where Voortrekker families were killed after the murder of their leader, Piet Retief. Winston Churchill was captured by the Boers at Chievely in 1899. A memorial marks the site of the engagement during which he was captured.

Visitors may witness the interesting process of glass making at Glamosa Glass. There is a large factory shop sector in town where people may buy a wide variety of products.

There are various nature reserves in the area of Estcourt. New Formosa Nature Reserve is excellent for game viewing. Moor Park Nature Reserve offers interesting trails and bird watching. Four of the Big Five can be seen at the Weenen Game Reserve and Thukela Biosphere, which offers guided trails, horse trails and day and night drives.

Giants Castle near Estcourt offers spectaculra hiking oppertunitiesGiantís Castle Game Reserve in the Drakensberg, west of Estcourt, includes the magnificent Giantís Castle Peak. The reserve is home to twelve different species of antelope, jackal, baboon and the lammergeyer, which is the largest eagle on the continent. Visits to the reserve offer awe-inspiring views of the Drakensberg Mountain Range.

Accommodation in Estcourt



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