|Location: South Africa » Kwazulu Natal » Utrecht|
Taking it’s name from the well known city in Holland, this small town in the Balele Mountains still exudes an old world charm. There are lovely scenic drives in the vicinity – along Knight’s Hill and Burgers Mountain Passes and past the Groenvlei wetlands leading to the Zaaihoek Dam. Rand Mines allows visits of the coal mine by prior arrangement. In spite of it’s small size, Utrecht is a historical gem with ten National Monuments and ten historical sites. This one time ‘ Old Republic’ was established by Voortrekkers in 1847 along the banks of the Buffalo River and was one of the five original Voortrekker settlements established prior ro 1850. Utrecht not only played a prominent rola in the Anglo Zulu War of 1879, but the disputed territory of Utrecht was an important factor leading to the war. For a short time the town served as the headquarters of the British Army under the command of Lord Chelmsford. Col Evelyn Wood and his famous ‘flying column’ were based here too. Still standing in Church Street is the quaint Uys House, where Prince Louis Napoleon, the Prince Imperial, visited Sannie, the beautiful daughter of Dirk Uys.
How to get there - Newcastle 45 km
Dams – Zaaihoek
Rivers – Buffalo
Anglican Church – erected in 1899
One of the most colourful foreigners who fought with the Boer forces during the Anglo Boer War was the Pole, Captain Leo Pokrowsky, an officer in the Russian army. He was killed in a skirmish on Christmas Day 1900, when he and his men attacked the British garrison in Utrecht.
Dutch Reformed Church
A national monument, this magnificent old building was erected during the ministry of Rev HL Neethling, the first moderator of the Nederduitsche Hervormde or Gereformeerde Kerk of the Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek (Transvaal).
Great Trek and Voortrekker Zulu Wars (1836 – 1852)
Indulge in the rich architectural heritage of Utrecht. The route is set out in the historical broschure which is obtainable from the Information Office.
Irrigation System - Started in 1860, the system was considerably extended until 1865.
Landdrost, Pos en Telegraafkantoor
This building, erected in 1892, is a national monument.
Old Cemetery Graves
The last resting place of well known Voortrekkers and British soldiers.
Old Parsonage Museum
This charming sandstone building on the corner of Kerk and Loop Streets, now a National Monument, houses the Utrecht Museum. Besides the period rooms, the museum portrays the border dispute between the Transvaal and Zululand.
Old Republican Powder Magazine
Erected in 1893, it is one of three similar structures built by the Transvaal Republic.
Old Residency - Erected in 1892, this building is now a national monument
Petrus Lafras Uys Monument
A well known hero of the Zulu wars, Petrus Lafras Uys was one of the original settlers in this area in 1847. He was the first Landdros (magistrate) appointed by the Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek (ZAR) after the town of Utrecht was officially incorporated into the Transvaal.
Rothman House & Shaw House
Both national monuments, these houses are considered to be among the finest examples of colonial residential architecture in rural Kwazulu Natal. Both are now private residences.
Sandstone Section of the Old Gaol
One of the two remaining sections of gaols of the ZAR (before 1900), still in existence.
Site of the Battle of Blood River and Baltes Spruit
The Blood River battlesite is situated in the district of Utrecht and the site was for many years the property of the Utrecht Dutch Reformed Church. It was later transferred to the Nederduitsche Hervormde Kerk / Gereformeerde of the Transvaal. Baltes Spruit was the site of Colonel Wood’s fort and stores depot approximately 25 km on the road to Blood River
The Bloedrivierpoort Battlefield
On the road to Vryheid is the site of the battle fought to prevent General Louis Botha’s second attempt to invade Natal in 1901.
The Buffalo Bridge - 30 km from Utrecht on the road to Newcastle.
Town Hall (1913) - National Monument
Waaihoek Farm - About 14 km out of town, on the way to Blood River
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