Home > Trails/venues > Sunday trails > Magalies - berg > History

A little history ...

Ruins at Castle Gorge

History of the Magaliesberg

In the early nineteenth century, the Kashan mountains, as they were once known, were renamed after the Tswana chief, Magali, when early white pioneers ventured into this beautiful part of the world and came into contact with some of the tribes.

Around 1822, Mzilikazi, Shaka's favourite captain, on conquoring the Sotho tribes in the area, broke away from Shaka to create his own clan (Khumalo or elephant) and settled in these regions.

Whilst consolidating the Matabele nation, a path of destrution was left behind by the Mzilikazi's impis, who were then driven to the north accross the Limpopo River by the Boer trek party led by Hendrik Potgieter and Gert Maritz.

The boers settled in the Magaliesberg valleys and created productive farms.

During the second Anglo-Boer war, the Boers who were familier with the area, launched attacks on the British soldiers by using secret pathways across the mountains.  The English built blockhouses to resist the onslaught, ruins of which can still be seen scattered on the range.  From these blockhouses views were obtained in all directions.

Many battles were fought, e.g. Buffelspoort, Nooitgedacht, Olifantsnek etc. as the occupation of the Magaliesberg was important to both sides.   The Boer and English forces battled to retain the important routes between Pretoria and Rustenberg.  

After the second Anglo-Boer war, many farms were in ruins but the beauty of the Magaliesberg still remained.  The farms were built up again and were particularly successful in crops like citrus.

So, when you are hiking along the ridges of the magnificent Magaliesberg range, and you come across some ruins, give a thought to those who fought in the various battles, and then think of how wonderful it is to be free and to be able to enjoy hiking in this wonderful countryside, with views for ever.