Rob Milne was born in Johannesburg. From an early age he spent most of his free time in the veld exploring South African battlefields and historic places, developing a keen interest in both South African Wars, archaeology and geology.
Rob has published two editions of his book “Anecdotes of the Anglo-Boer War” both locally and Internationally and is currently completing the third edition. New stories are continually being unearthed through Rob’s relentless ferreting around kopjies, dorps, and interviewing interesting people. Development of a South African War battlefields tour route along the entire Magaliesberg mountain range is gaining huge momentum, and Rob is writing the “Magaliesberg Battlefields” book to cover the more than 65 Battle and skirmish sites along the route.
Rob is a Registered Cultural and Site Tour Guide (GP5927) – the first to be registered in the speciality “The Greater Magaliesberg Battlefields Tourist Route”.
The Greater Magaliesberg Battlefields Route
Much more than just battlefields
The new tourism route is themed around the Battles during the guerilla war phase of the South African War (1899 to 1902), which includes over 60 battle and skirmish sites. There are many other tourist attractions along the route including ancient rock art, interesting geological and archaeological features, unique museums, game drives in various battlefields – to mention just a few.
There are already 14 tour-ready battlefields, from the Roodeplaat Dam area in the east to Mahikeng in the west. They can be visited as part of day or overnight tours and various combinations can be chosen. Each battlefield can be “adventure” hiked, explored at a gentle stroll, or seen from a vantage point to get a good appreciation of what happened nearly 120 years ago. There are facilities available at or near each battlefield, ranging from basic toilets, water and shade to Craft Breweries and 5-star restaurants. Hospitality facilities are in abundance ranging from camping facilities to luxury game lodges.
En route to each battlefield are numerous other tourist attractions such as hot air ballooning, game drives, abseiling and zip line adventures, outdoor curio markets, or just a nice bush pub. Along the way there are South African War related attractions such as blockhouses, monuments, museums and cemeteries.
The tour-ready Battlefields, following the sequence of South African War events, and their locations are:
- The Siege of Mafeking (now named Mahikeng). Mahikeng.
- Doornkop , including the Jameson Raid. Roodepoort & Krugersdorp.
- Kalkheuwel. The Lion & Safari Park, Broederstroom.
- Sesmylspruitt. The Royal Elephant Hotel & Conference Centre, Centurion.
- Diamond Hill (Bullfrog’s Nest Guest House, Die Skaapkraal)
- Dwarsvlei (The Bru House & Diner, near the Maropeng Visitor Centre).
- Silkaatsnek (Silkaatsnek Nature Reserve, near Harties Cableway).
- Olifantsnek (Brauhaus am Dam, Hunters Rest Hotel).
- Buffelspoort (Buffalo Grill, near Mooi Nooi).
- Nooitgedacht (Askari Game Lodge and Steynshoop Mountain Lodge, Hekpoort).
- Koster River (near Magatos Nek, north of Rustenburg).
- Elands River Siege (Siege Museum, Swartruggens).
Fascinating South African War themed Museums and Monuments along the route include Kedar Heritage Lodge, together with President Paul Kruger’s houses on his old farm Boekenhoutfontein. Ebenhauzer Monument near Olifantsnek; the General Schoeman Cross and Ox Wagon Lodge near Hartebeestpoort Dam; President Kruger’s house in Pretoria; The Emily Back memorial near Magato’s Nek; Prime Minister Jan Smuts’ farmhouse at Doornkloof; Sammy Marks Museum on the Diamond Hill Battlefield; the wagon and coach museum at Askari Game Lodge, Fort Harlech in Krugersdorp, and Orange Grove Fort near Broederstroom.