Colenso is located on the southern bank of the Tugela River and lies on the main Durban - Johannesburg railway line some 190 km north-west of Durban.  It was established in 1855 as a stop-over point before or after fording the river. It was named after the Anglican bishop of Natal and champion of the Zulu cause, John William Colenso.

During the Anglo-Boer War (1899 - 1902) the town, being located at the point where the main north-south transport route crossed the main east-west river, was one of focal points in the relief of Ladysmith. For many years the town's principal industry was the power station, originally built for South African Railways and opened in June 1926 and finally decommissioned in 1985.


Anglo-Boer War Sites
Clouston Koppie of Remembrance
15 December 1899. Buller's first attempt to cross Thukela River and relieve Ladysmith met with disaster at Battle of Colenso. Memorials and graves moved to this site. Was Gen. Buller's headquarters during battle of Colenso. Several brigade hospitals here during battle. Where first moving pictures of a battle were taken. On R103 outside Colenso. Open daily.
Tel: 036 637 2992

Ambleside Military Cemetery
Burial site of 5th Irish Brigade, killed in Battle of Colenso. Take Weenen/Colenso road from R103 (approaching from Estcourt) and turn left to Winterton. Follow signs. Open daily.
Tel: 036 637 2992

Gun Positions
Ten of twelve British guns used during Battle of Colenso lost to Boers under leadership of Gen. Louis Botha. Lt. Freddy Roberts, son of Lord Roberts, mortally wounded here. Marker indicates where he fell.
Tel: 036 637 2992

Armoured Train Incident
Winston Churchill captured by Boer forces near site after armoured observation train was derailed by Boers. Plaque next to road, cemetery across railway line. On R103 between Estcourt and Colenso.
Tel: 036 352 6253

Chieveley Military Cemetery
Site of No 4 Station Hospital. Burial place of Lord Robert's son, Lt. Freddy Roberts. Follow dirt road past railway station to cemetery. On R103 between Estcourt and Colenso. Open daily.
Tel: 036 637 2992

Battle of Thukela Heights
12-28 February 1900. General Buller led his troops through numerous battles on the south bank of Thukela River - Hussar Hill, Cingolo Hill, Monte Christo, Hlangwane - followed by operations on north bank - Colenso Koppies, Wynne Hills, Inniskilling (Hart's Hill), Railway Hill and Pieters Hill before relieving Ladysmith. Turn off on road between Colenso/ Ladysmith towards Ezakheni/Newcastle. Graves and memorials next to road.
Tel: 036 637 2992
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Accommodation Map

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