Tracing who the first inhabitants to Estcourt were, is in a slight dispute, but as far as can be reasonably determined the Bushman were there first. This was determined by the art and artefacts found in caves which when comparing the rock art to specific Bushman art depictions elsewhere confirm their presence, which dates back to roughly the Iron Age.
When the Bantu tribes arrived in the 18th century as far as can be determined, the Bushman was systematically driven out of the area by the Zulu tribes.
When European settlers arrived in the 19th century the region seemed desolate and this is partly due to the Zulu king Dingaan that was guilty of perpetrating genocide in the region amongst anyone that stood in the way of the Zulu kingdom.
Voortrekkers under the leadership and command of Piet Retief were negotiating with the Zulu king Dingaan over land and the use of land in the region. The negotiations went wrong and Piet Retief and his party were murdered in the Weenen massacre on the 10th February 1838. Three separate Voortrekker parties were murdered at three different sites, the parties that were overwhelmed in the early morning hours set up camp at the Bloukrans-, Mooi- and Bushman’s River respectively.
The remaining Voortrekkers were granted land south of the Tugela River, which was the site of another human slaughter, The Battle of Blood River, which became the present day Estcourt.
The naming of the town was a somewhat heated debate and as far as can be determined the town’s name originated from the British MP who sponsored British settlers to set up residency in the region namely, Thomas Estcourt MP.
The town was steadily expanding with the influx of more settlers and churches and related industries were established. The town developed in typical fashion with firstly churches, trading posts, schools and doctors to treat the ill.
The town of Estcourt is primarily a farming community with some famous consumer’s food brands originating from Estcourt such as the household Polony brand.
Today the town of Estcourt is a vast expanding metropolitan with suburbs and infrastructure.
The tourist attractions in the region should include the battle sites between the Voortrekkers and Zulus and the Voortrekkers and British forces.
Other attractions include:
· Hiking in the Drakensberg Mountains
Take a tour of the MyRoof website with properties on offer in all the historical towns across South Africa.