Ladysmith, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

Ladysmith is on the banks of the Klip River in KwaZulu-Natal.


Ladysmith is on the banks of the Klip River in KwaZulu-Natal. Ladysmith was named after the Spanish wife of Sir Harry Smith in 1850. Ladysmith became the perfect place for fortune hunters on their way to the gold mines and diamond finds in Kimberley.

Both Ladysmith and Ladismith were named after Lady Juana Smith, the wife of Sir Harry Smith, the governor of the Cape. Ladysmith, in what was then Natal, was founded in 1850, and Ladismith, in what was then the Cape, was founded in 1852.

So, with Ladysmith having priority, Ladismith changed the spelling of its name to avoid confusion. It hasn't really helped; most people are still confused.

This town leapt to international prominence in the late 19th century when it was besieged by the Boers so it's not surprising that most of the cultural attractions are somewhat bellicose and relate to that rather tumultuous period of South African history.

There is, however, one less aggressive monument - a statue of Mahatma Ghandi (yes, there is one in Pietermaritzburg, too). But this little town is probably best known for its most recent cultural export - the music group Ladysmith Black Mamabazo, whose exploits and achievements are well documented in the town museum.

Some of the attractions of Ladysmith is the Drakensberg Mountains, Spioenkop Nature Reserve, the Malendeni Bird Sanctuary, Qedusizi Dam, the hiking and walking trails and the Historical Battlefields where you can take in so much of that bygone era.

Ladysmith is on the R103, the alternative to the N3 toll road between Harrismith (who was Lady Smith's husband) and Mooi River. It is about 230 kilometres (143 miles) from Durban.