History of the Bronberg

The Bronberg extension of the Magaliesburg mountain range is likely to have been occupied by early hominids similar to those found in the Sterkfontein caves, the "Cradle of Humankind".

The oldest stone tools found in the area may date back as far as 2 million years to the so-called Olduwan culture of the Early Stone Age.   The stones shown below show signs of primitive flake removal, and were found within the Conservancy.

Stone toolStone tool

Early Stone Age tools found in the Conservancy

Somewhat later stone tools have also been found in the Bronberg Conservancy, which are possibly  around 100,000 years old from the Early to Middle Stone Age.

Stone age tool

Middle Stone Age tool found in the Conservancy

Later on, in the Iron Age and beyond, stone walled huts were built.  People of the Middle and Late Iron Age favoured hilltops rather than valleys for their settlements, and many remains of walls and huts are found on the hillside slopes of the Bronberg Conservancy.  These remains probably date from 1600AD onwards.

Ndebele people settled in the Bronberg area around 1800.  The warrior chief Mzilikaze led a later Ndebele invasion in 1827, after excaping the wrath of the Zulu king Shaka.  Shaka's successor, Dingane, later attacked Mzilikaze in 1832, and his Zulu impi may have marched past the Bronberg Conservancy on their way to attack Mzilikazi's royal residence at Kungwini (Wonderboom).

The Bronberg played its part in  the Anglo-Boer war.  After the capture of Pretoria by the British forces on 5 June 1900, General Botha's remaining forces spread themselves out along the area of the Donkerhoek Pass, to the north-east of the Conservancy.  The British forces under Lieutenant-General Ian Hamilton congregated along the Bronberg range with infantry and cavalry.  On the 11 June 1900 they marched north  to attack Botha's forces at Diamond Hill, where the British suffered heavy losses from the Boers before finally capturing the hill.

In the Conservancy can be seen various stone gun-butts etc from the time of the Anglo-Boer war, while a few kilometres away at Diamond Hill lie the graves of the British soldiers who were killed there a short while later.  

The photos below show a shell (probably British) from the Anglo-Boer war, found in the Conservancy.


(Information derived in part from the book: The Magaliesberg, by Vincent Carruthers. ISBN 1 86812 246 8. Southern Book Publishers, 1990.)

Photographs of historical sites in the Conservancy

To view a photo in more detail, click on the picture below.

Stone circleStone circle

Stone circleStone circle