Dundee lies nestling in a valley in the picturesque Biggarsberg in the heart of northern KwaZulu-Natal South Africa. Dundee is a town of history and culture. Proclaimed as a town by pioneering Scottish settlers in 1882, the Dundee municipal area covers 38,91km². The Dundee population of 33 000 is well served by a water supply drawn from six dams as well as the Buffalo river pipeline, about 20km from the town.
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Situated at an altitude of 1 247 meters above sea level, Dundee 's climate is temperate with warm summers (average mean maximum in January : 27,2°C) and moderately cold winters (average mean minimum in June 1,2°C). It is a summer rainfall area with a long term average rainfall of 740mm per year. Dundee has around 213 hours of sunshine per month making it one of the brightest towns in South Africa.
Nestling in a valley in the Biggarsberg, foothills of the mighty Drakensberg, Dundee is surrounded by evocatively named mountains "Indumeni" (where the thunder rolls), "Mpati" (The place of good waters) and "Talana" (The shelf where precious items are kept). 4 000-5 000 years ago the San people roamed through this area and left evidence of their lifestyle in the rock paintings still evident in caves and shelters. 200 years ago the valley was home to black pastoralists as well as an amazing herd of wild life. Dundee was a farm, Peter Smith's personal property, bought from a Voortrekker settler, Mr Dekker, until 1882. He named the town Dundee, in memory of his original home in a small village near Dundee, Scotland. By 1879, as a result of the Anglo Zulu War, a tent town had sprung up on a portion of his farm Fort Jones, a sod fort was built by British troops who were withdrawn from Zululand, back into Natal, after the battle as Isandlwana.
The soldiers attracted traders, missionaries, craftsmen and hunters, but with the second invasion of Zululand the soldiers marched off and the tent town ceased to exist. Peter Smith had, however realised that this valley as a natural confluence and was ideally situated for a town. With his son William Craighead Smith, son-in-law Dugald MasPhail (reputed to be one of the last men to escape from Isandlwana battlefield), and a family friend, Charles Wilson, the proclaimed the town of Dundee in 1882.
On 20 October 1899, the first shots of the South African war were fired. The news of this battle hit the headlines in Britain, the "Battle of Glencoe", which was corrected the following day to the "Battle of Dundee" and on the third day to the "Battle of Talana." It was on the slopes of Talana Hill that the first bitter three year struggle were waged. It was here that British army troops wore khaki uniforms for the first time in battle. After the battle, the British troops retired to Ladysmith and Boer forces occupied the town, renaming it Meyersdorp. This occupation lasted seven months. Dundee was relieved after the battle of Helpmekaar in May 1900. The town's folk who had left before or shortly after the battle returned and the town began to flourish again.
Dundee was the 'meeting place of seven roads" into the hinterlands of Africa and to the coast. The paths of traders, hunters, missionaries, merchants, soldiers and explorers, traveling north and south converged on Dundee. Today visitors will find Dundee a convenient and central point from which to explore this corner of KwaZulu-Natal. Traveling through the hills and valleys still alive with memories of yesteryear, visitors can experience an area rich in culture, arts and crafts, with pockets of nature's beauty that make Dundee and it's district a trail walker's paradise.
For More information contact the Dundee Publicity Association Tel : (0341) 22121 Fax : (0341) 23856, or write to them at Private bag 2024 - Dundee - South Africa 3000. Enquire about accommodation and tourist information for Dundee South Africa