It could not have been pleasant for a young British soldier to do sentry duty here in 1900, especially at night. The job had to be done for long periods on end, especially at the time when General De Wet crossed the Magaliesberg a few kilometres to the east of here, bringing President Steyn of the Orange Free State to comparative safety in the bushveld.
Attacks from the Boer guerrillas that knew this land so well often came with first or last light when one couldn’t be too sure whether there had been movement in the vegetation or not. It’s open enough, grassland with scattered shrubs only, offering not too much cover for stalking without being spotted. The competent officer would have ensured that vegetation masking possible enemy approaches would be cut away around defended positions. The Boers knew their field-craft!
Some of the young men may still have preferred fighting to the building of rock fortifications, kraals for the horses or makeshift tracks for hauling artillery pieces up here. Temperature extremes, thunder storms with lightning and the time before a water bottle can be refilled on a hot day when there is enemy around all added to the discomfort.
Many of these rock structure relics of the South African War are still to be seen on the mountain, some not far from where this photo was taken (Carruthers, 1990).