The Northern of the two hillocks directly behind Sewula Gorge Lodge has been inspected and identified by archaeologists from the Natal Museum, as a particularly fine example of an iron age “fortified hill site” from the 11th or 12th century AD. The rocky hill gave natural protection against wild animals and human enemies, and there was fuel, building material and a reliable water supply. One would be sleeping where human beings have been sleeping for at least a millennium.
The Southern hillock is the Rensburg Koppie National Monument recording a clash between the Zulus and the Voortrekkers in February 1838. Some Voortrekker families escaped death by running to the Koppie and defending themselves against the attacking Zulu Impi.
The steep road and old stonewalls leading to Sewula Gorge Lodge were parts of a staging post on the old wagon and cart road in the 19th Century. It could be described as the original N3 from Estcourt to Mooi-River! This is also believed to be one of the routes along which the Boer soldiers escaped, after their encounter with the British soldiers at the battle of Willow Grange in November 1899.
Close by on the hills to the West of the gorge are the remains of the British defensive positions to protect the town of Estcourt from the Boer forces during the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902).
The remains of an old farmhouse and the entrance posts to the house can be found at the base of the Rensburg Koppie. The entrance posts are really separated from the house and appear in these modern times to be “facing the wrong way”. In fact the main “road” – is no longer in existence, but evidence of it can be seen in the ruts still worn in the veld. In recent times the road has been changed to go over a little stock watering dam wall. The dam was not there in the 1800’s, that was a vlei area, the kind of bog that wagons would get stuck in. The wagon route naturally skirted this area, above the little dam, and crossed the stream further down and moved up to the house and through the gates.
This farmhouse was the original homestead of the farm known as “Malanspruit”. It is believed to have been built in the 1840’s by the first landowners. Interestingly, the first family to “purchase” the land had the surname Oosthuisen, but were not related to Marthinus Oosthuize who later changed his name to Oosthuizen – the hero of the Rensburg Koppie Battle.
Later in the 1960’s 1970’s the house was demolished and the bricks from it used to build the house standing today, over the site where the Malan and Pretorius families had their laagers at the Battle of Rensburg Koppie