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*All distances listed are as the crow flies, and not actual travel distances.
Consisting of several buildings and spread over an 8ha section of farm on which the first major battle took place between Brit and Boer at the start of the South African war of 1899-1902, the Talana Museum is Dundee town’s main attraction and a worthwhile stop when visiting this part of the KwaZulu-Natal Province.
Two Smith brothers arrived from Dundee in Scotland in the 1850s and purchased a farm in the area. Large coal deposits were soon discovered here and the brothers began transporting the coal to Pietermaritzburg for sale at the market. They later laid out the town after establishing a coal company, and named it Dundee after their hometown. The area is also a chief cattle and sheep farming region and a large maize supplier.
The Talana Museum showcases the town’s coal mining and agricultural history, as well as the battle site and details of the impact the Smith family had on Dundee. Eight of the museum buildings are original and dated between 1860 and 1920. The main homestead contains period furniture and alongside are the Smith private cemetery and military cemetery for British soldiers that died during the 1899 battle. Boer soldiers were buried at nearby Thornley Farm and although on private land, arrangements can be made to visit the site.
Talana House displays old military relics recovered from the war and guided tours of the Kwa Kunje Cultural Village provide insight into the Zulu culture. The glass gallery holds a magnificent glass collection commemorating the establishment of the country’s first glass factory which is unfortunately no longer operating in Dundee.
The Miner’s Rest restaurant serves up light meals and a popular buffet lunch on Sundays (booking essential) while out in the grounds, children can explore the old steam train that once travelled between Dundee and Glencoe.