Discover the Battlefields


Discover the Battlefields

Welcome to our web page, which we hope will inspire you to embark on a tour of historical exploration, in the company of knowledgeable guide Nicki von der Heyde, author of ‘Field Guide to the Battlefields of South Africa’ (Struik, 2013), Guide to Sieges of South Africa (Struik 2017) and Triumph and Tragedy Trappist Missions in South Africa (self published 2018). Nicki graduated from the University of Cape Town having read English and History, and later taught history at high school. After raising a family, she combined her love for travel and South African war history by making a career of guiding British visitors through the battlefields. Nicki now lives near Underberg, in KwaZulu-Natal where she spends her time researching and writing; as well as arranging and guiding tours through the battlefields or the old Trappist mission stations. Renowned for her expert knowledge and passion for the subject, she is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and an honorary life member of the Anglo-Zulu War Historical Society.

Nicki von der Heyde

Nicki is available to give talks or to guide groups wishing to visit the battlefields and missions.

Book front cover PJ 9sml

For more details see the Triumph and Tragedy Page

This richly illustrated book tells the story behind the Trappist movement in South Africa and gives an account of each mission church in KwaZulu-Natal, and its precise location. These monastery churches are architectural masterpieces, a legacy of Trappist monks from central Europe who, in the late 19th century, were responsible for an explosion of missionary activity hitherto unknown. 

This book is the only publication that includes 22 Trappist mission stations in a single volume, that can be used as a guide by those who enjoy traveling and exploring South Africa. Until now the Trappist churches have remained ‘hidden jewels,’ set in remote and splendid countryside immortalized in Alan Paton’s ‘Cry the Beloved Country’.  Mysterious and magnificent, they are waiting to be discovered and appreciated. 

 ‘Triumph and Tragedy’ is a valuable contribution towards realizing the value of these tourism assets and ensuring their survival.  

· More than 150 historic and modern photographs.

· The story of Francis Pfanner’s early life.

· The Trappists (their origin and their rules.)

· Background of South African history at the time of the Trappists.

· Trappist movement in South Africa and reasons for its tragic end.

· Brief biography of key player Nivard Streicher. 

Detailed directions to each mission

GPS co-ordinates for each mission


Sieges cover new sml

In this companion volume to the highly successful Field Guide to the Battlefields of South Africa, the pivotal sieges that characterised the Cape Frontier, Anglo-Zulu, Basotho and Anglo-Boer wars are brought together in one volume.

To order a signed book please send Nicki an e’mail.

Accounts of 17 sieges over the last two centuries explore in detail the historical context in which they occurred, the day-to-day military actions that sustained the investments and the conditions both soldiers  and civilians faced while defending their territory against a hostile force. The siege descriptions are animated by maps, timelines and a variety of information boxes and human-interest stories, gleaned mainly from diaries, letters and eye-witness accounts, while long-form features focus on the practical aspects of siege warfare, such as artillery, medicine, food, and the psychological effects of besiegement. The book also provides practical information for visitors who wish to explore these Historical sites.

A fascinating read that will appeal to anyone interested in the volatile history of the country - armchair historians and travellers alike.

Detailed directions to each site

GPS co-ordinates for inaccessible locations


In her first book Field Guide to the Battlefields of South Africa,  Nicki presents 71 battles covering three wars and a series of conflicts that shaped the course of South Africa’s history – from the colonial clashes that characterized the 18th and 19th centuries to the 2nd Anglo-Boer War of 1899–1902.  It is the first on-the-ground practical guide to the battlefields.

Written by an expert and verified by two academic historians, informative and lively accounts of the engagements are provided, with special attention given to the context, action, outcomes and principal combatants involved. Arranged in provincial and regional order, the Field Guide to the Battlefields of South Africa includes an array of special features that allow for an enthralling and multilayered account of the battles:

Comprehensive, compelling and vividly illustrated, the Field Guide to the Battlefields of South Africa is an indispensable tool for professional and amateur military historians as well as anyone interested in exploring South Africa’s fascinating history.

To order a signed book please send Nicki an e’mail.

Field Guide to the Battlefields of South Africa
Field Guide to the Battlefields of South Africa


580 historical and modern photographs and illustrations

80 illustrated timelines

60 fact and feature boxes

16 customised, annotated battle maps

10 regional locator maps as well as unique battle maps.

Detailed directions to each site

GPS co-ordinates for inaccessible locations


Teresa and John Edmond and Nicki von der Heyde
Teresa and John Edmond and Nicki von der Heyde

Join John & Teresa Edmond and Nicki von der Heyde on a Battlefields Tour with great entertainment each evening by John Edmond singing battlefields songs and lively battlefield presentations each day by specialist battlefields guide Nicki. The next Battlefields Tour with John Edmond is scheduled for mid 2018.

For more details see our John Edmond Tour Page
To listen to John's music, visit his website


Tel: +27 33 7012285
Fax: +27 86 4350677

Mobile: +27 826534166 (Nicki)


P.O.Box 382
KZN, 3257
South Africa

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