Planet Suffolk: Bringing together the Suffolks of the world

Suffolk Hill, Colesberg, Northern Cape, South Africa

Suffolk Hill is situated at 30° 44’ 00” S 25° 6’ 0” E, less than a mile to the north of Colesberg in the Northern Cape, South Africa.  It is approximately 480 miles from Cape Town & 390 miles from Johannesburg.

Population:-  Suffolk Hill itself is uninhabited. The 2011 census figure for the population of Colesberg was 16,869.

How to get there:-

By road: Colesberg is located on National Road N1, which runs from Cape Town in the southwest, to Johannesburg & Pretoria in the northeast.

From Port Elizabeth & the south take the N10 northbound, then the N9, before joining the N1.

Once in Colesberg, turn onto R369 for Suffolk Hill.
By rail: Nearest station is Colesberg.

The nearest airport is at Kimberley in the Northern Cape. Nearest international airports are OR Tambo-Johannesburg International & Cape Town International.

Time Zone:  South African Standard Time (GMT +2 hrs).  No daylight saving time in summer.


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History & Derivation of Name





History & Derivation of Name

Suffolk Hill is named after the Suffolk Regiment who fought a battle here during the Second Boer War.

The Second Boer War started in October 1899 & lasted until May 1902. It was fought between the British & the Dutch speaking Boers & ended with the region becoming part of the British Empire, which eventually led to the formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910.

The 1st Battalion Suffolk Regiment arrived at Cape Town in November 1899, before moving on to Colesberg. On 5th January 1900, the Boer positions around Colesberg had been repeatedly shelled by the British artillery. During the night of 5th/6th , four companies of the 1st Battalion marched up what was then known as Red or Grassy Hill, as it was believed that the capture of the hill would be the key to taking Colesberg. The Boers were entrenched at the top, however, & waited until the British were within a few yards of their positions before opening fire. Colonel Watson, who led the raid, together with three officers & twenty five men were killed, whilst one officer & twenty three men were injured. More than 100 officers & men were captured. The dead are buried in Colesberg Military Cemetery.

Subsequently, the hill was renamed Suffolk Hill by the Boers in recognition of the assault. (See also The Suffolk Regiment on the Suffolk Misc. page)

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Suffolk Hill is just north of the town of Colesberg. With a population of over 16,000, Colesberg is located in the local municipality of Umsobomvu, which is in turn part of the district municipality of Pixley ka Seme; the easternmost of the five district municipalities of the Northern Cape province. The landscape around the town is typical Karoo veld and is surrounded by koppies (little hills); the most famous of these being Coleskop, which can be seen from a distance of more than 25 miles. Sheep farming is the major industry of the region.

The town was founded in 1830 on the site of an abandoned London Missionary Society station, when the government granted land to the Dutch Reformed Church. It was named after Sir Galbraith Lowry Cole, who was Governor of the Cape Colony from 1828-33.  Colesberg became a municipality in 1840.

The area was the scene of many battles during the second Boer War, & the Colesberg Garden of Remembrance is situated just outside the town.

Colesberg still retains many of its original buildings, which are examples of early Karoo architecture. Attractions include the Colesberg-Kemper Museum, which features many exhibits from the town’s history. Close by is the Doornkloof Nature Reserve, where eland, brown hyaena, mountain reedbuck, steenbok, kudu, grey duiker, bat-eared fox, aardvark & aardwolf, can be found.

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