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503 | Mkupe Pass on the N11. British signalling post built during the war. On east side of N11 overlooking the Mkupe Pass between Newcastle and Ladysmith. Original known as Fort One Tree Hill it eventually became known as Fort Mistake but no one really knows why though numerous stories abound. Mkupe Pass is the scene of the last battle of the The Transvaal War of Independence when a group of Free State Burghers unsuccessfully attacked the British garrison here shortly after the Battle of Majuba. To visit the fort one must leave your car at the old filling station on the N11 and hike up hill.

7 Reviews

  • Sir,i live in Ladysmith Kwa Zulu Natal,i would like to find out,who doing maintenance on these old Fords and graves,,my cel no 0818002118

      For anyone for whom this may be of interest.

      My father, Andrew D. Swart, together with his wife and his family built and opened the first motel on the Durban/Johannesburg main road in 1953.
      (three other Andrews Motels followed in later years with a fourth on the Van Reenens Pass)

      The motel at Fort Mistake was highly successful for many years and became the most sought after overnight stop for people travelling from Johannesburg to Durban. .

      The original motel was built within a mile of the historic Fort Mistake structure that was up on the top of a small hill. We operated a government postal office agency for the area that was located in the motel office for many years. The official mailing address was P.O. Fort Mistake, Natal.
      Any historical feedback from anyone who was familiar with this area would be welcome.

      We were given to understand at the time that the fort had been built on the wrong hill, hence being called Fort Mistake.

      My wife and I with our family have been living in the United States for 40 years.

      • Hi Andrew
        I work at a travel magazine in SA and would like to do a short article about Fort MIstake mentioning the motel and would like more info. Please send me an e-mail to suzaanhall at gmail dot com so that I can get in touch?

      • We stayed there once or twice on the way from Bulawayo to Uvongo on the South Coast. This was in the mid to late 60s. I was a child at the time. I remember a small dam on the property that had some type of waterfowl. I think we walked up to see the fort.

  • Hello Andrew
    My name is Allison and I thought you might like to know that my Grandmother used to manage the motel back in the day. And now for the amazing part: She is turning 100 years old in April and we are celebrating this momentous occasion at the motel/lodge.
    Kind regards

  • Hi Andrew, on am currently driving past Fort Mistake and found this website about it. My father used to drive us from Jhb to Ramsgate on the Natal South Coast for holidays during the 1950’s. He always pointed out Fort Mistake to us and we would stop overnight at one of the Andrew’s Motels, near Estcourt, I think. One had a lovely dam on the North West slope. Where are the exact positions of the other 3 Andrew’s motels? Maybe they were closer to Fort Mistake than I thought as I was under 10 years old at that time. You can email me at
    Wendy Greene

  • I bought the glass coke 300ml for 3 rand. I swiped my card and the store lady by forth mistake started laughing at me. It was bizarre and weird. STopping at that forth was a mistake. Its been 3 years since that day. its 2022 now.

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