Fort Wonderboompoort

Fort Wonderboompoort Image source

Completed on 4 September 1897 by the Krupps firm, Von Dewitz and Weiner, the fort cost £49 000 and had the same type of entrance as Fort Schanskop. Ramparts were built around the fort to improve defence. Intially, the forts were manned by the Rijdende Artillerie, and alter the Corps Vesting Artillerie, consisting of 100 men. The German forts were built for a garrison of 30 men, but were never fully manned. Fort Wonderboompoort was commanded by Lieutenant J. Wolmarans. The fort was supplied with electricity from a paraffin engine, and equipped with a lightning conductor. The fort was also had both an underground telegraph and running water pumped from the Apies River. Initially, 18 gunners with armaments were stationed at the Fort but by 5 June 1900 only one gunner remained and no cannons were left. Today, the fort is in ruins, and is now part of the Wonderboom Nature Reserve.  The reserve is in the North of the Magaliesberg Mountains in Pretoria. The two main attractions of the reserve is Fort Wonderboompoort and the Wonderboom Tree – a very unusual, very big fig tree discovered in 1836 by the Voortrekkers and considered sacred by local tribes. A picnic area and several hiking trails lead up to the fort.

The fort’s roof is destroyed and walls show signs of decay, but it is still kept in a neat condition by the Museums Division of the Municipality.
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Last updated : 18-Sep-2017

This article was produced for South African History Online on 14-Jul-2011