Penny Farthing - Battlefield Tours

(Member of Battlefields Route KZN)

Tour the famous Battlefields with Foy Vermaak who was born and grew up in this once turbulent area and has accumulated a comprehensive knowledge of the history over a period of 50 years.

"He is soft spoken and delivers his message in
a style that grips even the lesser intersted listener
to make the Battlefields come alive."

Foy gained his knowledge from his family who were amongst the first settlers in the area and were directly involved in the Voortrekker/Zulu and the Anglo Boer Wars and has read extensively.

Foy's late wife Marinella, a descendant from the early British settlers and directly from Dugald McPhail who was a founder of the town of Dundee, a survivor from the Battle of Isandhlwana and on the British side in the Anglo Boer War.    Marinella founded the Penny Farthing Country House from where the tours are conducted and was in her own right well read and knowledgeable of South African history.  

YOUR GUIDE - Foy Vermaak
Registration No. KZN 495
(An Afrikaans, English and Zulu Linguist)

Foy-pic.jpg (20784 bytes)

Foy was born in 1938 to Afrikaans speaking parents.    His ancestors arrived in the Cape between 1688 and 1709, mainly from Holland.    The family gradually moved inland to the Eastern Cape and in 1834 Cornelius Vermaak was part of a landseeking expedition to Natal and in 1836 they joined the Piet Uys trek to Natal arriving early 1838. 

They fought in the Zulu battles at Italeni and Blood River and against the British at Port Natal and the Anglo Boer War.  In 1838, before the battles he selected a farm and settled on it in 1847.  The lodge is situated on this 7000 acre property. 

From his mothers side, Foy is descended from Karel Landman who was second in command at the Battle of Blood River.  His great grandmother unveiled the granite wagon memorial in 1947, then being the oldest grandchild of Landman.

He matriculated in 1955 in Dundee - The Heart of the Battlefields - and had as one of his class teachers and musketry coach, George Chadwick, historian and member of the Monuments Council with whom he had a good relationship.    As a boarder he spent many a Sunday with two great uncles who retired in Dundee and were passionate about the Anglo Boer War in which they served for three years.  

In the late 50's and early 60's he was exposed to George Bunting who was a master story teller and expert of the Anglo Zulu Wars and lived on the farm Fugitives Drift.