The Voortrekker’s Wagon

When the Voortrekker’s (pilgrims) left the Cape in the 1830s for The Great Trek (journey), their mode of transport was the large wagon which was pulled by oxen.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
A display of the Voortrekker wagon. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

These wagons became the homes of the men and women who were looking for land on which to settle.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
The cooking pot. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The oxen were driven by the men over land that had never felt the rumbling of large wooden wheels.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
A Voortrekker man. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The wagon was large and had plenty of space inside.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
The wagon used by the Voortrekkers. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The women and children would ride in the back of the wagon that also carried their supplies and belongings.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
A Voortrekker woman and child. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

My family and I had the opportunity to look at these wagons when we visited the Voortrekker Monument. It was interesting to see these lifelike displays of a moment in South African history.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
The Voortrekker Wagon. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

These men and women travelled great distances using this mode of transport. It was not always easy: wheels broke as they traversed rocky land, and difficulties occurred as they crossed rivers and climbed mountains. Today, motorists can cross the same distance in cars using smooth highways and roads that have been carved into the landscape.

Would you have ventures out in these wagons?

(This post was inspired by Jake’s prompt: Transport)

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Other posts I have written on the Voortrekker Monument:

The Voortrekker Monument

A Unique Monument

Looking from above

26 thoughts on “The Voortrekker’s Wagon

  1. I always thought I’d make a good gypsy, Colline, so I might have quite liked these covered wagons. A few mod cons would be nice though 🙂 Great choice for Jake’s.


  2. Although this would have been difficult, one advantage they had was the wagon used as both a travel vehicle and a home to sleep in. Just like travelling around the country in an RV as your home. Well, not exactly. 🙂 I imagine the wagon would be much more difficult, especially without garage service to help fix it up when a wheel broke!

    Back then, the world belonged to everyone and no one, didn’t it? Today, I try to imagine a wagon that the homeless could live in, but then where would they park it? This would be the problem.


    1. Back then the only people who prevented them from travelling where they wanted were the tribes people they came across. Not like today where you need permission to move from one country to the next.


      1. There is a law-based group who addresses the concerns of those who need permission to cross borders: No One Is Illegal. I do feel equivocal about this topic. Although I struggle with the possible outcomes of allowing anyone and everyone to cross your borders, I do find their concepts and ideas thought-provoking.


    1. They must have felt that where they believed they were going was better than what they had come from. If they hadn’t moved over uncharted land, life may have been a little different for people after them, I think.


  3. I went in a Conestoga wagon with the kids in the USA which seems similar. I was shocked by how small it really is and they had all their belongings in there! Would I do it? Probably not, but I think people were hardier and less cosseted in those times than now.


  4. A fantastic informative post Colline, researching the Boer war which Australia was involved in, these wagons were a part of life for the Boers.
    A beautiful piece of history preserved.


    1. So true Ian. I enjoy looking at pieces of history that have been preserved in museums. It can be so interesting – and helps one understand a little the hardships they experienced.


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