The road from Empangeni on the coast up into the hills is very beautiful. It winds through sugar cane fields that give way to orange groves and banana plantations as the landscape becomes increasingly hilly. These are the fertile hills of Zululand, traditional homeland of the Zulu people. The word Zulu means ‘heaven’ and Zululand, or KwaZulu is ‘the place of heaven’. Although famous battlefields bear witness to historic conflicts, this is peaceful farming country where people still enjoy a rich culture and live pretty much as they have always done.
Anglo Zulu War
More than a century after the events, 20,000 British people still visit the battlefields every year! This is about much more than a battle.
These events are imprinted on the psyche of both the British and the Zulu. These hills witnessed the first major military defeat inflicted upon the forces of the British Empire by colonised peoples - before the tables turned so that, for over a century, a proud warrior people was reduced to a nation of miners and garden boys.
A visit to the battlefields is one of the most fascinating things you can do in South Africa and, unless that is your thing, it has nothing to do with military history. It is about the relationships between the British crown and its subjects, and between white man and Zulu. It is about Zulu society, and about what happened when people of the Victorian age were tested to extremes.
The Battlefield Tours have evolved out of the unique historical re-telling developed by the late David Rattray at Fugitives Drift, his protégé Rob Gerrard, guide at Isandlwana Lodge, Rob Caskie and a small group of other inspired guides who lead tours out of these lodges. Nothing can prepare you for the impact of standing at Rorke’s Drift at sunset and listening to one of these great raconteur-historians re-tell the events of that heroic night, when a force of around a hundred British soldiers warded off an attack by 4000 Zulu warriors.
See these sample itineraries that include Battlefield Tours:
Contact us, if you'd like to talk one-to-one about holidays in KwaZulu Natal and South Africa in general.
Fugitives' Drift Guest House offers alternative accommodation on the Fugitives' Drift Reserve, just five minutes away from the Fugitives' Drift lodge. It has just six rooms, each with a private verandah, grouped around an old farmhouse and set in lovely gardens that help to create a very peaceful atmosphere. Guests staying here are encouraged to visit the lodge museum and can make use of the faci...
You feel steeped in history at Fugitives' Drift Lodge.The main building stands on 5000 acres, close to Rorke’s Drift, and is a museum of the Zulu Wars. It was founded by the late David Rattray, acknowledged as the leading expert on the Battlefields, and a consummate storyteller. His Battlefield tours, of Rorke’s Drift and Isandlwana, were immensely moving and quite unforgettable.To...
Isandlwana Lodge has a spectacular setting high up against Nyoni Rock, where the Zulu commander stood during the Battle of Isandlwana, a defining battle in the history of South Africa.You look straight across the battlefield where 1200 British soldiers met their end at the hands of the Zulu army. This luxurious lodge is built of stone, glass and thatch, and the decoration is a pleasing combination...
- Discover the immense Drakensburg
- search for big five in Hluhluwe
- Visit historic battlefields
- relax in luxury at Oysterbox hotel
- Mountain hikes in the Drakensberg
- Learn about the battlefields
- Boat Safaris and game drives in Mkuze
- Relaxation in Durban
Three Tree Hill Lodge overlooks Spioenkop battlefield, near Ladysmith. Its wood and iron construction is designed to resemble the housing kits brought out from Britain in the 19th century. Spioenkop is perhaps the most famous battle of the Anglo-Boer war; it was certainly the bloodiest. The British lost around 600 troops in a futile and misguided attempt to take this hill. The lodge is the prod...
- Hike and explore the magical Drakensburg
- Delve in the history of the Battlefields
- Cruise on the Pongola River
- Search for big game in Hluhluwe Game Reserve
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- We've been leading wildlife travel since our first South Africa tours over 25 years ago
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