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KwaZulu Fam - The historical battlefield sites of KwaZulu-Natal

18th July 2017 - 3:30pm

A colonial memorial

A colonial memorial

We visited two famous battlefield sites in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift, and were accompanied by historian Barry Marshall, father of our guide Debbie, who expertly gave us a graphic and detailed account of some of the battles between British troops and Zulu warriors which took place in 1879 when the British invaded the Kingdom of Zululand.   Isandlwana, the most visited battlefield in the province, was the first battle of the six-month Anglo Zulu War and the worst defeat in Britain’s colonial history where about 25,000 barefoot warriors armed with spears, sticks and shields overcame less than 2,000 troops.   Today white-painted cairns and memorials mark the British graves.   Rorke’s Drift, called after an Irishman who emigrated to the region, is the site of a ferocious battle where 135 British and Colonial soldiers successfully held off some 4,000 Zulus for more than 12 hours.   We stayed one night in the uniquely placed Isandlwana Lodge situated almost on the actual battlefield with sweeping panoramic views of the rural Zululand plains- the same view the Zulu commander saw on that historic day in 1879.

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A colonial memorial
Battlefield historian Barry Marshall briefing the group at the Isandlwana Lodge
Battlefield historian Barry Marshall at a memorial to the Zulu dead
A colonial cemetery
Isandlwana Lodge
Rorke’s Drift battlefield and museum
A bronze memorial to the Zulu dead
James Rorke emigrated from Ireland
Declan Mescall (Features Editor Travelbiz) in the Rorke’s Drift museum

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