Let legendary names like Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift roll off your tongue as you revel in some of the most fascinating historical battles of the world. Centrally situated in the infamous Anglo-Zulu battlefields of KwaZulu-Natal, Isibindi Zulu Lodge is ideally placed to not only access this remarkable history, but to live into the culture and setting in a unique local experience.
The Battle of Isandlwana site must be visited to be believed – it is one of the most intriguing examples of a stark, spectacular setting from which to re-live a battle where miscommunication, revenge and paranormal weather phenomena prevailed. As you stand on a rocky outcrop in the intense heat in an ochre-coloured African grassland, you become aware of white-painted rock piles commemorating the fallen soldiers of this battle. As your field of view pans out, you begin to notice that there are hundreds and hundreds of these stone piles. The realisation of the vast scope and enormity of this battle hits your chest. This particular story starts with the movement of a British scouting posse over a ridge to encounter Zulu boys herding cows. The incident quickly turned nasty, such that the Zulu army chooses to revenge the attack even on an auspicious day they deemed bad luck. The movement of the famous Zulu ‘horns’ to surround the confused British troops, divided through a series of unfortunately miscommunications is enthralling when explained in the hilly geographical context.
The story moves on to Rorkes drift, a perfectly preserved mission station where the British troops tried to regroup and defend against the devastating loss at Isandlwana. Here the stories of immense courage and cowardice will lead you to questioning your own mettle under such circumstances. Trace the movement of wounded soldiers dragging the injured and vulnerable with them, literally digging through rock walls in their desperation to escape. And stand at the spot where another officer hid under the body of a rotting cow to survive the onslaught of Zulu warriors for the duration of the night-long battle.
This is the stuff of historical legends and hearing these accounts, so recent in our own historical past, in the setting of the even more recently liberated South African country, will make you feel the most alive version of yourself.
The day usually starts off by heading straight to Isandlwana, from there you make your way to Rorkes drift where you will have a picnic lunch and continue on with this battle site. These are just two of the many battle sites in the area, and guides can be asked to explain about the other sites, or special trips can be arranged with prior notice.
Pre-booking for all Zulu Battlefield Tours is essential.