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KwaZulu Natal holidays - close up of  a vulture and jackal in the Drakensberg Mountains

Privately Guided Tour of Zulu & Boer Battlefields


SPD10D
10 NIGHTS
FROM £2,895
International flights quoted separately
Explore the South African Battlefields of the Zulu and Boer Wars, travelling with your own expert guide. Experience Rorkes Drift & Isandlwana, as well as Spioenkop and other historical sites around Ladysmith & Colenso. Complete your holiday relaxing in the Drakensberg Mountains. English speaking battlefields guide & all transfers included. Optional safari extension.
South Africa Zulu Battlefields Rorkes Drift Isandlwana Spioenkop Tour
• 
Durban North Coast
• 
Fort Nongqayi
• 
Valley of the Kings
• 
Blood River
• 
Isandlwana
• 
Rorkes Drift
• 
Ladysmith
• 
Colenso
• 
Spioenkop
• 
Drakensberg
• 
Durban North Coast
• 
Fort Nongqayi
• 
Valley of the Kings
• 
Blood River
• 
Isandlwana
• 
Rorkes Drift
• 
Ladysmith
• 
Colenso
• 
Spioenkop
• 
Drakensberg
Day 1
You will be met at Durban Airport and transferred to the warm North Coast, renowned for its wonderful beaches and excellent holiday weather.
  
Check into your hotel and relax on the shores of the warm Indian Ocean.
Day 2
After a background briefing, your guide will share with you the beauty of rural Zululand and brief you on its history, as you drive 5-hours to the remote battlefields at Isandlwana.
  
Our first stop is at the old white Fort Nongqayi near Eshowe, built by the British in 1883 to garrison a Zulu peace keeping force. Here there is an interesting museum.
 
We continue to the Zulu heartland of eMakhosini near Ulundi - the Valley of the Kings that was the birth place of King Shaka. The graves and royal capitals of seven Zulu Kings lie in this valley.
 
Afterwards we drive to our Zulu Battlefields lodge, following the Zulu army's line of advance to Isandlwana. Check in and enjoy dinner, whilst absorbing some of the fascinating history of this great conflict between Britain and the proud Zulu Kingdom.
Day 3
Today we travel to the battlefield at Blood River where the Voortrekkers won a defining battle against the Zulus as they fought for the right to establish a homeland south of the Thukela River. The loss of life here was so great that the river ran red with blood.
 
We leave Blood River for the banks of the Itshotshozi River, where the Napoleonic dynasty came to an end when the Price Imperial, Louis Napoleon, was killed by the Zulus on 1 June 1879.
 
After lunch we visit the Mangeni Gorge to follow in the footsteps of Lord Chelmsford on the day of the Battle of Isandlwana, and learn more about the poor military decisions made on that fateful day.
Day 4
Today enjoy a full day exploring the poignant Zulu Battlefields.
 
After an updated briefing, your guide will recount the events leading up to the fateful battle of Isandlwana, where in 1879 the mighty British army suffered one of the most humiliating defeats in its history following the controversial invasion of Zululand. See for yourself the events portrayed so passionately in the film Zulu Dawn, as the regiment was wiped out almost to a man by 20,000 Zulu warriors.
 
After returning to your lodge for lunch, we visit the famous mission station at Rorkes Drift where later that day a handful of British soldiers (outnumbered 30-to-1) fought off over 4,000 Zulu warriors for almost 12 hours. This battle - unforgettably brought to life by Michael Caine in the film Zulu -  saw 11 Victoria Crosses awarded, which is more than in any other engagement in the history of the British Empire.
 
We continue to Fugitives Drift where two young officers attempted to carry the Queen's colour to safety, before returning to our lodge.
 
Recommended Reading:
The Day of the Dead Moon - David Rattray
Brave Men’s Blood – Ian Knight
Day 5
Today we travel 4-hours from Zululand to the South African War Battlefields in the beautiful Natal Midlands. The Anglo Boer War of 1899 started shortly after the conquest of Zululand, as the British Empire turned its attentions to the lucrative Transvaal goldfields.
 
We follow the boer line of advance, stopping at the Talana Hill battlefield and museum, where the first battle of the South African War took place and where khaki was worn for the first time. We continue via Elandslaagte to Ladysmith, which was besieged for 118 days by the boers. Here we can visit the small Siege Museum. On Christmas Day 1899, the boers fired a carrier shell without a fuse into the town containing a Christmas pudding, two Union Flags and the message "Compliments of the Season". This shell is still kept in the museum.
 
We continue to our lodge near Spioenkop, with distant views of the dramatic Drakensberg Mountains.
  
Recommended Reading:
Boer War – Thomas Pakenham
Day 6
We begin the day by calling at Frere, site of the British camp and the Churchill capture site. We continue to follow the fortunes of the Boer raiding party as far as Willow Grange where the final offensive battle of war, from the Boers’ perspective, was fought.
 
After a short visit to Fort Durnford, we visit Colenso where the third and final battle was fought during the 'Black Week' of December 1899.  Inadequate preparation and reconnaissance, and uninspired leadership, led to a heavy and humiliating British defeat.
 
Time permitting, we also visit Caesar’s Camp and Wagon Hill battlefield to view the Boer monument. A fierce battle was fought here as the Boers attempted to overrun Ladysmith.
Day 7
This morning your guide will take you on a tour to the Spioenkop Battlefield, where one of the bloodiest battles of the South African War (Anglo Boer War) of 1900 took place in efforts to relieve Ladysmith, which was besieged for 118 days. Visit the mass graves atop Spioenkop Hill and see for yourself how poor military decisions affected the outcome of this battle.
 
Incredibly three future world leaders were in the area at the time this battle took place - Winston Churchill as a young newspaper correspondent, the future Mahatma Gandhi as a stretcher bearer, and Louis Botha as the Boer general who would go on to become the first Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa.
Day 8
Today transfer 1.5-hours to the spectacular uKhahlamba Drakensberg Mountains, recognised as a World Heritage site for its vast collection of San Bushmen rock art paintings.
    
Known locally as the Barrier of Spears the dramatic Drakensberg Mountains form the backbone of Southern Africa, running all the way down from the Great Rift Valley. If staying in the Central Drakensberg, we suggest visiting Didima Bushman Rock Art interpretative centre, before being dropped off at your mountain resort in this area of unspoilt natural beauty.
Days 9 To 10
At leisure to relax in the Drakensberg Mountains and enjoy the facilities of your resort, with superlative scenery and fresh mountain air making it ideal for walking holidays at any level of fitness. Your hotel will organise guided walks each day – typically one short walk and one long walk, or a walk to a Bushman painting.
  
The mountains also offer an outstanding location for bird watching – particularly raptors, but also sunbirds, waxbills and the numerous other species found in the grasslands, riverine scrub and natural forests.
  
Your hotel has a swimming pool and offers many activities in or near the resort including golf, horse riding in the mountains, fly fishing for trout, tennis, lawn bowls, badminton, mountain biking, table tennis, darts and pool.
Day 11
Transfer 3-hours through the beautiful Natal Midlands to Durban Airport for your flight home.
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