The Battlefields

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Thanks to the perennial bank holiday showings of the film Zulu, most of us are vaguely aware of the Anglo-Zulu war of the late 19th century, the events of which took place largely in the western half of the modern-day province of KwaZulu-Natal. By a quirk of geography and history, many of the engagements and events of the Anglo-Boer wars of the same period also took place here. This might make it sound like somewhere only for the dedicated history buffs, but nothing could be further from the truth. The stories told here are so engaging in their heroism and desperation: whether it’s the resounding Zulu success of Isandlwana, where their army wiped out almost an entire British column, or the famous rearguard action at Rorke’s Drift where more Victoria Crosses were awarded to the same regiment in one engagement than before or since, or the bloody stalemate of Spionkop, a harrowing battle otherwise notable for the presence of Paul Kruger (then a Boer commando), Winston Churchill (then a journalist) and Ghandi (then a non-combatant stretcher bearer). What makes a visit to the Battlefields region so worthwhile is the absolutely phenomenal quality of the guides working at the lodges in the region. They will bring all these amazing stories to life and make you relive these brutal and tragic times in a way you are unlikely to have experienced before.

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