rorkesdriftvc.com Forum Index


rorkesdriftvc.com
Discussions related to the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879
Reply to topic
A Visit to the Battlefields
The Scorer


Joined: 27 Nov 2006
Posts: 324
Location: Newport
Reply with quote
I have always wanted to visit Isandhlwana and Rorke's Drift but, for many reasons, have not been able to make the trip.

I'm still not sure whether it will be possible, but I'd like to ask some questions, please, in the hope that I may be able to do it some day soon!

1. I have details of a trip from the UK by Leger Holidays which includes the Anglo-Zulu War and the Anglo-Boer War. Would you recommend taking this type of trip?

2. If I don't take this trip, I'd be looking to travel to South Africa on my own and arrange travel from (say) Durban) to the Isandhlwana / Rorke's Drift area. I would then spend three or four days in the area looking at the main sites. I don't drive, so would need a local tour guide who could arrange both the tour and the transport - would you have any recommendations for accommodation and tours?

3. I don't know when this trip would take place, so when is the best time to go weatherwise?

4. Is there anything else that I should know about travelling to the area?

Thank you.

Smile
View user's profileSend private message
Sawubona


Joined: 09 Nov 2005
Posts: 1179
Reply with quote
Speaking from my own limited experience, I'd suggest from the get-go that you consider spending a bit more than three or for days "nibbling the grass " (as WS Churchill once wrote) in KwaZulu/Natal. It's a long flight to Durban from the UK (I'm thinking that Newport is in the UK?) and unless you're pretty resilient you'll need a day just to recover from the trip!

We spent a couple of days in Eshowe, which is pretty much on your route from Durban to Isandlwana anyway, and it was well worth it. And then I'd figure for another three days at RD/Isandlwana. I did two battlefield tours at each site, and regret that I had no time left to nose about more. Isandlwana in particular is a place at which you need to just sit down on a rock and meditate-- not a rock pile if it's whitewashed, however. I'd plan on a week at least.

Best time? January would be fitting, but I gather the South African weather is at its most miserable then--remember that the seasons are flipped that far South. It's probably safest to pick your favorite time of year (weatherwise) at home and then add 6 months.

The best travel tip I can give is that you're safest from the local two-legged predators (at least) when you look like you know what you're doing.-- even when you don't. Don't gawk like a tourist or consult maps in public. Don't flash "bling" like expensive watches, notebook computers, cell phones, and the like. Thankfully, I've never had occasion to need such things in my travels, but it seems prudent advice to leave your real wallet back at the hotel and carry a second wallet with a small amount of cash (no "real" cards and obviously not your passport). A cheap watch is a nice touch as well. If you get hassled, give them up without argument. Again, don't stand out of the crowd-- walk and talk with self-assurance and pay attention to any warnings from locals.
View user's profileSend private message
Robin


Joined: 16 Jan 2007
Posts: 135
Location: Nottingham Road KZN RSA
Reply with quote
I don't recommend Eshowe its to far from the major battlefields
My recommendation would be Dundee. Its the closest town to RD/Isandlwana and reasonably close to Spionkop/ Elandslaagte for an ABW tours. The best museum is Talana in Dundee..its on the 1st battlefield of the ABW.
The official website is www.zulu.org.za which will give you various options/tour guides etc
Jan/Feb can be extremely hot especially if you are going to walk
View user's profileSend private messageSend e-mail
The Scorer


Joined: 27 Nov 2006
Posts: 324
Location: Newport
Reply with quote
Thanks very much for your help, folks.

I'll have to have a good look at the web site, first and see what I can (and can't!) do.

Smile
View user's profileSend private message
Mark Hobson


Joined: 18 Sep 2005
Posts: 105
Location: Halifax
Reply with quote
Below is a quickish rundown of a tour myself and 3 friends did a few years ago. It was all privately organised by us, and was surprisingly cheaper than any by the major tour groups - around about 2000-2400 if memory serves me right. I've also listed the accomodation where we stayed.

DAY 1 - Flight to Durban
DAY 2 - Moths Museum, Old Fort, Old Court House Museum.
DAY 3 - Drove to Stanger, Museum/shop and Shaka memorial, Stanger Hospital Memorial, drove to Fort Pearson/Ultimatum Tree/Fort Tenedos, Gingindlovu battlefield, on to Eshowe.
DAY 4 - Nyezane battlefield, climbed Wombane Hill for overview of key locations, memorial/graves, drift where column crossed, memorial to Cetshwayo.
DAY 5 - Fort Nonquai (Eshowe), drove to KwaMondi, graves of Scott-Douglas and Cotter, drove to Ulundi, Ulundi battlefield, scene of Buller's skirmish on July 3rd, Cetshwayo's Kraal and KwaZulu Cultural Museum.
DAY 6 - Drove to Isandlwana, called at Fort Marshall and Mangeni Gorge enroute, climbed Milne's Hill, visited graves of Melvill/Coghill.
DAY 7 - Isandlwana, British firing line, Durnford's donga, Mostyn/Cavaye location on spur, climbed Isandlwana, located Shepstone's grave etc/
DAY 8 - Drove to Dundee, Talana Museum, Moths Museum, back to Isandlwana.
DAY 9 - Drove to Rorke's Drift, site and museum, British cemetery on Zulu bank, the Drift, caves on Oscarberg etc. Helpmekaar Fort, Fort Bengough, back to Isandlwana.
DAY 10 - Drove to Nqwebeni Valley, walked the route of Zulu Right Horn back to Isandlwana, walked Fugitives' Drift Trail
DAY 11 - Drove to Vryheid, visited Fort Newdigate and site of Prince Imperial ambush enroute, Blood River Battlefield.
DAY 12 - Drove to Khambula Battlefield, Moths Museum in Vryheid.
DAY 13 - Hlobane Battlefield, Campbell/Lloyd site, Devil's Pass etc
DAY 14 - Drove to Ntombe Battlefield, cemetery at Luneberg, Heinrich Filter grave, Balte Spruit. Drove to Newcastle, Mounted Rifles AZW memorial at Town Hall, The Armoury Moths Museum.
DAY 15 - Fort Amiel, detoured to site of "ZULU" film location, drove to Ladysmith, Siege Museum.
DAY 16 - Drove to Escourt, Fort Durnford, ABC Bookshop at Hilton, drove to Pietermaritzburg, Pietermaritzburg Museum and AZW memorials.
DAY 17 - Visited Durnford's grave, Pietermaritzburg Cricket Gound (Zulu Dawn), drove to Durban.
DAY 18 - Rest Day.
DAY 19 - Flight from Durban to J'Burg, SA Museum of Military History.
DAY 20 - Flight from J'Burg to Cape Town, sightseeing in Cape Town.
DAY 21 - Visited Capetown Castle (Cetshwayo), Maritime Museum, Table Mountain, Robben Island.
DAY 22 - Sightseeing in Capetown, Flight back to Heathrow.

Accomodation:
Holiday Inn Garden Court-Durban
George Hotel - Eshowe
Holiday Inn Garden Court - Ulundi
Isandlwana Lodge - Isandlwana
Villa Prince Imperial - Vryheid
Heritage House - Newcastle
Royal Hotel - Ladysmith
Imperial Hotel - Pietermaritzburg
Crowne Plaze, Sandton - J'Burg
Holiday Inn Waterfront - Cape Town

It is possible to privately organise a comprehensive trip far cheaper and for much longer than the official Tour Groups. Guides are essential for certain areas as well as car hire and so on, and all the precautions that are given above should be followed carefully. It takes a lot of planning but I'm sure would be worth it in the end.

Good luck and enjoy your trip!

Mark Hobson
View user's profileSend private message
The Scorer


Joined: 27 Nov 2006
Posts: 324
Location: Newport
Reply with quote
Thank you very much - that was certainly a comprehensive tour!

When (what period of the year) did you do this trip, please?

Smile
View user's profileSend private message
Mark Hobson


Joined: 18 Sep 2005
Posts: 105
Location: Halifax
Reply with quote
We normally go late Feb into early March, mostly to avoid the worst of the heat in Dec/Jan but also to avoid the main anniversaries in January. It can get busy then, especially around Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift, and the hotels sometimes put up their rates.

Some tour groups plan their trips for October, which is cooler and is also the "dry season".
View user's profileSend private message
The Scorer


Joined: 27 Nov 2006
Posts: 324
Location: Newport
Reply with quote
Thank you very much for your help.

Smile
View user's profileSend private message
rich


Joined: 01 May 2008
Posts: 897
Location: Long Island NY USA
Reply with quote
"If you get hassled,"...

Saw...if you don't mind can you give me an example? Would 2 tickets to a Yankee game help..in case?

_________________
Rich
View user's profileSend private message
A Visit to the Battlefields
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
All times are GMT  
Page 1 of 1  

  
  
 Reply to topic