Wordtravels

Wordtravels

Zululand Battlefields

Blood River, South Africa © Renier Maritz
Blood River, South Africa © Renier Maritz

Zululand is the ancestral home of the Zulu people. It is the site of many bloody battles between the British, the Zulus and the Afrikaners during the 19th century, and is best explored as a self-drive adventure. That said, many tours are available from Durban. Almost every town in this part of northern KwaZulu-Natal has a story to tell or an event to commemorate. Tourism offices throughout the region provide maps and guides to help visitors make the most of the culture, history, scenery and wildlife. The landscape varies from plains and rolling hills, to river valleys and lush forests, and it once encompassed the legendary Shake Zulu's kingdom. He clashed with the British and Afrikaners in many epic battles. Eshowe is the Zulu nation's centre. King Shake was born close to the small town, and it was the site of a 10-week siege during the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879. Ladysmith and Dundee are other notable towns. The historic battles of Rourke's Drift, Blood River and Isandlwana took place near them.

Some of the battlefields include museums or memorials, while others are just open landscapes where visitors can stroll with guide books and engage their own imaginations.

Website: www.battlefields.kzn.org.za