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What to see in Battlefields

Battlefields Attractions

The Battlefields Route covers 14 historical towns, including Ladysmith and Dundee, numerous national monuments and informative museums, and over 50 battlefields in the surrounding countryside.

These are best explored on a self-drive adventure or as part of a tour. If visitors are confident drivers, self-driving is probably best as they can take their time and divert off the route to see lesser known attractions.

Zululand is a beautiful area and the scenic splendour of some of the battle sites, many of which now seem to be in the middle of nowhere, is poignant. Many of the battles that took place outside of towns and settlements are now marked only by graves among the long grass and rolling hills. At some sites there are museums and memorials, but at others, visitors will need to use some imagination to recreate past events.

Every town on the route has a story to tell or an event to commemorate said story. Tourism offices throughout the region provide maps and guides to assist visitors in making the most of the history, culture, scenery and wildlife.

Exploring this region is a must for military history buffs on holiday in South Africa, and even those not generally interested in such things can't fail to be moved by the stories of courage and brutality and by the lovely landscapes.

Blood River/Ncome Heritage Site

Following a long period of conflict and mistrust, including the treacherous murder of Piet Retief and his companions at the hands of the Zulu chief Dingaan, the Voortrekkers, led by Andries Pretorius,…

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Isandlwana Hill

The battle at Isandlwana Hill on 22 January 1879 stunned the British Empire in what was to be the worst defeat in their imperial history. The news that an entire battalion of British troops had been…

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Ladysmith Siege Museum

During the South African War, Ladysmith was besieged for 118 days between 2 November 1899 and 28 February 1900. Thousands died, either during battle or from disease and the lack of food and water.…

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Rorke's Drift

Fought on the same day as the nearby battle at Isandlwana Hill, the Battle of Rorke's Drift is remembered as one of the most famous sieges of the Anglo-Zulu War. Survivors from Isandlwana fled to the…

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