Battlefields Travel Guide
Blood River Monument, Kwa-Zulu Natal © SATOUR
Zululand, ancestral home of the Zulu people and site of many a bloody battle between the British, the Boers and the Zulus during the 19th century, abounds in significant towns, memorials and battle sites that form part of the historic Battlefields Route. This land once encompassed the Zulu kingdom led by legendary Shaka Zulu, and then by his half-brother Dingaan, who clashed with both the English and Afrikaaner settlers in what are today recorded as some of the most important battles in South African history.
Over a period of about 70 years, the plains, rolling hills and river valleys saw numerous brutal, blood-soaked conflicts over land ownership, political independence and the desire for colonial domination. The first major battle, and one of the most terrible, took place in 1838 between the Voortrekkers and the Zulus in what became known as the Battle of Blood River. Then followed the Anglo-Zulu War in 1879 in response to British dissatisfaction regarding the increasing strength of the Zulus, and the battles that took place at Isandlwana Hill and Rorke's Drift are remarkable for their tales of heroism and brutality. In 1880 and again in 1889, anti-British sentiment among the disgruntled Voortrekkers, as well as a desire for Afrikaaner independence, led to the two Anglo-Boer wars that captured the attention of the world and resulted in heavy loss of life among both the Boers and the British. The devastating siege of Ladysmith and the Battle of Spioenkop are among the most famous battles that took place during the second Anglo-Boer War from 1889 to 1902.
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, which are best explored as a self-drive adventure or as part of a tour. Every town on the route has a story to tell or an event to commemorate and tourism offices throughout the region provide maps and guides to assist visitors in making the most of the history, culture, scenery and wildlife.
Become our Battlefields Travel Expert
We are looking for contributors for our Battlefields travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Battlefields or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.
Africa Miracles specialises in tailor-made holidays to South Africa. Travel to the website and find information on South Africa and suggested itineraries.
iExplore designs made-to-order, privately-guided adventure safaris to South Africa and 200 other world wonders. Come Back Different!
Intrepid Travel, one of the world's leading suppliers of small group adventures focused on getting off the beaten track, interacting with the locals and having real life experiences throughout South Africa.