Battlefield Tours South Africa

KwaZulu-Natal Battlefield Tours

South Africa KwaZulu-Natal Private Battlefield Tours.

Voortrekker – Zulu Battles/First Anglo-Boer War/Anglo-Zulu War/Anglo-Boer War.

Private – professional as well as fully guided battlefield tours South Africa.

KwaZulu-Natal Battlefield sites – Ekala Battlefield Tours
South Africa Battlefield Tours – Anglo/Boer and Anglo/Zulu and Voortrekker/Zulu – KZN.

Military engagements that shaped the course of South African and as a result world history. Thus 70 years of major battles, in the scenic central to northern KwaZulu-Natal.

 

Consequently the region has largest concentration of battlefields in South Africa.

Our battlefield tours therefore have one historical drama unfolding after another.

 

While against a backdrop of the African veld. In addition picturesque hills and rock formations of the magnificent KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg mountains.

 

Battlefield Tours across this incredible part of South Africa.

KwaZulu-Natal Battlefield sites – Ekala Eco Tours

Thus the largest concentration of Battlefields in South Africa.

KwaZulu-Natal Rorke’s Drift Zulu memorial – Ekala battlefield Tours

Battlefield tours through areas of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. While drawing visitors from around the world.

Ekala Eco Tours covers the Battlefields tours with departure or alternatively return to Johannesburg.

Above all our tours are private only – even private/solo for 1.

Thus important heritage sites visited – dependent on duration of tours and route to be used:

  • Blood River – Zulu/Voortrekker.
  • Isandlwana – Anglo/Zulu.
  • Rorkes Drift – Anglo/Zulu.
  • Schuinshoogte – First Boer War.
  • Majuba – First Boer War.
  • Dundee, Talana – effectively the start of the Anglo/Boer War.
  • Willowgrange – Anglo/Boer War – Most southern point that the Boers under General Louis Botha reached.
  • Elandslaagte – one of the only clear-cut tactical victories by the British during the early stages of the Boer War. Last effective use of the traditional British cavalry charge.
  • Armoured train incident and the arrest site of Winston Churchill.
  • Siege of Ladysmith – including 4 significant battles and cemeteries – including Battle of Colenso and gun positions where Freddy Roberts (son of General Roberts) lost his life.
  • SpioenKop, Tugela Heights and Vaalkrans. Chieveley plus Clouston Field plus Ambleside Military Cemetery.
  • Battle of Platrand – only serious Boer attack on the British lines defending Ladysmith during the siege of Ladysmith.

Indeed, every town, battle site and historic building, in the KwaZulu-Natal region has an intriguing tale to tell. No South Africa visit should miss a tour through the KwaZulu-Natal Battlefields.

Accordingly the KwaZulu-Natal’s Battlefield tour is a journey of discovery.

KwaZulu-Natal Battlefields in the towns or surrounding areas of:

Colenso, Dannhauser, Dundee, Estcourt, Glencoe, Greytown, Ladysmith, Newcastle, Utrecht and Weenen.

Then additionally can cover Battlefields or items related to these in Gauteng (JohannesburgPretoria and surrounding areas) before departure to KwaZulu-Natal or on return.

Battlefield tours - Isandlwana battlefield memorial.
KwaZulu-Natal’s most important Battlefields
Long Tom Replica outside Ladysmith Siege Museum – Ekala battlefield Tours

Tailor-made private battlefield tour experiences – accordingly structured around your requirements and timing.

Zulu Wars

Gqokli Hill 1818 – Ndondakusuka 1856 – Tshaneni 1884

Voortrekker – Zulu Wars – 1836-1852

Dutch descendants left the Cape Colony, dissatisfied as a result of being subjected to British domination. Thus looking for political self-determination.

Thus the Voortrekker’s headed inland. However once across the Drakensberg Mountains, they encountered the Zulus with inevitable problems arising.

Saailaager Estcourt Area 12 February 1838 – Zulu massacre of groups on Voortrekker’s after execution of Piet Retief at the Zulu royal settlement near Ulundi.

Veglaer Estcourt Area 13 -15 February 1838 – Three day Zulu attack on Voortrekkers.

Bloukrans – Estcourt Area 16 to 17 February 1838.

Many Voortrekker families were subsequently annihilated during Zulu attack.

Rensburg Koppie – Estcourt Area 17 February 1838.

Young Martinus Oosthuysen courageously saved three Voortrekker families from Zulu attack.

Blood River battle – Dundee Area 16 December 1838.

460 Voortrekker’s defeated Zulu army of 15 000 in wagons set in laager. As a result of this the bloodbath remains known as ‘Battle of Blood River‘.

Anglo-Zulu War 1879

An ultimatum including a list of demands were handed to the Zulu king Cetshwayo on 11 December 1878. The King consequently failed to respond by the deadline – New Year’s Eve 1878.

As a result his silence was interpreted as defiance and the British declared war. Then British generals grossly underestimated the courageous Zulu’s, fighting ability. Indeed, the defeats and disasters that followed shook the British Empire to its core.

Nyezane

Eshowe Area 22 January 1879.  While British troops were moving up Natal north coast they came under attack by approximately 4000 Zulus as they crossed Nyezane River.

Isandlwana

Nquthu Area 22 January 1879 British forces consequently split by 15 000 Zulus.

 

As a result, after 2 hour battle, only 74 of the 1500 original British force survived. We visit this battlefield from 2 sites, from both the Zulu perspective and the British.

Fugitives Drift

22 January 1879 Survivors of Isandlwana had followed Fugitives’ Trail, then crossed the Buffalo River at Fugitives’ Drift. The Queen’s Colour was consequently lost at Fugitives Drift.

Rorkes Drift

Dundee Area – Swedish mission station. Used by the British as a magazine and field hospital.

 

22 – 23 January 1879. Within hours of the battle of Isandlwana, 100 British soldiers then held back 4 000 Zulus for 12 hours.

 

However the Zulu’s did finally retreat. And so leaving over 500 of their dead behind. Accordingly to only 17 British fatalities.

 

As a result 11 Victoria Crosses were awarded for this battle – most ever awarded for a single battle.

 

Our visit to the site is commonly with lunch overlooking the original spot where the drift crossing was.

Ntombe drift

Paulpietersburg Area 12 March 1879. British troops unsuccessfully tried to defend themselves against superior Zulu force, consequently losing 73 men. While Zulu casualties were negligible.

Hlobane

Vryheid Area 28 March 1879. Significant British defeat, while losing fifteen officers and 110 soldiers. Additionally a further 8 wounded.

 

A Victoria Cross was awarded at this battle to a significant figure of the Second Boer War that was consequently to follow in the next two decades. General Redvers Buller.

Khambula

Vryheid Area 29 March 1879 – Over 22 000 Zulu warriors attacked fortified British position.

 

4 hour battle ending with the Zulu’s being driven off and thus pursued on horseback till nightfall. Consequently this crushing defeat proved to be the turning point of the Anglo-Zulu War.

Gingindlovu

Eshowe Area 2 April 1879 – Zulu attack on relief column, while on way to relieve Eshowe. Zulu’s consequently repulsed and Eshowe relieved following day.

Scouting party

1 June, 1879 – Great-nephew of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, Prince Louis Napoleon was killed.

Exiled to England in 1870 had then requested permission from Queen Victoria’s to accompany the fresh British troops to South Africa.

Ulundi Battlefield

Ulundi/banks of Umfolozi River – 4 July 1879. Final battle of Anglo – Zulu War, consequently ending with the capture of Zulu King Cetshwayo.

British veterans of the Anglo-Zulu war however soon found themselves again at war.
Transvaal (First Anglo-Boer) War of Independence 1880 – 1881

Laing’s Nek – Volksrust/Newcastle – British forces first attempt – 28 January 1881, to thus invade the Transvaal, Boer territory – failed.

 

Schuinshoogte Ridge Volksrust/Newcastle – 8 February 1881 – British forces second attempt to then invade the Transvaal. However surrounded by Boers on top of Schuinshoogte.

Majuba – Volksrust/Newcastle Area – 27 February 1881. British forces driven off Majuba Mountain. Having sustained heavy casualties and thus forced to negotiate a peace treaty.

 

Armistice then signed at home of Eugene O’Neill on the foot of Majuba, with peace treaty signed in Newcastle.

 

The eye-catching battle formation of the British forces, scarlet uniform and white helmet consequently saw the tide turn against the British.

The Gold rush of 1886 in the Zuid- Afrikaanse Republiek (Transvaal) further undermined the Boer’s security with a massive influx of British into the area.

Then the inevitable occurred at 5 p.m. on 11 October 1899. Britain was however confident the war would be over by Christmas.

However, small bands of Boer volunteers from the Republics of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State were to prove they had been underestimated.

KwaZulu-Natal Rorke’s Drift Battlefield site – Ekala Eco Tours
Private, professional and reliable tailor made Battlefield tours.
Anglo-Boer 1899 -1902 – while today generally referred to as the South African War.
Consequently half a million British troops to an estimated 78 000 Boers.
KwaZulu-Natal – Battle of Talana memorial – Ekala Eco Tours

Talana – Dundee 20 October 1899. Thus the first battle of the Anglo Boer War. Boers invaded from 2 fronts, from the Orange Free State and the Transvaal.

Invading into North eastern Natal before clashing with the British troops at Talana hill. While British wore Khaki, painted Redcoats for the first time.

Elandslaagte – Glencoe/Ladysmith 21 October 1899. British victory freeing a rail corridor for Talana Hill. Survivors escape to Ladysmith.

A Johannesburg resident – Major Charles Herbert Mullins played a significant role in this British victory and received the Victoria Cross.

Nicholson’s Nek 30 October 1899. Humiliating defeat for the British with eight hundred soldiers being taken prisoner.

Siege of Ladysmith 2 November 1899 – 28 February 1900 – British regiments massing in Ladysmith, encircled by hills.

 

A strategic blunder by the British, Allowing a 118 days siege by the Boers, cutting off the area and harassing the British with impunity.

British officers were ordered to relieve the town at all costs.

Armored Train confrontation – Colenso Area 15 November 1899. Boers ambushed and derailed an armoured reconnaissance train. A number of British soldiers were killed and some captured, including Winston Churchill.

 

A Sandhurst trained soldier, Churchill was working as a newspaper correspondent for London Morning Post. He was able to escape from the Transvaal, returning to Natal to join the effort to relieve Ladysmith. In time to be part of the battle of Spioenkop.

Willowgrange – Estcourt Area 23 November 1899. Southernmost point reached by the Boers.

Start of the attempts to relieve Ladysmith:

Colenso 15 December 1899. British first attempt to cross Tugela River, failed with significant British losses. Battle of Colenso was the first military confrontation to be recorded on cine-film.

Platrand 6 January 1900

Spioenkop 24 January 1900. Bloodiest of the efforts to relieve Ladysmith. Pointless attempt by the British with 500 losses and the Boers relatively unscathed.

 

A volunteer stretcher bearer to the battle was lawyer, Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi.

 

War correspondent at Spioenkop – Winston Churchill.

Vaalkrans – Ladysmith/Winterton 5 February 1900. British regiments again failed to breach enemy lines.

Britain began what was to become the biggest offensive in the Southern Hemisphere until the Falklands War. With half a million troops, to an estimated 78 000 Boers.

Tugela Heights – Colenso Area – 21 -27 February 1900. Numerous hard-fought battles in the hills surrounding Ladysmith, leading to eventual relieving of Ladysmith by the British.

After the relief of Ladysmith

Helpmekaar 13 May 1900. British troops penetrating Boer defenses in Biggarsberg leading to the recapturing of Dundee.

Scheepersnek – Vryheid Area 20 May 1900.

Botha’s Pass Newcastle Area – 8 June 1900. Pass captured by British, opening route into Orange Free State. Within a few weeks, British were also able to break through into the Transvaal Boer Republic.

Blood River Poort – Vryheid Area 17 September 1901. British attempts failed to prevent the Boers breaking through from the Transvaal. This battle saw the Boers capture three field guns and killing 16 British officers and 273 enlisted men.

After the surrender of Pretoria:

Intermittent battles continued for eight and a half months between British and Boers, throughout many areas of South Africa, mainly in northern Natal, Cape Colony, Transvaal and the Orange Free State.

This came to an end on the 31st May 1902 with the signing of the Peace Treaty in Vereeniging.

Although battles came to an end, bitterness by the Boers was to remain for many decades, due mainly to concentration camps, set up by British for Boer and any other civilians that were caught up in the war.

During the three year war, some 12 000 Boer and British soldiers died in battle. However a staggering 42 000 people died in these British concentration camps.

British financial losses for the three year Anglo Boer War were a staggering 200 million pounds.

Personal Note: The Boer War is today generally referred to as the South African War.

This is not a term I use on this page or my Battlefield tours. It is an incorrect term and misleading.

The first time the term “South Africa” could be used was at unification to become the Union of South Africa in 1910. Thus as the war took place 10 years previously, can not correctly be the South African War.

Thus all my reference – Second Anglo/Boer War.

KwaZulu-Natal Battlefield sites – Ekala Eco Tours
Battlefield tours – Anglo Boer – Anglo Zulu – Voortrekker Zulu Battles
  • Blood River
  • Isandlwana
  • Rorkes drift
  • Dundee
  • Talana – Ladysmith
  • SpioenKop
  • Elandslaagte
  • Tugela heights
  • Colenso
  • Majuba
  • Schuinshoogte
Isandlwana mountain and graves – Ekala Eco Tours
Battlefield routes then elsewhere in South Africa

Gauteng – Province that Johannesburg and Pretoria are part of, then have many important sites related to the first and second Boer War (Anglo Boer War).

 

Johannesburg:

With its gold mines, Johannesburg was the cause of the Boer War. Yet suffered little military action.

 

Home to the then reform committee, those involved in the failed Jamerson raid against Paul Kruger’s government. The Jameson raid laid a significant part of the foundations for the Boer War.

 

The Johannesburg fort – one of 5 built by Paul Kruger just before the Boer War. Today part of Constitution Hill.

 

Braamfontein Cemetery – resting place, apart from most of Johannesburg’s forefathers, additionally Boers and British who died towards the end of the war. Including British soldiers who died of disease.

 

Sunnyside (today a hotel) became Lord Milner’s house in Parktown, Johannesburg. As Britain’s High Commissioner.

 

Turffontein Boer War Concentration Camp: Site today is the Turffontein race track – horse racing.

Boer graves were some distance from the camp and were moved in the 1970’s to make way for a residential area.

 

South African National Museum of Military History: Located in Johannesburg, covering all of the wars/battles listed:

  • Zulu Wars
  • First Anglo Boer War
  • 2nd Boer War – now generally referred to as the South African war.
  • Anglo-Zulu War

 

South of Johannesburg – The Witkop Blockhouse: Erected and used by the British during the Boer War, at the time of the scorched earth policy.

 

Further south of Johannesburg: Boer War Concentration Camps: Heidelberg and Vereeniging.

Pretoria: Boer capital and the objective of the British army.

Including two forts (Schanskop and Klapperkop). German built forts, targeted by Lord Roberts in 1900 and Schurveberg (Proclamation hill today) that saw the proclamation of Pretoria being declared an “Open City”.

 

Both forts are visited on our Battlefield tour – Fort Schanskop and Fort Klapperkop.

 

West Fort/Fort Daspoortrand – Unlike the other forts, this fort built by the French firm of Le Creusot – Long Tom Cannon fame. Largest of the 4 Pretoria forts.

 

In all cases, the Creusot – Long Tom Cannons had been removed from the forts at the start of the Boer War. Three were sent to Ladysmith and the fourth to Kimberly.

 

Irene Concentration Camp: No museum on the site, all that remains are the graves of over 1200 Boer woman, elderly and children. The largely forgotten consequence of the Boer War.

Melrose House – Victorian house where in 1902 the peace treaty to end the Boer war was signed. Additionally in the house today is the actual table the treaty was signed on.

 

Also the residence of Lord Kitchener, British commander-in-chief at the end of the Boer War.

 

Voortrekker Monument – accordingly important to the overall understanding of Boer/Afrikaner culture.

 

Additionally is a vital point in the understanding of the Battle of Blood River. Then also one of the cannons used in this battle are on display – the original.

 

Burghers Park: Named after former Boer President Thomas Burghers.

East of Pretoria:

Diamond Hill Battlefield or referred to as the battle of Donkerhoek.

 

Battle taking place east of Pretoria after General Lord Roberts had met no resistance when they entered Pretoria.

 

Krugersdorp:

Important to both first and second Boer Wars.

First Boer War: Men gathered in the area of Paardekraal at the onset of the first boer war. Led by Paul Kruger, Piet Joubert and Marthinus Pretorius.

 

Part of Paardekraal later became the city of Krugersdorp, named after President Paul Kruger.

 

Second Boer War: The Jameson Raid laid the foundations for the war. The raid ended with their capture just outside Krugersdorp.

 

Magaliesburg:

Two significant battles towards the end of the Boer War.

Battle of Bronkhorstspruit (1880) and then the battle of Nooitgedacht (1901) with Boer generals Koos de la Rey and Christiaan Beyers.

Danie Theron Monument/Memorial: Gatsrand. Built on the site where Danie Theron, a Boer hero was killed during Anglo-Boer War.

Ladysmith Siege Museum – Ekala Battlefield Tours
KwaZulu-Natal Blood River memorial – Ekala Eco Tours
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Boer war Battlefield grave – Ekala Eco Tours

Appreciation of South Africa’s multifaceted heritage.

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Ekala Family & Guides

Best ability to contact Ekala for a battlefield tour:
info@ekalatours.com

Indeed – we will respond within 24 hours to any battlefield tour enquiry. In most cases less. However does depend on time differences.

Then cell phone can create some problems. Additionally due to time differences or that we may all be on tour and thus unable to answer your call at that time. Thus email works perfectly.

Additionally difficult to deal with battlefield tour specifics on a cell phone.

KwaZulu-Natal Blood River Battlefield site – Ekala Battlefield Tours
Ekala family & battlefield tour guides

We pride ourselves on our extensive knowledge of South Africa’s battlefield history.

Thus we focus were our experience and expertise lies – in South Africa only.

Highly Experienced Guides

Accordingly with our vast experience and expertise, we will bring the battlefield tours to life.

Additionally sharing our love and knowledge of South Africa.

Consequently you leave full of the best memories.

Private

Ekala will thus personalise your battlefield tour package according to individual requirements/interests as well as available time .

Then our personal touch

Furthermore Ekala personally conducts and organises all our battlefield tours.

As highly experience and professional guides.

Consequently you get an enhanced understanding of South Africa’s past.

As a result the best South African Experience
KwaZulu-Natal Blood River battlefield memorial – Ekala Tours

Battlefield tour prices:

No prices on our website as a result of the unique, individual and specialised requirements for each tour we supply.

Indeed, Ekala structures our battlefield tours around your individual requirements.

Thus if time is limited:

We accordingly structure the tour from arrival to departure – including airport collection and drop off.

Thus using all time available as a fully guided professional tour.

In contrast, not simply a point to point mixed group drive around.

As a result, battlefield tour quote based on your specific requirements.

KwaZulu-Natal Rorke’s Drift Zulu Grave – Ekala Eco Tours

A KwaZulu-Natal Battlefield tour to remember for the right reason

Gariep Dam Boer War Concentration camp memorial

South Africa is a country known for great hospitality, colourful people and fantastic food.

Let Ekala Eco Tours provide the gateway to your discovery of South Africa.

Specifically the Battlefields of KwaZulu-Natal

Come with us and experience the rhythm of South Africa and its breathtaking beauty and unforgettable hospitality of your host – Ekala.

Boer War Concentration camp memorial

Superior photographic opportunities, then paired with highly experienced professional guides.

Thus providing a unique battlefield experience.

KwaZulu-Natal Blood River Battlefield - wagon – Ekala Eco Tours

Ekala’s guides are well spoken thus providing interesting detail and clarity while on a battlefield tour.

Accordingly, active engagement between guide and guest is encouraged.

KwaZulu-Natal - Zulu Chief – Ekala Eco Tours

Heritage sites and historical buildings actually hold the memories and unique stories of days gone by.

KwaZulu-Natal Rorke’s Drift Battlefield site – Ekala Eco Tours

Visiting actual battlefields and historical sites steeped in significant heritage.

KwaZulu-Natal – Battle of Talana - hill and grave site – Ekala Eco Tours
Ekala family & tour guides

We pride ourselves on our extensive knowledge of South Africa’s battlefield history.

Thus we focus were our experience and expertise lies – in South Africa only.

Highly Experienced Guides

With our vast experience and expertise, we will bring the battlefield tours to life.

Including sharing our love and knowledge of South Africa.

Thus ensuring you leave full of the best memories.

Private

Ekala will accordingly personalise your battlefield tour package to your individual requirements/interests as well as available time .

Personal touch

Furthermore Ekala personally conducts and organises all our tours.

As highly experience and professional guides.

Best South African Experience

Consequently you get an enhanced understanding of South Africa’s wildlife, history and diverse cultures.

Ekala’s battlefield tours can above all be adapted to the client’s individual needs.

Thus we accommodate specific and personal requirements.

 Responsible and ethical tourism/consumerism.