Follow in the footsteps of Lord Chelmsford's British and Native forces and those of the Zulu Nation as they fought each other in the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879.
Visit the battlefield sites associated with the battles, including: -
Isandlwana — The stunning Zulu victory at Isandlwana on 22nd January 1879 where King Cetshwayo's Zulu Army defeated Lord Chelmsford's British and Native forces.
Rorke's Drift — The site of the defence at Rorke's Drift during the 22nd and 23rd January 1879 that resulted in eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded for bravery.
Inyezane — The battle of Inyezane took place on 22nd January 1879 when a Zulu force tried to bar the way of Colonel Charles Pearson's No 1 Column as it made its way northwards into Zululand at the beginning of the Anglo-Zulu War. Colonel Pearson's column had crossed the Tugela River on 12th January 1879 and encamped on the far side. The advance had gone smoothly and on 21st January they had crossed the Inyezane River. The following day a large Zulu force attacked the British encampment.
Eshowe — Following the battle of Inyezane Colonel Pearson's column continued its advance up the coast to Eshowe where they established a fort enclosing the mission. On 2nd February the fort was besieged by the Zulus and it was not relieved until two months later, on 3rd April 1879, when Lord Chelmsford arrived at the head of a British and Native Column.
Intombe — The battle of Intombe was a small action fought on 12th March 1879 between Zulu forces and British soldiers defending a supply convoy. A force of 500+ Zulus surprised the British defending a supply column bound for Lüneberg. It was during this action that Sergeant Anthony Clarke Booth was awarded the Victoria Cross.
Hlobane — The battle of Hlobane took place near the town of Vryheid on 28th March 1879. Colonel Evelyn Wood's No 4 Column had advanced north-eastwards on 17th January 1879 and established a laager at Tinta's Kraal, 10 miles (16 km) south of a chain of flat-topped mountains on the 20th. Colonel Wood sent scouts out into the surrounding countryside whilst the laager was being set up and these encountered a large force of Zulus.
On 21st January 1879 Colonel Wood mounted an attack on Zunguin, the nearest of the flat-topped mountains, and the Zulus fled to Hlobane. An attack on Hlobane began on the 24th, but this was broken-off when Colonel Wood learnt of the disaster at Isandlwana. Nothing much happened throughout February, but on 13th March Uhamu, Cetshwayo's half-brother, entered the camp with some 700 of his people asking for assistance to bring in the rest who were hiding in caves near the headwaters of the Black Umfolozi. This was subsequently carried out successfully and a further 900 were brought in.
Shortly after this achievement, Colonel Wood received a request from Lord Chelmsford to create a distraction to draw off some of the Zulu strength while he attempted to relieve Eshowe. Knowing that a Zulu impi was preparing to leave Ulundi and attack either Kambula or another British fort at Utrecht, Colonel Wood decided to attack the Zulus at Hlobane in order to induce them to attack his well-prepared position at Kambula.
On 27th March 1879 a mounted force led by Lieutenant Colonel Redvers Henry Buller scaled the eastern track to the higher plateau. Another composed force, under Major Russell, occupied the lower plateau. At 06.00 hrs on the 28th they began herding the cattle westwards. Whilst this was happening the main Zulu impi arrived on the scene a day earlier than expected threatening to cut off Lieutenant Colonel Buller and his men. Unable to descend by the route by which they had come, Lieutenant Colonel Buller's men had to withdraw via the Devil's Pass. It was during this battle that Lieutenant Colonel Redvers Henry Buller, Lieutenant Henry Lysons, Private Edmund Fowler, Major William Knox Leet and Lieutenant Edward Browne were each awarded the Victoria Cross for their actions.
Kambula — The battle of Kambula took place on 29th March 1879 when a large Zulu impi attacked Colonel Evelyn Wood's camp at Kambula. Following the disaster at Hlobane on 28th, Colonel Evelyn Wood's forces had withdrawn to Kambula and prepared to receive an attack by the entire Zulu impi, which was around 20,000 strong. Soon after dawn on the 29th, the Transvaal Rangers rode out to locate the enemy. At 11.00 hrs they returned with the news that the impi was on the move and would attack Kambula by noon. This battle is considered to be the turning point of the Anglo-Zulu War.
Gingindlovu — The battle of Gingindlovu was fought on 2nd April 1879 between the Zulus besieging Eshowe and Lord Chelmsford's relief column. On the night of the 1st the relief column laagering on the south bank of the Inyezane River. At daybreak, the sun rose shrouded in a heavy mist. Lord Chelmsford could not move his wagons until the muddy and sodden ground had dried out. He decided to sent out the Natal Native Contingent in an effort to provoke the Zulus into an attack while he held a strong position. As the mist lifted, the left horn of the impi could be seen advancing eastwards over the river towards the British laager. A long burst of fire from one of the Gatling guns saw the Zulu warriors disappear into the long grass. When the left horn reappeared it had joined the rest of the impi; the left horn, chest and right horn were advancing towards the British in their classic horns of the buffalo formation.
Ulundi — The battle of Ulundi took place on 4th July 1879 and was the last major battle of the Anglo-Zulu War. It was here that the British broke the military power of the Zulu nation defeating the main Zulu army to capture and raze the capital of Zululand, the royal kraal of Ulundi, to the ground.
Join one of our expert guides on a tour to the battlefields of the Anglo-Zulu War, follow the battles and see how they developed.
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