SPEND A WEEK AT ISANDLWANA AND RORKE'S DRIFT WITH ME IN NOVEMBER 2015
ACCOMPANIED TOUR 7-15th November 2015
This is a little bit of a digression for me. After leading the Holts' Battlefield Tours Anglo-Zulu War Tour for - what? Twelve years? - it seems that Holts are no more, at least for the time being. Some of their 2015 tours are being underwritten by Leger Travel, but the Anglo-Zulu one is not among them, and so won't be running this year, nor is it currently entirely clear whether Leger will be reviving the Holts schedule next year. So, in the meantime, Paul Marais and I - the men who brought you that Holts tour! - are dipping our toes in the water on our own account. We have designed a special tour which does not attempt a comprehensive look at all the sites connected with the war, but rather offers a rare chance to explore the defining iSandlwana and Rorke's Drift campaign in greater depth than most conventional tours allow; as such it would suit those with a particular interest in this aspect of the war, or those who have already been on a tour of the war as a whole and wish to consider the iSandlwana campaign in greater detail.
This tour will explore sites which are off the beaten track and currently visited by no other tour, and you will have the chance to walk over the ground with me.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS TOUR STARTS AND ENDS IN JOHANNESBURG: FLIGHTS ARE NOT INCLUDED. You will need to make your own travel arrangements, ideally arriving on the morning of 7th November 2015. We will meet you at the airport (Johannesburg International/O.R. Tambo); if any of you wish to arrive a day early and spend a night or two in a hotel locally to recover from your flight we can advise you on this. You will be returned to Johannesburg International Airport in time for evening flights on 15 November 2015.
Throughout the tour we will be staying at the luxury Isandlwana Lodge, with its stunning views of the battlefield. Because we are based at one hotel, this will give us some flexibility with regard to timings and itinerary. If you have any particular interests we will attempt to accommodate them; it might also be necessary to change the sequence of some of these visits in the event of wet weather as many can only be accessed by dirt roads.
Please note that walking some of the sites is an integral part of the tour, and this tour offers a rare opportunity to explore aspects of the campaign on foot - a general level of fitness is required; if however you do not wish to undertake the walks we will endeavour to take you to key points by vehicle, or you will be able to relax at leisure at the hotel.
This is a fully inclusive tour – all accommodation, air-conditioned transport, food, guiding and site entry fees are included, although bar bills will be at your own account.
Your local guide is Paul Marais who is a registered SA Tour Guide and has over twenty years’ experience managing Anglo-Zulu War tours for Holts and others. I will accompany the tour throughout and will fully explain the story and significance of the sites as we explore them.
The cost of the tour is UK £2360 per person sharing , single price is £2800. Please note we do have a maximum number of available places limited by the number of rooms at the Lodge.
We have already had considerable interest in this tour so please register your interest as soon as possible by emailing email@example.com
Day 1 (7th) - meet at Johannesburg airport, travel to Lodge, hopefully taking in something interesting along the way. Settle into Lodge - introductory talk on the veranda before dinner, discussing what we hope to achieve.
Day 2 (8th) – A general over-view of the iSandlwana campaign. We will drive out to a viewpoint overlooking the Ngwebeni valley, where the Zulu army bivouacked before the battle, then view the battlefield from the iNyoni escarpment, from the perspective of the Zulu commanders. From there we will visit to the battlefield interpretation centre and camp area. After lunch, we will walk across the British firing positions and down towards the Nyogane stream, ‘Durnford's donga’.
Day 3 (9th) – An exploration of the movements of the Zulu left horn, beginning on the iNyoni heights and descending onto the plain and towards the camp.
Day 4 (10th) – On this day we will follow in the footsteps of Durnford’s ill-fated rocket battery; beginning in the camp area we will walk out and explore the likely spots it came to grief.
Day 5 (11th) – Follow Lord Chelmsford’s footsteps, visiting the Mangeni Falls and the area in which his troops skirmished on 22nd January, and then go to the little-visited spot on the side of Magogo hill where his ADC, Lt. Milne, looked back at the camp at iSandlwana. This is a relaxed day, with some free time for those who might need some time to unwind at the Lodge, or for us to respond for any special requests to visit places not otherwise covered on the itinerary. .
Day 6 (12th) – Explore the movements of the Zulu right horn, starting at the mouth of the Ngwebeni valley and walking across to the outlying spurs occupied during the battle by Mostyn and Cavaye’s detachments. This is an opportunity to consider some of the more controversial aspects of the campaign regarding the initial contact between the two armies.
Day 7 (13th) – The road to iSandlwana; on this day we will drive down the British line of communication to Fort Bengough in Msinga, then follow the route by which Chelmsford’s column advanced to iSandlwana. We will visit Helpmekaar, and drive to the graves of Lts Melvill and Coghill for the story of Fugitives’ Drift. From there we will explore the territory of Chief Sihayo and the Batshe valley – the site of his homestead, and we will consider where the skirmish of 12 January took place.
Day 8 (14th) – A full day at Rorke's Drift. First we will hear the story of the battle, and there will then be a chance to visit the battlefield museum, the grave of James Rorke, and the monuments to the Zulu dead. We will walk up to the rocky terraces on Shiyane Hill, occupied by Zulu musket-men during the battle, and for those who wish we will walk to the top of the hill and consider the panoramic views of the Mzinyathi valley and distant views of iSandlwana. We will then visit Fort Melvill and, on the old Zulu bank, the site of Fort Northampton (occupied by British troops in 1884) and the nearby graves.
Day 9 (15th) - leave Lodge and return to Johannesburg in time for evening flights.