We used the little town of Dundee as a base to explore the battlefields of South Africa. We received a warm welcome from our host at the BBI Backpackers and got details on how to get to the various battlefield sites.
Before heading off to the battlefields went checked out the Talana museum that is located right in the town of Dundee. The museum has several displays of glass work which used to be one of the main industries in the area along with coal mining.
There is a mock coal mine to go through, complete with sound effects. Some of the original farm houses are still on the museum grounds with some of the original furnishings from when they were occupied. There was a battle in Dundee as well on the slopes of Talana Hill which is explained in the museum alongside the displays of Native artifacts and war memorabilia.
The Battle Of Isandlwana
From Dundee we drove to a battlefield area called Isandlwana. It was where a battle took place between the Zulu tribe and the British in 1879. The British were based at a camp at the bottom of a hill. A couple of British soldiers came over the crest of a hill to spot about 2000 Zulu warriors. They thought this was the whole group of them. Little did they know that another 20,000 or so were crouched down hiding in the tall grass. The Zulus decided to attack while they had the advantage and totally wiped out the unsuspecting British in a quick defeat. The site was dotted with many groups of white stones piled on top of graves where the British soldiers fell. It was an eerie feeling to walk around the area where so many people lost their lives.
We didn’t get a chance to go to the other nearby battlefield of Rorke’s Drift where the Zulus did not have such a favorable outcome. The British killed many Zulus as they didn’t have a chance fighting with animal hide shields and spears against the guns and canons.
Battle Of Blood River
We then headed to yet another battlefield, this area is riddled with them. Apparently war/history buffs come from all over the world to see the numerous battlefields South Africa has to offer.
This one was called the Blood river site. It was between the Zulu and the Boers in 1838. This is one of the few places with two separate museums on its site. There are two accounts of what happened during this battle, the Zulu and the Boer version. Either way you look at it many Zulus lost their lives in this battle.