We decided to leave St Lucia early so we would reach our next destination Rorkes Drift Lodge by mid afternoon, but our planes were scuppered by a fallen tree across the road blocking our exit. We were expecting to be marooned for quite some time, because after all it is Africa where things get done at a far slower pace, but it wasn’t long before some guys arrived armed with chain saws and removed the tree. Our journey to Rorkes Drift was relatively easy, and took us through some stunning scenery.We then turned onto an unmade road and our journey got a little more bumpier, especially the last 5km which was positively off road stuff. When we arrived at Rorkes Drift Lodge it was everything that we had expected and more. Great location, stunning scenery.
When we booked the lodge we also booked a battlefield tour. I first saw the film Zulu when I was eight years old back in 1965 when I was taken by my aunt and the film and events have fascinated me since. The tour was a full day from 8am until 4:30pm and included a Picnic lunch. Paul who conducted the tour, who is also the owner of the lodge, along with his wife Christine are a really nice couple indeed. The tour started in the grounds in front of our lodge, where Paul told us a little about himself, and explained that our day would involve us more or less following the time line of the events on the 20th January 1879 leading up to the battle of Isandlwana & Rorkes Drift, and ultimately the defeat of the British army by the Zulu’s. It was fascinating right from the start. Paul was so informative and really knew his stuff, explaining the battle tactics of both sides and all the main events of the battle on that fateful day the 22nd Juanuary 1879. We viewed the battle field from high on a hill from where the Zulu commander conducted his battle. We then went to the battle field itself. Once there we walked around the various memorials to both sides. The whole area was littered with cairns, small piles of white stone marking where the dead are buried. The battlefield was not fully cleared of bodies for up to six months after the event. Approx 6000 soul’s lost their lives, both British & Zulu on the day and the battle of Isandlwana only lasted around one and a half hours, incredible. Now I am not an advocate of war in fact I am dead against it I’m just interested in this particular story, and I have to say that Paul told the story so well it was almost like you were there, and to walk around and to read the inscriptions on the memorials and to walk amongst the graves it almost reduced me to tears. We left Isandlwana and headed for Rorkes Drift where we had our picnic lunch. After which it was time to visit the museum which was the hospital during the battle and the mission that the British were defending. The site is still very well preserved and well worth the visit even if you are not military minded or an advocate of war. It’s just a truly remarkable story of courage and bravery on both sides and fascinating day indeed. Click this link for the story of Isandlwana & Rorkes Drift