Walking


Rorkes Drift defenders -4 more Grave visited

On our recent trip to Brecon we managed to visit  more Rorkes Drift defenders graves ,the 1st was Edmund (Edward )Savage who passed away in 1893 and is  buried at St Cathays Cardiff ,the second James Hagan who died in 1916 and is buried at Glyntaff in Pontyprid.The last was Gunner Abraham Evans who passed in 1915 he is buried at Varteg Chapel near pontypool ,this was our second attempt to find Abraham our first visit the entire site was waist deep in nettles this time most of the area had been cleared. Three more of the lesser known heroes of that heroic fight.

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Rorkes Drift defenders -3 more Graves visited

On our recent trip to Brecon we managed to visit  more Rorkes Drift defenders graves ,the 1st was Edmund (Edward )Savage who passed away in 1893 and is  buried at St Cathays Cardiff ,the second James Hagan who died in 1916 and is buried at Glyntaff in Pontyprid.The last was Gunner Abraham Evans who passed in 1915 he is buried at Varteg Chapel near pontypool ,this was our second attempt to find Abraham our first visit the entire site was waist deep in nettles this time most of the area had been cleared. Three more of the lesser known heroes of that heroic fight.

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The Cultural Experince Zululand Tour - a review

The tour I have described over the last few posts was for me abucket list item ,not only visiting the AZW battlefelds but also meeting Ian Knight not the cheapest holiday and there are cheaper tours to Zululand but they do not cover as much .Pre Holiday - Great service from TCE and we received a fantastic holiday itinerary booklet which contains a very in depth guide to the Zulu war by Ian Knight containg some nice maps .Flights - the flights from and to the UK as well as the internal flight to Durban were all BA and included meals and drinks , a very long flight I don't fly very well but others were snoring away for most of the 12 hours .The Guide -What can I say Ian Knight is a fantastic guy ,not only full of expert knowledge but has areal passion for his subject ,his talks were informative and funny at the right points and he was excellent company during our down time , Paul the tour manager teeamed up with us at Durban and again was abrilliant guy , ex SA army and an architect by trade who only does the t

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Zululand Tour -day 13 Helpmekaar & Boer War

Our final day and a long journey to the airport , we said our sad farewells ro Roz and the staff at Isandlwana and set off ,as it was along journey Ian and Paul broke it up with afew unadvertised stops ,firstly a quick drop in at Rorkes Drift so a few of the group could get a couple of pics they missed ,then we drove to Helpmekaar , the staging post for Chelmsfords men before they moved to Rorkes Drift and where most of the survivors fom Isandlwana made for .Helpmekaar is Afrikans for "help each other " which refers to the transport "road" the trekkers built to ais each other up and down the hill to Helpmekaar ,today its a small village which is mainly abandoned stores and a large police station ,the military grave yard is behind this but you have to undertake a very rough walk to get to it crossing the police firing range , the graveyard is mainly troops who died of disease during the war .Next we travelled through Boer war country glimpsing Laings Nek before stopping at Majuba hill for a picnic lunch and a

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Zululand tour day 12 - Fugitives Drift-Rorkes Drift

A rather sad day today as its ourn final night at isandlwana Lodge and we are facing the long trip home ,but we have the stuff of legends today ,Melville & Coghill , Fugitives Drift and of course Rorkes Drift . I will let the pics do the talking ,but would like to point out how small Rorkes Drift is in terms of the area where the fighting took place and how low and close the cliffs are that the Zulus sniped from . Our trip took in the first combat in the AZW the action at Shiayos Homestead , then the Drift on the baffalo at Rorkes Drift then we moved to fugitives drift and Melville and Coghills Graves then to Jim's Place as the Zulus called Rorkes Drift a very moving day .The locals are really friendly and fun something i dont think Chelmsford SaidThe site of Shiayos homesteadThe rocky area where the fighting took place Our route over the Drift a lot lower than it was in 1879 but still fiercethe area where Chard built his ponts (not a bridge )Ian jumps onto avanatge point the Shiyane in the back

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Zululand Tour day 11 -Isandlwana day 2 Fugitives Trail & Chelmsford picnic

Today we walked 5km of the fugitives trail ,it is hard to comprehend how awful it must have been to be pursued over such hard terrin with Zuls bearing down upon you and men and horses dying all around you ,we struggled with the heat and hard going I suffered 3 cuts from an aloe plant and many bruises and we had a guide and we were  taking our time .The first 200 yards or so are fairly easy going and cairns are visible from the start and are dotted all the way along ,we visited the Donga where the RA limbers came to grief ,this is almost filled in with debris washed down the hill but the cairn is still visible and Ian Knight had the oppurtunity to excavate the area a few years ago proving this was the spot where the men and horses met their fate .We were also lucky to visit 2 graves off the normal trail ,Paul our tour manager had arough idea where they were and disapeared into the bush for a while before shouting us up where a marked grave marks the spot where G.T.Macleroy of the Natal Carbineers was buri

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Zululand Tour day 10 -Isandlwana day 1

With a lot of excitement and after a hearty breakfast our intrepid group set off to the mecca of the zulu war Isandlwana , I think by this point we had all taken dozens of pictures of the infamous mountain from our rooms and the terrace at Isandlwana Lodge ,we would take many more over the next 2 days there is something very powerful and moving about it from all angles .We started by visiting the spot where Lt Raw first saw the zulu impi ,quite well done in the movie zulu dawn , you can imagine Raws mens thoughts as they looked down onto the Zulu army ,they then made a fighting withdrawal back to Isandlwana .,Next we walked to the top ofm the ridge above the Isandlwana Lodge where on the day the zulus looked down onto the British camp .Next we moved to the Isandlwana Museum on the site of St Vincemts church which was built shortly after the AZW , this lovely little place has some nice dispalys and artifacts dug up on the battlefield , agift shop and a small chapel which contains some great paintings and photo

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Zululand Tour Day 9 Blood River and the Prince Imperial

Today we left Ithala and headed for our final hotel Isandlwana Lodge ,on route we visited the early Boer v Zulu battle site that became known as Blood River and then the lonely grave of the Prince Imperial .Blood RiverAndries Pretoriuos led less than 500 Voertrekkers against over 10,000 to 20,000 Zulus on the banks of the Ncombe River in 1838.Earlier the Zulu Chief Dingane had killed a Boer Piet Retrief and his men after they had shown disrespect to the Zulu ,the Boers view was Retrief was murdered ,either way more bloodshed followed which led to the battle .Pretoriuos put his wagons into a lager and situated 2 or 3 ships guns on makeshift carriages , The Zulus encircled the camp and eventually attacked the Boer tactics of staying in and behind the wagons ,each wagon connected to the next by a makeshift fence and using buckshot to maximise casualties ,made the Zulus unabale to get into hand to hand combat withdraw ,leaving at least 3000 dead behind ,the Boers had 3 wounded. The Boers claimed God had intervene

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Zululand Tour day 8 -Khambula

Today after waking to find the local wildlife playing outside our room , we headed off to Khambula .After the defeat at Hlobane ,Wood moved and strengthened his camp by moving his wagons into lager and then a using a large knoll that was fortified with earth works and trenches as his main fort ,off to one side was acattle krall .Wood also had some artillery which was placed between the lager ,fort and Krall .The Zulus were reluctant to attack after the lesson learnt at Rorkes Drift and Wood sent Redvers (pronounced Reevers ) Buller out with his cavalry to get the Zulus to prematurly attack which they did and the mounted troops only just made it back to the British Lines.As the battle raged the Zulus dug in and started to snipe at the British so Wood ordered agroupof the 90th to go out and clear away the snipers this went horribly wrong with the Officer in charge Major Hackett being blinded and another officer killed .The Zulus pressed home a number of attacks but eventually fell back and started to withdraw ,

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Zululand Tour day 7 -Hlobane and a safari drive

Today included a visit to Hlobane Mountain (pronounced Clobane ) the scene of another British Blunder involving miss timed attacks mistaken orders and Brave incidents against a well planned and disciplined Zulu attack with the addition of a huge Zulu impi arriving at the wrong time for the British .The Colonial losses were more than 200 including the Honourable RGE Campbell and Mr Llewllyn Lloyd ,Campbell dying in a poor action to steal some cattle led by Evelyn Wood ,after Campbell was killed ,Wood seemed to lose the plot and made some amazingly bad decisions which led to the death of Lloyd . The flight down Devils pass is stuff of legend with 2 VC's being awarded and the Death of Piet Uys one of the few Boer Leaders to take an active part in the AZW .Later a early evening safari around Ithala was taken with breath taking scenery and wild life sadly we did not spot the elephants or Leopards although the chase through the bush in the dark looking for leopards was exciting .The marker to Campbell and Lloyd&nbs

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Zululand tour Day 6 Intombe Drift

Today we visited the site of the battle of Intombe Driftanother disaster for the British but producing another hero , Sergeant Booth who won the VC for sfter being deserted by thier officer led the men of the 80th in a fighting withdrawal saving around 30-40 men .The British Force had been split and occupied both sides of the drift when the zulus attacked through a heavy mist ,the officer in charge ,captain Moriarty  was one of the first to die after shooting 3 zulus he was assagied in the back and shouted "I am done boys ,fire away " but the zulu slaughter was swift and the second in command Lieutenant Harwood jumped on a horse and informed the men he was fetching help and promptly disappeared .Booths fighting retreat was the only highlight for the British a force of not many more than 500 zulus had defeated a forcee of 100 British Regulars . We then visited the memorial to aGerman called Fitter of the Schernbruckers horse and a Daneish translator called Larson  who died in the fighting in the area

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Zululand day 5

`today we left Shakaland after a evening learning to stick fight and throw spears which was great fun , stick fighting is still the standard way to sort out differences although you can cause as much damage you want without the police getting involved you can no longer kill your opponant which seems not to be in favour with the Zulus .We headed fpr our next hotel the Itahla Game reserve ,on route we took in the battle of Ulundi and The site of Cetshwayos royal palace at Ondini . First stop was at the remote site of 2 Graves James Scott Douglas of the Royal Scots Fusiliers and William Cotter of the 17th Lancers , The pair were ambushed in a thick mist both put up a fight but were killled ,their bodies found a week later and buried on the spot were they fell .Ulundi Battlefield is marked by a fenced area that supposedly marks the shape of the British Square ( its not quite right ) and contains ahuge memorial and the graves of the British and colonial troops who fell ,it also contains a small memorial to the zul

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zululand tour day 4

Today we returned to Eshowe to visit the site of King Cetshawayos death and then on to his grave .After the Zulu defeat at Ulundi Cetshawayo was eventually caught and imprisoned he was sent to London where he became a favourite of Queen Victoria .Later when it became obviuos to the British things were still unsettled in Zululand and they decided to reinstate the King but only in part of the country ,Zululand was divided into 13 states or areas .Cetshawayo returned but was soon involved in clashes with other zulu chiefs and was wounded by zulus led by Uzibhebhu with help from Boers , the King escaped and went to Eshowe to ask for help from the British ,he died afew days later ,the Zulus refused an autopsy and the official reason for death was an heart attack but rumours of poison were and still are rife .  After his death his followers carried out the ritual for burial of kings by putting him a sitting position wrapped in hides and sat him in a hut attended by a number of zulu girls  ,he was left lik

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Zulu Tour day 3

On day 2 after Breakfast we went down to the beach and looked at the area of beach were Henry francis Flynn met Shaka zulus army for the first time , with the Indian Ocean breaking on the shore it was great listening to the story told by Ian we also got to watch a large number of dolphins playing just off shore . We left Princess Grant and headed inland to the battlefield of Gingindlovu where Chelmsfords forces met the Zulu army whilst trying to break the siege of Eshowe .The Battlefield today is covered in crops of sugar cane and the cemetery is overgrown .This bloody battle  for the British forces is usually forgotten but was a decisive victory for Chelmsfords forces only losing around 11 men and inflicting over 1000 dead upon the Zulu .We moved up to the next battle field of Nyezane where Pearsons column encountered the Zulus in very hilly ground with the naval brigade showing thier worth and turning the zulus . A few monuments overgrown and fenced off are the only things marking this battle . Next we

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Tour of Zululand -Day 1 and 2 and Ian Knight

I have decided to do a day by day review of our reccent trip to Zululand with Ian Knight ,there was so much to see and do and between Elaine and myself we took well over 1000 photographs . Ian Knight met us at Heathrow before our flight out ,Ian has been one of my favourite authors for many years and I am glad to say he is a fantastic person with a great sense of humour and a real passion for the AZW and the Zulu people and culture . After a very long flight to Johannesburg we were rushed through the airport to a plane to fly us to Durban ,where we met Paul our South African tour manager ,a ex south african soldier who is now a very succesful architect who again just loves the Zulu history , he got us through some awkward moments with the white boers and kept Ian moving along and regailed us with amazing stories each night .Our Driver was a zulu called April who was a very well educated man who could speak 11 languages . On the way to our first hotel we visited Stanger ,which even though it was a modern town

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