Rorke's Drift & Isandlwana

Hi all,

Due to head of to S Africa on an AT exped, in the not to distant future, and are looking to conduct a battlefield tour of Rorke's Drift and Isandlwana during our R&R.
I am keen to give a brief, before departure, on the outline of the Anglo-Zulu campaign, so that we can hit the ground running when we get there. (We have guides already booked for the tours.) Can anyone recommend any good sources of info/pics/presentations/books to help me out? (Before you ask, I have already got Zulu on DVD!! (although not Zulu Dawn!))

Also if anyone has any first hand experience of visiting the sites it would be good to hear from you!

Thanks for any help in advance!!


Kit Reviewer
Try "Like Lions They Fought" - I don't have the ISBN or author's name to hand because I lent the book to a 'friend'...... :evil:

Also try, "Shaka Zulu" by E.A.Ritter. Although it covers an earlier period it gives you a very good insight into the life and mindset of the Zulu.

Have you already booked the hotel ?
Also "Washing of the Spears (A History of the Rise of the Zulu Nation Under Shaka and Its Fall in the Zulu War of 1879)" by Donald R Morris.

IIRC this is the book that inspired the film. Masses of history, actions at Isl & RD form only a part of the book .

you could always go to the Regimental decendants of the 24th FOOT. The Royal Regiment of Wales website has a lot of relevant info including books you can purchase. Check out

Good luck.
There is a SO2 RMP at HQ 1Div who is frightenly knowledgeable about the Zulu War. I can't remember his name but if you asked him I'm sure he would give you a good brief and lots of pointers. Oh he's a good bloke, not at all a spotter, just heavily into the Zulu war.
I visited both places at Easter three years ago. Seeing the ground is better value than most battlefields because it hasn't changed much at all.

The only practical advice I can give you is this - the guide produced some umbrellas for use as sunshades. Those who didn't take one soon wished they had done.

Have a good trip!
Try 'Brave Mens Blood' by Ian Knight, hasn't got an ISBN on my copy for some reason, it includes supplement maps. Think he used to be the editor for the Victorian Military Society, and he has been involved in several programs on the Zulu wars on CH 4 and discovery channels one of which looked into how the line at Isandwana was broken in forensic detail and broke the myth of the 24th of foot and their ammunition not beening dished out quick enough.

Thanks for the quick response from you all,

Have struggled to find some of the books recommended but have ended up getting books by the author Ian Knight who by all accounts is THE authority on the subject!! (Thanks Blackcat)

Quiller thanks for the link to seems a very comprehensive website!

We have already booked our guides for the day, but have just had our accom with the SA Army in L'smith pulled! So if anyone can recommend anywhere within a reasonable budget and for 14pax (Fugitives Drift Lodge looks wonderfull although a fraction out of my price bracket!! Thanks Ozgerbobble & Quiller) we will have tents so camping is always an option (although would rather not!)

Cheers again all with your help!



Kit Reviewer
Try the Babanango Hotel at...... er, Babanango actually.

It was run by Stan an ex-Bootie and an absolute nutter, (in the nicest possible sense.)

Unfortunately I'm told he's regrouped, but the hotel is a great place, with a small but 'interesting' bar. It's excellent value and not that far from Isandlhwana.
David Rattray did an audio CD called 'Day of the Dead moon' (i think) its quite good and gives you a good flavour for the wars, he prounces the Zulu names properly so you actually know what the place names actually sound like rather than an anglicised version. Also Michael Barthorp did a good book on the campaign, but can't remeber the name.
Memory says the 24th was an English Regt was it not ?
Shirley the Brits where beaten because they formed line and not square when faced by mass waves of mainly spear wealding natives.


Kit Reviewer
jonwilly said:
Memory says the 24th was an English Regt was it not ?
Shirley the Brits where beaten because they formed line and not square when faced by mass waves of mainly spear wealding natives.
Chelsford's refusal to laager was just one of his c*ckups, of which he had quite a number.
Thank you Busterdog

At least someone sees through the myth generated by Zulu.

Mind you, you couldn't have 'Men of Harlech' sung in a Brummie accent could you?
Was about the same time as Custer got caught with his troops strung out in line and didn't the savages close by cumming up gullys close to the extended lines both batles, allowing them to be overwelmed locally and so begin the disintigration of the formed regular troops ?

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