Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Travel Photo Thursday. Isandlwana, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa.


Memorial to the over 1,000 Zulu who died at Isandlwana. The British camp was between the small hill on the left and the foreground of Isandlwana hill. 

The Battle of Isandlwana, January 22, 1879 was the first major battle of the Zulu War and resulted in a crushing victory by Zulu warriors over invading British troops. Lord Chelmsford had divided his force, forging ahead to the east, hoping to contact the main Zulu Impis, and left his supply and reserve forces camped under the watching eye of the 'Sphinx', the hill known as Isandlwana. Ignorance or arrogance precluded any attempt to fortify the camp: no expectation of attack was contemplated. Meanwhile the main Zulu impis had advanced unseen towards the encampment, bypassing to the north Lord Chelmsford's searching column. On the morning of the 22nd, a small patrol discovered the main impi force, precipitating an immediate attack on the British camp. More than 1300 troops, irregulars and support personnel were slaughtered in the worst military disaster inflicted by a 'native' army against the British Army.
http://www.britishbattles.com/zulu-war/isandlwana.htm

Later that day the Zulu impis went on to attack the little settlement at Rorke's Drift, this battle immortalised in the 1964 film "Zulu" starring Michael Caine.

"Zulu" has been said to be the single most inspiring South African tourism advert ever.

I can say it certainly inspired our interest in South Africa's history and to visit the Battlefields area of KwaZulu-Natal. We went on to explore much of the area where Zulu-Boer, Zulu-Anglo and Boer-Anglo wars were fought. With a South African guide, and using local guides we were able to learn more about the complex history of conflict in South Africa, and how this places this huge country with its multitudes of tribes, races, and cultures in the modern world.

Looking from the other direction across the battlefield.
White stone cairn memorials mark British dead. 

The British camp spread across the foreground and to the right of the picture. The white stone cairns mark the spot where Chelmsford's forces buried the remains 4 months later. Each small cairn marks 25 bodies. Larger cairns mark 50 bodies buried. To the extreme right of the hill of Isandlwana, or the 'toe of the boot" is a white marker denoting the position where some of the last remaining holdouts who retreated up the hill were killed. 





Travel Photo Thursday is on again where travel bloggers post up their great pics from around the world. Join us. Post up yours and head over to Nancie's Budget Traveler's Sandbox and link into the fun!


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32 comments:

Jan said...

Great post, love the photos. Interesting and informative. I had no idea. I will read up more. Thank you.

Bec Owen said...

The Zulu memorial is stunning, as is the landscape...a solemn reminder that war is not a satisfactory answer.

Beautiful pictures, Jim.

Muza-chan said...

Amazing picture :)

Susan Deborah said...

The photos accompanied by the info is wonderful. How vibrant and colourful these pictures are inspite of the tales not being happy happy.

Joy always,
Susan

Jim said...

Thanks Jan. Isandlwana has been neglected in history largely because it was such a stunning defeat for the British, and so the later battle starting on the same day at Rorke's Drift was at the time hyped up to divert attention from the earlier disaster. I don't mean that to denigrate the defenders of Rorke's Drift.

Jim said...

Hi Bec, glad you like the picture of the Zulu Memorial. I did take it from that angle to get that effect. It turned out better than I thought.

Jim said...

Thanks Susan. Yes so true, and we must remember the dead on both sides of the conflict.

NvGtravels said...

Hey Jim, I've been to the South African battlefields - thanks for capturing this powerful site with your photos and words. I couldn't help but half hearing Michael Caine's squeaky voice while at Rourke's Drift!

Jim said...

Hi Sarah, yes he sure played that part so well. I'll get around to posting about Roke's Drift, quite an aura around that area, especially the Zulu Memorial there.

BlogNostics said...

Jim,
I love coming to your place. I get to see the world without ever having to leave my home and deal with customs : )

xoxox
Jessica

AJ said...

You gave a deeper perspective of the place by narrating its historical significance. It added gravitas to the photos. Great post, Jim!

Sabrina said...

Love the angle of the first picture!

Cheryl Howard said...

Very powerful photos and such an informative post!

Jim said...

Customs and immigration officials can be a real hassle sometimes Jessica, so just come travelling with us and I'll give you a hassle free time. Much cheaper also!

Jim said...

Thanks AJ. I wrote a bare bones post about the battle because the link I placed to British battle site gives a very good account of the event.

Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista said...

I really enjoyed both your pictures and post! History is everywhere and it is great fun hearing about it.

Jim said...

Hi Sabrina. Thanks for that. I was trying for that effect when I took that pic. I think the placement of the Zulu Memorial is where the main direction of Zulu attack came from.
It could be said that the Zulu lost more in this battle than the British as deaths are generally much lower than wounded in any conflict. So if 1,000 Zulu died, I would think many, many more would have died later from wounds. So the memorial is very representative of a great loss to the Zulu nation. Their losses at the later battle of Rorke's Drift and this probably decided the eventual outcome of the war. Sad event.

Jim said...

Thanks Cheryl. Follow that link to British Army battles and there is much more info on Isandlwana and you'll find the other Zulu War battles described also.

Cathy Sweeney said...

Great photos and interesting history lesson. I remember seeing the movie "Zulu" many years ago, but didn't really grasp all the background at the time.

Denise said...

you certainly make south africa sound intriguing

Nancie said...

Beautiful photos Jim. I don't know much about the history of SA. Thanks for the history lesson.

Michael Figueiredo said...

Beautiful photos and great information too :)

Leigh said...

Learned a lot from this post. South Africa is such a complex country.

Love your shot of the memorial.

Chris said...

What a fascinating story. I loved the movie Zulu and always found those early colonial battles to be so interesting.

Rachel Hoyt said...

I LOVE that first shot! Such a great angle and beautiful colors. I'm so glad you share your travel memories with all of us. :)

Jim said...

Hi Cathy, true, and like most people who saw "Zulu" we were unaware of the earlier battle of Isandlwana that happened on the morning of the first day of attacks at Rorke's Drift. A disastrous defeat for the British in the morning, followed by a disastrous defeat by so few over the attacking zulu.

Jim said...

It is Denise, and a bit of understanding of history helps tremendously when travelling southern Africa.

Jim said...

Hi Nancie, history there is very complex with so many races and tribes involved in conflict at one time or another - intertribal warfare, colonist/native conflict and colonist/colonist wars. We just scratched the surface of history there.

Claire said...

Great post. Beautiful pictures.

Caz Makepeace said...

Great photos! We never got to do this but loved Zulu Natal. Such a beautiful area.
My dad would so love to do this.

Jim said...

Hi Caz, it truly is a very interesting area to explore if you have an interest in the history of South Africa. It was a must-do for us when we went back.

Fights to Bogota said...

I know I am planning to visit a "land" that is not entirely foreign, only foreign to me. As an adventurer, I am on a journey that I believe will last me my whole life. A new relationship, discovery, or awareness excites me.