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  • Day7

    Fugitives drift 2

    March 15, 2019 in South Africa ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

    I think I understated our visit to Roarks Drift. The telling of the narrative took two hours and the battle was described in great detail as the drama shifted from room to room in the burning hospital. It was very vivid and real as the main buildings are still standing on the exact site that they were on the day of the battle.

    The next day we went off to the site of the Battle of Isandlwana where the Zulus won a major victory - since the British were armed with breach loading rifles and the Zulus had only spears, it was quite an accomplishment. The telling of the battle took about 4 hours as we moved from point to point around the site. The telling became quite emotional especially as our guide is a Zulu whose grandfather and great grandfather had both fought in the battle. We were also able to follow the path taken by the few Brits who managed to escape as they tried to cross the river at Fugitives Drift which is where we are staying. It’s a little difficult to fully appreciate the battle as today the place is covered in short grass and bushes,whereas at the time of the battle, the entire place was covered with elephant grass which was 6 ft high - it would have been extremely difficult to see your enemy at any great distance. It was a well worthwhile experience ( at least for Brian, Anne was seen to ‘ rest her eyes’ on occasion). In the pictures, the white cairns mark where the remains of the soldiers lie. It was a couple of months after the battle before the Brits could revisit the site, so all that remained were mere skeletons making the task of identifying the soldiers impossible.

    The memorial for the Zulus was very interesting. It is in the shape of a necklace and each section represents the different battalions who fought in the battle. The shape also shows the fighting formation of the Zulus, where the centre represents the head of a buffalo and the flanks represent the horns which try to encircle the foe. In the case of this battle the right horn did not close but turned away instead.

    The circular huts that you see in the pics are interesting. No one lives in these apparently - they are built for the spirits of the dead to live in.

    Our visit here has been very pleasant. The lodge is very comfortable and the staff could not be more helpful or cheerful.

    We leave here today to continue on to a wetland area to another lodge and more wildlife.
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