Kwazulu Natal » Anglo-Zulu Battlefields » Isibindi Zulu Lodge


LOCATIONIsibindi Game Reserve, Zululand, Anglo-Zulu battlefields of Rorke's Drift and IsandlwanaPOOLYes - at the main area only

  •   Each Beehive suite has its own viewing deck overlooking the game reserve and the surrounding hills like Rorke's Drift. All rooms are en-suite with separate bath and spacious shower.

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5-6 hour drive from Johannesburg, 4.5 hour drive from Durban via Ladysmith,
4 x twin & 2 x double Beehive suites




iSibindi Zulu Lodge is situated in a private game reserve in the ruggedly beautiful Zululand. An architectural celebration of the Zulu nation, the lodge is a peaceful bushveld retreat which also offers a host of activities for our guests wanting to experience a combination of luxurious accommodation, gameviewing, battlefields and Zulu cultural experiences. This 12 bed luxury lodge is a stone's throw away from the historically momentous Anglo-Zulu battlefields of Rorke's Drift and Isandlwana where Zulu and British clashed in a devastating battle which had enormous consequences for the Zulu people. The lodge also offers a choice of authentic Zulu cultural experiences. We also pride ourselves on continuing to receive numerous accolades on our cuisine!


iSibindi Zulu Lodge is situated within the 4000 acre Isibindi Eco-Reserve which offers diverse habitats ranging from montane grassland and valley thornveld to riverine forests. The reserve is home to abundant indigenous game, morning and evening game drives are offered and there is excellent bird watching. It is also quite safe to walk or take a picnic along one of the meandering river beds and view Giraffe, Zebra,Wildebeest, etc.


iSibindi Zulu Lodge offers guided tours of the Anglo-Zulu battlefields. Tours must be pre-booked so that arrangements can be made with our preferred guides to take the tours. The chilling accounts of the battles of Rorke's Drift and Isandlwana present a deeper insight of the rich history in the area. Presented alongside the military narrative, a complete picture of the impact of the Anglo-Zulu campaign on both the Zulu and British nations is formed.


Isibindi Zulu Lodge offers the rare opportunity of learning about the Zulu culture and traditions as they remain in Zululand today. A Zulu Boma Dinner begins just as the sun starts setting, casting our hills in soft golden light. Guests are led down a narrow path to the beat of drums. As one emerges into a clearing comming across a historical Zulu umuzi (village) the dancing bodies of Zulu children make for a profound experience. The traditional dances and their role in Zulu history and culture is explained amid the energetic displays. A separate day trip to a Zulu Homestead gives guests a rare chance to experience the life of a rural Zulu family which has remained largely unchanged over the past hundred years since Shaka Zulu forged this mighty nation.


Battlefield Tour

The tour includes a description of the context of the Anglo-Zulu War and events leading up to the outbreak of hostilities in January 1879. The battlefield tour starts at approximately 8h30 when guests are collected by their guide and head for Isandlwana. This battle was considered the greatest defeat in British colonial history and as the dramatic events of the day unfold, guests begin to envisage the tragedy and the bravery of this extraordinary battle that took place during a solar eclipse.

At approximately 12h00 guests travel to Rorke's Drift to enjoy a picnic lunch.  The events of Rorke's Drift (the battle proceeded from Isandlwana to Rorke's Drift later in the same day) are described, as well as a short tour of the museum.  Eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded at Rorke’s Drift for bravery, this being the largest amount awarded to any single regiment in British history.

Other battlefields and sites of historical interest in the area, such as Fugitives Drift; the site of the death of the French Prince Imperial and Blood River can be visited by prior arrangement.

Tours usually last a day, but are tailor-made to suit your particular interests and can also be arranged as a half day activity.  This activity needs to be pre-booked.

Zulu Boma Dinner

At Isibindi Zulu Lodge you are offered the opportunity of learning about the Zulu culture which still retains many of its traditional aspects.  A Zulu Experience, as we call it, usually starts just as the sun starts to set, shedding golden light over the koppies (hills).  Guests are lead down a winding, narrow path through dense bush to a clearing.  As you emerge into the clearing, you come upon a traditional Zulu umuzi (family homestead).  Here, you smell the smoke from the cooking fire and hear the cattle lowing, the beating of drums and the singing of the dancers.  Before sun set, you are given an energetic and powerful performance of Zulu dancing and singing, the fading light adding to the magic of this unforgettable experience. A tour of a traditional home is also given to explain more about the Zulu ways. A Zulu meal follows comprising traditional cuisine such as phutu (stiff maize meal porridge), isijingi (sweet pumpkin mash), umngqush (samp and beans with butter) and inyama (meat and potato stew) and is served in the Kraal of the Umuzi, under the night sky(weather depending). A knowledgeable guide is present throughout the experience to answer any questions and to share the Zulu traditions and customs with you.

Zulu Homestead Visit

This is a full day trip departing after breakfast. We head off to Elandskraal Store first, which is a traditional Zulu trading store where you can buy pots, curios and mingle with the locals. From there we go to a farmhouse to meet a lovely family involved in subsistence farming, who will show you around and explain how they farm. This is followed by a visit to a local village halfway between Rorke’s Drift and Isandlwana. Our lead Zulu dancer at the Lodge – Senzo, will escort and explain the everyday life of the people living here as well as hopefully seeing the resident Sangoma (witchdoctor). If she’s home, she will invite us into her house and explain her beliefs and practices and also show her special muti (magic potions). After this tour we drive to the nearby Museum for a picnic lunch and also have the opportunity to buy from the craft shop there. We usually return to the lodge around 3-3:30pm.

Panorama & Cultural Tour

These tours are only available through one guide in this area; He is a qualified historian with a special interest in the Zulu culture and his trips entail a day of unknowns in the surrounding rural areas.  Your trip could consist of a varied list of things including:

•Mangeni Falls (known by the locals as Istwabeni) and watch the water cascade some 160 metres below.  This place is still used as a Zulu sacrificial site.  On the way, view giant gorges and other scenic spots.

•Walk around a traditional smelting site where the Zulus would melt iron clay to make their spears and then see how to sharpen these spears at special rock sites.

•Bushman Rock Art (some of which only the locals know about) deep in true Zulu-land where you will walk on paths that were very possibly the same ones used to reach these spots centuries ago.  These are not always guaranteed as an easy journey.  Up hills and across rivers in some instances, to finally reach the caves and crevices where wonderful examples of primitive art present themselves.  These sites have not been visited by many so it’s a chance to glimpse a piece of real history.  Some of the paintings are in fact blue – a fact that any expert will tell you is impossible.  However some archaeologists who’ve come to inspect these enigmas have verified that they are still true bushman paintings.

•Visits to local Zulus in their homes and catch a glimpse of ladies creating their beaded jewellery.

Your guide is ‘A Relic Hunter’ looking for antique spears and traditional bead work from the locals. Often these are available for your purchase should you be looking for such items.  These trips also serve as transport of relief items such as clothes and shoes to these local communities. This is a must for anyone who is looking for a True African experience, however it is essential that you book well in advance. (Min 2 pax).

Game Drives/Walks

Guided game drives and walks are available on request and subject to availability.  All drives are in open game viewing vehicles to enable 360 degree viewing.  The game farm can also be explored on foot as we have no dangerous predators, making it safe to walk.  Do bear in mind that there are snakes in the bush, so always keep your eyes open!  We encourage you to walk as much as you like.

We have 18 species of hoofed mammals on the reserve,  including Giraffe, Burchell’s Zebra, Black Wildebeest (White-tailed Gnu), Blue Wildebeest (Common Gnu), Red Hartebeest, Nyala, Bushbuck, Blesbok, Waterbuck, Common and Mountain Reedbuck, Impala, Kudu, Grey Duiker, Steenbok and Warthog.  There is also a diverse array of carnivores including the elusive Leopard and smaller species such as Black-backed Jackal, 3 Mongoose species, Caracal (Lynx), 2 otter species and the Honey Badger (Ratel).  The birdlife here is abundant and extremely rewarding for keen birders.  Even novice birders will have a fabulous time spotting!  Our species list currently stands at 234.


The Buffalo River forms the eastern boundary of the reserve and provides some excellent fishing opportunities.  Barbel and Yellowfish (Scaly) are both to be found in the river.  Guests must bring all their own fishing equipment, including bait.  Transport to the river is on foot (about a 5km walk) or by 4 x 4 vehicle.

If travelling with children, a trip to the low flowing Isibindi River can be arranged for a bit of a swim and perhaps some tube riding down this gentle flowing River. (Parents supervision required and at own risk)

Picnics can also be arranged for guests wishing to picnic on the reserve.

Bush breakfasts can also be provided with prior arrangement; this will consist of a game drive with a break somewhere in the bush to enjoy a breakfast cooked to order.

  • Lounge with a large fireplace
  • Library
  • Bar
  • Privately set swimming pool

  • En-suite with separate bath and spacious shower
  • Panoramic views
  • Beehive suite has its own viewing deck
  • Honeymoon suite has a romantic sunken stone bath



  • From Durban take the N3 West heading for Pietermaritzburg. Pass Pietermaritzburg, Howick, Mooi River (toll plaza) & Estcourt.
  • Shortly after passing Estcourt take offramp 194 Bergville/Colenso.
  • Turn right across the highway and continue for 21kms past Colenso on your right.
  • Pass over Tugela River and turn right at Ezakheni/Colenso R544 sign.
  • Continue until you get to a T-junction turn right to Ezakheni. Continue for 10 kms beware of rumble strips, pedestrians and animals.
  • Continue for 69 kms until you get to a T-junction. BEWARE of pot-holes on this road especially at the low-level bridges.
  • Turn left to Dundee R33. After 1.5kms turn right to Elandskraal. You will see ISIBINDI ECO-RESERVE sign on your left.
  • Continue on gravel road for approximately 14km until you pass a stone church on your left.
  • Turn left to Rorke’s Drift & iSibindi Eco-Reserve. If you pass a store on your right you have GONE TOO FAR!
  • After approximately 6km you will see the iSiBiNDi Eco Reserve sign on your left.
  • A few metres further you will see a large black gate indicating the entrance on the right. Press the buzzer & Reception will open the gate.
  • Follow the dirt track all the way to the top of the “koppie” or hill, where you will see the parking area on your left.


  • Follow the dirt track all the way to the top of the “koppie” or hill, where you will see the parking area on your left.
  • Press the buzzer and Reception will open the automatic gate for you.
  • A few metres further you will see a large black gate indicating the entrance on the right.
  • After approximately 6km you will see the iSiBiNDi Eco Reserve sign on your left.
  • If you pass a Zulu trading store on your right, you have GONE TOO FAR!
  • Continue on this gravel road for approximately 14km. Pass a stone church and cemetery on your left, and turn left to Rorke’s Drift.
  • When you see the iSiBiNDi Eco Reserve sign and the Elandskraal sign on your left, turn left onto the gravel road.
  • You will pass 2 x Rorke’s Drift signs along the way – ignore them!
  • This is the R33 to Greytown. Travel approximately 45km on this tarred road.
  • At the second traffic light, turn right. Where the road forks, Take the left fork (there is a BP station on your left).
  • Pass through Dundee, entering the town at KarelLandman Street, then turn left at the traffic circle (round-a-bout) into Victoria Street.
  • Turn left to Dundee, still following the R621. At the next T-junction, turn left again (R68) to Dundee.
  • At the crossroads, Dannhauser Bridge is on your right and a Shell service station is directly in front of you.
  • After approximately 20kms, turn left towards Dannhauser on the R621.
  • Turn right onto N11 towards Newcastle/Ladysmith. Go past Newcastle and follow the signs to Ladysmith/Dundee (N11).
  • Travel about 80km then turn left onto Joubertrd/R23/R543 (This is Volksrust) and travel 1km.
  • Continue 750m then turn left onto Handel Street/R23/R546, Continue to follow the R23.
  • Stay on this road for about 98km, Then Turn right as you enter town onto Walter Sisulu Drive.
  • Take the N3 highway out of Johannesburg to Durban. Take exit 59 Heidelburg/Standerton(R23). Turn left toward Standerton.


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