EXTRA ACTIVITIES AVAILABLE:
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).
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.