Isandlwana Battlefield - History and Facts | History Hit

Isandlwana Battlefield

Nquthu Local Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Isandlwana Battlefield was the site of a British defeat in the Anglo-Zulu Wars.

Antara Bate

19 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Isandlwana Battlefield

Isandlwana Battlefield in South Africa was the site of the Battle of Isandlwana during the Anglo-Zulu Wars. The Anglo-Zulu Wars were in part an attempt by the British to repress the Zulu army so as to pave the way for the creation of a Confederation of South Africa which united all of the colonial entities into one unit.

Isandlwana Battlefield history

On 22 January 1879, on the same day as their success at Battle of Rorke’s Drift, the British Army suffered a major defeat at Isandlwana Battlefield. Around 1,750 British were camping at Isandlwana at the time or had arrived as reinforcements when they were besieged by approximately 20,000 Zulu warriors. The Zulu captured the camp and killed almost all of the soldiers, resulting in a decisive and humiliating defeat for the British.

It is thought that Lord Chelmsford, who was leading the British in the region, went to great lengths to cover up the defeat. It was also overshadowed by the victory at the Battle of Rorke’s Drift.

Isandlwana Battlefield today

Today, memorials and markers show the points at Isandlwana Battlefield where British soldiers fell. There is also a small Isandlwana Battlefield museum at the visitor centre. A visit to Isandlwana Battlefield is usually coupled with one to nearby Rorke’s Drift, particularly as the two are connected by road.

Isandlwana Battlefield also features as one of our top visitor attractions in South Africa

Getting to Isandlwana Battlefield

The Isandlwana battlefield is in northern KwaZulu-Natal. The closest town is Dundee, about a 3-hour drive from Durban (take the N3 to Estcourt, then the R74 to Ladysmith, and follow the signs to Dundee via the N11), or 5 hours from Johannesburg (take the N3 to Vrede, then the R34 to Newcastle and the N11 to Dundee).

Featured In

South Africa Historic Sites

Known for its natural beauty, wide-ranging history, and rich diversity, South Africa is home to a number of interesting historical sites. Here's our pick of 10 of the best.

British Empire Sites

Discover the fascinating, and at times harrowing, history of the British Empire at these 10 significant sites around the world, from the Houses of Parliament to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.