Today, the enigmatic mountain of Isandlwana nestles peacefully amongst the majestic beauty of the Zululand hills.
In January 1897, however, it was the site of one of the most dramatic and enthralling events in the history of the Zulu Kingdom.
Take time to relax at the luxurious Lodge and relive the history of both the Anglo-Zulu and Anglo-Boer Wars, as well as enjoy the vibrant culture of the modern Zulu people. Or even visit one of the famous Zululand game reserves.
Isandlwana Lodge offers 12 luxury rooms, all en-suite and tastefully decorated in a mixture of traditional and modern styles.
The Lodge is carved into the iNyoni rock formation on top of which the Zulu commander stood during the battle of Isandlwana.
Enjoy unparalleled views from the crisp early light of a sparkling Zulu dawn to the splendour of the African sunset.
Unwind in our pool built among the rocks after a day on the battlefields. Enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of the library where you can hone up on your history.
Make new friends in the pleasant surroundings of our lounge and allow our specialist chef to provide you with some of the best food in KwaZulu-Natal. Or just relax on your private balcony.
All rooms face the historic and scenically beautiful Isandlwana plain with a view of the mountain.
Isandlwana Lodge is the ideal location for executive conferences or team-building getaways, where groups can benefit from our unique concepts, developed and built around the battles by our historian, Rob Gerrard, author and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.
Zulu culture: The history of the Zulu people did not end in 1879. It is still a vibrant force today, and we can arrange for you to visit their homes and discover the Zulu way of life.
Enjoy a Zulu village safari, which is a walking tour led by a lodge staff member who is a registered guide. During the walk, you’ll visit a traditional khaya (homestead) to see how the local people live. And you’ll have a chance of visiting the historic St Vincent’s Church, the schools and clinic, and the tour always includes a visit to a Sangoma (diviner).
The tour lasts as long as you want to make it, but generally it is about two hours long. Should you wish to do this, it can be arranged the afternoon of arrival if you get here by 3.00pm, or on the morning of departure, if you leave between 11.00 and 12.00 o’clock. Book in advance to avoid disappointment.
We are also within easy reach of the beautiful eMaKhosini Valley where the story of the Zulu nation began. We can guide you through the graves of King Shaka’s ancestors, and take you to visit eMgungundlovu, the royal residence of King Dingane.
You can also enjoy a visit to oNdini, the residence of King Cetshwayo, close to the Ulundi battlefield where the Anglo Zulu War ended on 4 July 1879.
Isandlwana is one of the few places where, from the comfort of your bedroom balcony, you can watch a traditional village come to life in the morning and settle down at the end of the day when the herdboys bring their family’s cattle home.
Isandlwana Historic Reserve (minimum 2 people): You may walk through the Isandlwana Historic Reserve where you will see various birds and game such as impala and zebra. In certain parts, you may find cairns (piles of white stones) which mark mass graves of British soldiers who fought and died at Isandlwana. It is necessary to have a game scout with you and you would be well served to wear boots or sturdy walking shoes that offer support for your ankles.
Fugitive's Trail Walk (minimum 2 people): This walk is approximately three hours and should be taken only by the physically fit. It is a must for those really interested in the Battle of Isandlwana.
At times, in the summer months, one will have to swim the Buffalo River. Other times, it is possible to skip across on the rocks.
Cultural and Photographic Tours: (average 6-7 hours): Our cultural tours to Qhudeni are generally taken by a European guide, accompanied by a Zulu and take a full day. The tour departs from the lodge at 10:00 A.M. and returns around 4 p.m. This tour goes into one of the most remote and scenic parts of Zululand. A region of large mountains, huge ravines, rivers and natural forests. Qhudeni Mountain stands 6000 feet above sea level. Only recently have dirt roads been blazed into this region to allow taxis and other off-road automobiles access. One can encounter Zulu women and children who have had little or no contact with Europeans.
One always has to decide what to do and where to go as the tour progresses due to the condition of the dirt roads. For those keen on photography, this tour is an opportunity of a lifetime for capturing some spectacular scenery on film. The cultural events offered at Isandlwana village may be seen at Qhudeni, but in more natural environments due to the remoteness of the area.
Day Trips in Zululand
There are a number of trips one can take on one’s own which are within easy driving distance of Isandlwana Lodge. Ask management for directions and if possible, let them know your plans for the day. If you have a cellphone, please give the number to the manager. You will, in turn, be given contact details, including a cellphone for the lodge. This is generally a safe area, but it is nice to have communication or some idea the direction in which you are going.
This is the spot where Chelmsford was having tea when the Zulus attacked the camp at Isandlwana. During the winter months there is very little water, but the gorge is beautiful. The surrounding area offers some of the most magnificent scenery in Zululand.
In late afternoon, the Cape bald ibis come to roost on the rocks. It is about a 20-minute drive from the lodge. During the summer, remember to use Tabbard spray to ward off ticks and plenty of sunscreen all year long.
Prince Imperial Monument
Journey to the spot where the Prince Imperial was killed during the Anglo-Zulu War. The Prince was the last of the Bonaparte line and the only child of Empress Eugenie who was broken-hearted at the death of her son.
A Zulu family nearby maintains the area on behalf of Amafa KwaZulu-Natal and they will be sure you sign the visitors’s book. One is expected to make a small donation +/- R10.00 to the family.
The laager of bronze wagons that formed the fortress for Boers in the battle with the Zulus on 16 December 1838 is worth a visit to the site.
There is a Voortrekker museum and a Zulu museum to explore.
Known as the finest museum in KwaZulu-Natal, Talana is located on the outskirts of Dundee at the site of the first battle of the Second Anglo-Boer War.
There are two museums, one military and the other glass. There is an impressive collection of Zulu artifacts, as well and the museum also brings focus to coal mining in the area which is part of Dundee’s rich history.
Next door to the museum is a cottage where nice lunches are served.
Around the property are displays of various kinds including tools and machinery that were used in the era, music and a permanent art exhibit of works by residents in the area, which is the newest addition.