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Battlefields and Drakensburg in 5 days??

Bristol, United...
Level Contributor
19 posts
16 reviews
Battlefields and Drakensburg in 5 days??

We hope to fly from Port Elizabeth with around 5 days, hoping to know if we could see in a practical order the following?:-

1. Noteable battlefields especially Rorke’s Drift, Isandlwana. Do these combine easily with others /other wars? or any museum or? we prefer not too many hours of driving?

2. Drakensburg. We realise it would be a taster only. As we are not sportey hikers, we would welcome suggestions for a scenic location to drive and stay in, with good views/ strolls.

3. Perhaps drive to Johannesburg to spend 24 hours, as we have the option to fly back to UK from there (which could be changed to Durban)

All guidance welcomed, it seems to narrow down to asking if it makes sense to aim for:

• 2 nights in ?Ladysmith followed by

• 2 nights in Drakensberg (what is a pleasant base/scenic location to stay?) then

• drive to Johannesburg (how long /how safe for a 60 year old British couple?). If time permits before our next evening;s flight, go round on the HoHo bus.

Or if wiser to skip Joburg, what would be a circular route ending back at Durban airport?


Are we being too ambitious, should we leave something out?

All advice welcomed and appreciated


Leigh-on Sea...
Level Contributor
4,695 posts
6 reviews
1. Re: Battlefields and Drakensburg in 5 days??

We stayed at Rorkes Drift hotel where the owner arranged a guide to the battlefields you mention plus Blood River. We wished we had heeded do the advice of the owner not to visit all 3 in 1 day, it was a bit of a rush and left no time to visit the Talana museum in the area. it depends on how interested you are on the history of the British conflicts in the area.Our guide Pat was a great storey teller, making the battles come to life.

From Rorkes Drift it was 3 hours to the Champagne Valley. Next time I would stay more near the main highway, the N3 ,as this would give you the choice of either exploring Champagne Valley or go North to the Royal Natal Park (where the film Zulu was actually filmed, not at Rorkes Drift). From there I believe it is around 3 and a bit hours to Jo'berg.

we chose to visit the beautiful Giants Castle Reserve and the Bushmans paintings , then meandered along the Midlands Meander and flew from Durban to UK via Jo'berg. This of course will incur the extra cost of the Durban to Jo'berg flight.

Don't underestimate the travel times in the Drakensberg area, once off the main road there are lots of potholes, villages with cattle and people wandering all over the roads and you can never really get up any speed.

Pretoria, South...
Level Contributor
3,170 posts
27 reviews
2. Re: Battlefields and Drakensburg in 5 days??

My recommendation for accommodation in the Berg is always the one I know: the Cavern, near Royal Natal. Or its more upmarket child, Montusi. Great place to chill in comfort, lovely walks.

Edited: 26 November 2016, 21:26
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
2,686 posts
29 reviews
3. Re: Battlefields and Drakensburg in 5 days??

2 nights for the Battlefields area is very doable. Think about Dundee as a base for Rorkes Drift, Isandlwana and Blood River. I would recommend a one day tour with a qualified guide at least .You could do Ladysmith Siege Museum and Talana next day without a guide .We have done 2 separate Battlefields visits 2 SA trips apart with same Guide as we both are interested in history. Obviously, we went to many other areas throughout SA as well.

Both times we stayed at Ingudlane Lodge. Highly recommend it .


Guide was Dave Sutcliffe see link below. I see he has now returned to UK . Perhaps contact him about your plans. He would be able to help you. The reason we went back to revisit different Battlefields area, Spionkop etc, was due to him, It all came alive. Just ambling around w/o a guide is truly not the same positive experience.


Northampton, United...
Level Contributor
2,278 posts
52 reviews
4. Re: Battlefields and Drakensburg in 5 days??

Hello and all top advise above. Yes two nights in the battlefields would give you time to see quite a bit. Normally a guide is best and will take you to Isandlwana in the morning and Rorkes Drift in the afternoon so you get the whole story spanning the events as they happened, I have stayed at Fugitives Drift and thought the whole experiance excellent. From there you can visit Talana Hill then onto Spionkop en route to the Drakensberg. Giants Castle is great as its right in the mountains. We have also enjoyed Didima where there is a rock art centre. Lots of places to stay, including Cathedral Peak Hotel and if you are into food check out Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse. I would spend an extra day and drive down, flying out of Durban.

Mark - Owner - SafariKZN

Bristol, United...
Level Contributor
19 posts
16 reviews
5. Re: Battlefields and Drakensburg in 5 days??

Thanks all, that is so helpful.

Further replies welcomed, but certainly it is all falling into shape.

much appreciated J

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
2,686 posts
29 reviews
6. Re: Battlefields and Drakensburg in 5 days??

Driving to Joburg is fine but if you aren't used to it especially in peak hour, can be hectic .You ask how long it will be, well unless we know where your actual stop off beforehand is located is hard to say with accuracy,however if budget isn't an issue I agree with the others ex Durban may be best given your concerns. Good suggestions from all the posters !

Portsmouth, United...
Level Contributor
14 posts
119 reviews
7. Re: Battlefields and Drakensburg in 5 days??

Just been to the Nxala ranch for three days. Short hop to rorkes drift. Wonderful, beautiful place, great food, 60+ species of bird. Views to die for. Giraffes and other animals to see. 4000 year old cave paintings on site. The perfect view of the twin sphinx hills of rorkes drift and islanwanda from their front gate, it made me slightly teary when we left! And yes Pat is your man for the day trip, the other guides we saw seemed to make a meal of the entertainment. Pat gives a very broad ranging chat, giving you enough historical ammo to destroy any arm chair general! We visited the rorkes drift hotel for lunch and it all seemed a little soulless, shame, good view.get a good car, with good insurance. Add about 40% to google maps driving times. Get a sat nav it really got us out of trouble. Jo'burg is not a nice place to drive in. I'd suggest staying in Benoni, easy access to airport (albatross b&b ok for one night, good local restaurants, little noisy) - Above all - drive carefully, many potholes on even the better roads enough to easily take out tires. And the other drivers are breath taking in their lack of care!

In summary -Nxala ranch, pat, potholes.

Leeds, United...
Destination Expert
for Western Cape, Cape Town Central
Level Contributor
5,374 posts
623 reviews
8. Re: Battlefields and Drakensburg in 5 days??


Also have a look at 3 Tree Hills near Winterton. A beautiful lodge overlooking Spionkop and the little Drakensberg. It took me about 40 minutes to get to Champagne Valley from here.

Lots to do here, including morning walks in the reserve and a guided tour of Spionkop.

From here it is a 4 hour drive back to Johannesburg and slightly less to the airport. It's about 3 hours to Durban. You can easily do the drive for an evening flight back to the UK.

However, I like Johannesburg and there are nice areas to stay. I stayed in Haughton, but also Rosebank, Park Town North and Sandton are nice areas. The Apartheid Museum was probably one of the best museums I have ever visited.


Leigh-on Sea...
Level Contributor
4,695 posts
6 reviews
9. Re: Battlefields and Drakensburg in 5 days??

We stayed Ar Rorkes drift hotel for several nights and had a lovely time. The owner has followed his dream and built a lovely place based on the design of a rondavel.

10. Re: Battlefields and Drakensburg in 5 days??

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