Joining us on our exclusive escorted tour, The History and Culture of South Africa will be one of the sons of the late and legendary David Rattray. Douglas or Andrew will be taking guests on a guided tour of some of the important battlefields of the Anglo-Zulu War, bringing the history of these extraordinary sites back to life. We recently had the pleasure of speaking to Douglas, to discover a bit more about him and find out what makes the featured battlefields on the tour such fascinating places to visit.
Douglas Rattray is the middle son of Nicky and David Rattray, and grew up at Fugitive's Drift learning of the stories of the Zulu people and their history from his father and the local community. After finishing boarding school at Michaelhouse in the Natal Midlands, he went off to study conservation in the Western Cape. He completed the practical component of his conservation diploma at Tswalu Game Reserve in the Kalahari, after which he made his way back home, to Fugitive's Drift, where he now lives and works.
Doug is passionate about military history, South Africa's people and their history, and conservation. He takes great pride and pleasure in taking guests of Fugitive's Drift Lodge and Guest House out to the battlefields of Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift, and recounting the stories of two of the most poignant battles of the Anglo-Zulu War; two important battles in British military history.
Informative, immersive, and often emotionally charged tours to the battlefields of Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift leave guests with a better understanding of the valour, courage, and discipline of the British soldiers and Zulu warriors. The stories are told through the eyes of the men who fought and died on these battlefields; they relay the personal experiences of the combatants, focusing on the individual detail.
As one author has put it, the 22nd January 1879 reads like a great Shakespearean tragedy, opening with the disaster at Isandlwana and closing with the restoration of the British military honour at Rorke's Drift.
This campaign was fought at the height of the British Empire, and was in fact the first campaign to be well covered by the British Press. The battle at Isandlwana constituted what was arguably the greatest defeat that the British Empire suffered in her entire colonial history. The battlefield of Isandlwana is immaculately preserved and is regarded as one of the most unspoiled battlefields on earth. It is the site of the greatest triumph of the Zulu Nation, and one of the best examples of resistance to white colonial rule in South Africa.
The battle of Rorke's Drift, which followed almost immediately from the defeat at Isandlwana, is one of the most famous battles that Britain ever fought. In a single action, a brave little band of 139 soldiers - many of whom were sick and disabled - held off over 4,000 Zulu warriors during a battle that raged for over 10 hours, in the dark. This battle saw eleven Victoria Crosses awarded, and five distinguished combat medals. Aside from being an inspiring story of courage in the face of overwhelming odds, the battle was immortalised in the famous film Zulu.
Interested in joining Douglas on the tour? Speak to one of our experts by calling 020 7843 3500 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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