Tourism, Accommodation and Historical Attractions in Natal, South Africa

The Natal Battlefields

The Voortrekkers - Andries Pretorius

Andries Pretorius arrived to the aid of the rudderless Voortrekkers below the Drakensberg.

Andries Pretorius

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Cometh the Hour . . .

Things eventually began to improve the sorry state of the trekkers. A ship full of provisions had arrived, the grass had begun to grow and on 22nd November 1838, Andries Pretorius and 60 men and sixty wagons arrived.

Pretorius had been a volunteer when Potgieter had sacked Kapain and had carried the news to the Voortrekkers in Natal but had returned to the Eastern Cape to farm despite being entreated to join the trek. Eventually, in October of 1838 he changed his mind and rode north, gathering men capable of taking the field as he went.

Pretorius was six feet tall with a paunch but the Zulus called him Ngalonkulu - brawny arms. He was described as shrewd, charming and sensible and lost no time after his joyous reception amongst the Voortrekkers in getting things done. He removed all the old partisan animosities and established strict military discipline.

Reinforcements Arrive

Combined with the small trekker group from Durban, almost five hundred men and over sixty wagons loaded with provisions and gunpowder moved into Zululand to take vengeance. With them were three small muzzle loading 2" cannons. At the end of each day, the wagons were drawn into laager and sentries posted.

The strategy was simple - march straight to Umgungundlovu until the enemy was encountered.

The Covenant

The would-be cleric of the trekkers, Erasmus Smit had been left behind and the 'poet of the trekkers' Sarel Cilliers now felt compelled to do something more than hold the daily services.

After obtaining the approval of the commando leaders, at the service at Danskraal (monument, right), standing on one of the gun carriages, he promised that should they be successful against the Zulus, they would dedicate a day in honour of the event and build a church to the Lord. This pledge was repeated by all on the commando every night until the Zulus were encountered.

Pretorius forces the Zulus to attack a heavily defended laager at Blood River . . .

Next: The Voortrekkers take Revenge for Bloukrans at Blood River

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