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 Zululand trip.

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warrior3



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PostSubject: Zululand trip.   Mon Jun 28, 2010 2:18 pm

Hi everyone.
My name is Guy, and I've been lucky enough to have visited Zululand and the battlefields twice now. Once in 2006, and again in 2007, with the Holts tour with Ian Knight. I'm considering visiting the battlefields in march 2011, but this time i would like to do this trip on my bike. The type with no engine! I think it would be fantastic to get out in the open, and just peddle. Obviously this trip will have to be well planned. It would keep the cost down as well. Would any enthusiast like to join me on my adventure, as i Have absolutely no friends at all into the Zulu Wars!!


Cheers

Guy
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PostSubject: Re: Zululand trip.   Mon Jun 28, 2010 2:34 pm

Interesting idea. You would be wise to have at least 2-3 other cyclists with you, preferably with at least one Zulu speaker.

Cross country cycling has yet to take off in that part of South Africa, though there are some mountain biking events and some 'triathlon' events use mountain bikes rather than purely road bikes.

I would not expect the heat to trouble you much - you could always stop and rest - but the very strong sunshine would require care to be taken. It would also be very unwise to risk abrasions or other injuries since you would largely have to look after your own first aid or trust to passing motorists. On a good day you could at least 'push/carry' a suitable bicycle along most of the Fugitives Trail, and ride it in places, so a long-ish round trip out of a parked vehicle at Rorke's Drift would be do-able. It would at least gibve the lammergeiers a family outing......
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PostSubject: Re: Zululand trip.   Mon Jun 28, 2010 2:43 pm

Sorry, I should have added that the valley bottoms (Buffalo/Batshe/Manzimnyama) can all very very humid, especially after rain. However, if you trained up for it and took things very steadily then it could be done. Since the visibility of the Fugitives Trail is very dependent on the state of growth of local vegetation, I would not positively recommend taking it on with a bike in tow. I'm simply saying that it could be done though very laboriously in places. So, allow plenty of time and start early to get the best of the morning cool.

Quite whether it would be worth taking bikes all the way out there - or somehow obtaining them in KZN - is something else to ponder over.

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PostSubject: Re: Zululand trip.   Mon Jun 28, 2010 2:48 pm

And, of course, you would need to take stock of the state of the Buffalo River. That could be assessed at either Vants Drift or at Rorke's Drift. If a bit marginal. you could still have a good day out at Isandlwana, and possibly even get out to Mangeni Falls and back if you were really keen. Not much point getting all the way to the Fugitives Drift only to come back again. If you can safely cross the Drift by wading or or doggy pddle, then you could probably get your bike across too - using some sort of improvised flotation and ropes, or, on a really favourable day when the upstream pool is shallower, simply by dragging it through the water (on ropes if necessary).
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johann engelbrecht



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PostSubject: Re: Zululand trip.   Mon Jun 28, 2010 3:11 pm

Do not forget about the Northern Battlefields.... Hlobane, Khambula and especially Enthombe Drift!!! Looking for accomodation look at [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] .These are easily reached from the main road i.e. R33 [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] March is a good time, not so hot any more, but the rivers can be in flood! Would be great to visit the Enthombe site on the 12th March 2011 exactly 132 years after the fatefull day!!
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PostSubject: Re: Zululand trip.   Mon Jun 28, 2010 3:20 pm

You might be able to cycle and walk up Hlobane but it would be fairly heavy labour and quite a lot of the top would be fairly risky cycling even if following discernible tracks.

Khambule has particularly cloying soil when wet and might not be much fun for cycling, though would be fine when very dry. You would need to think through where your startpoint should be, or it would be another outing for the lammergeiers. Even George Mossop didn't have the opportunity to cycle down the Devil's Pass, so you could sell tickets for that! Though you could, very carefully, get down the Pass whilst hand carrying a bike there would be significant risk of an accident. Even when younger, I would not take that risk.

Ntombi (or Meyer's) Drift is also a bit of a flog, unless starting out from Luneburg by pre-arranging to leave a vehicle at the school there.
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warrior3



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PostSubject: Zululand trip.   Mon Jun 28, 2010 3:26 pm

Thanks for peoples input so far. Just to say that i will be hiring a guide for Fugitives and Hlobane.
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: Zululand trip.   Mon Jun 28, 2010 3:50 pm

HI warrior3. Welcome to the forum. I hope your trip goe's well. Try dropping Ken Gillings a P.M He is one of the best guide's there is. His knowledge his endless. He will be able to give you all the information you need to undertake your venture. Idea

Sorry forgot to say Ken is a member on the forum.
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ADMIN

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PostSubject: Re: Zululand trip.   Mon Jun 28, 2010 3:57 pm

warrior3. Here's a link to some of Kens posts.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Just scroll down until you see his name.

Just click on his name. click on PM. Write message and send.

I know he is a way at present on one of his battlefield guilds. But he will pick up his message on his return.
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Neil Aspinshaw

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PostSubject: Re: Zululand trip.   Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:50 am

The Fugitives Trail on a Bike!, phew, unless you are a total extreme cyclist I rather think you'll be carrying the bike. No Disses to Holts, but did you do the trail beyond the Manzimyama?, its 100% change from the river onwards.

Apart from the first mile, on the downward slope to the first deep gulley, thats about your lot, January was my seventh Fug Trail, it changes every time as the vegetation is now obscuring the white markers, making the terrain difficult to follow.

After the Manzimyama the trail is difficult enough on foot, never mind a bike, the first ascent in now rock to rock, and the overhead bush now means you spend most of the time stooping. The swampy area is impossible on a bike, and the final descent to the river a steep scramble. If the Buffalo is athing like Jan, running three feet up and like a train, erm, I'll stick to the Kyack from FDL.

I was talking to some of the guys from FDL who did the Ratrace, and the ride from Isandlwana to RD is about 1 & 1/2 hours.

The idea is sound, but I'l stick to our 4 x 4 and shanks's pony ta
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PostSubject: Re: Zululand trip.   Tue Jun 29, 2010 12:17 pm

I'm in full agreement with Neil on the lack of wisdom in attempting it but then it isn't me who wishes to do these things. The Fugitives Trail could still possibly be done [u]with[/u] a bike (as an awkwardly carried load in places) but - as pointed out - only parts of it could be done [u]on[/u] a bike and even then subject to the very variable local conditions. If you can walk somewhere then broadly speaking you can generally walk it carrying and pushing a bicycle. That said, I have seen mountain bikes appear in extraordinary places, including in the Dolomites and the mountains and forests of the Innsbruck area. However, what is plainly present is the constant and unquantifiable risk of injury and stranding and perhaps seriously so. Grappling with a bike might also mean not spotting some of the occasional snakes on the trail that might elect to hold their ground.

Nevertheless, and leaving out the Trail, there is still a lot that can be seen by mountain bike but it may not be easy or much fun in some weather and ground conditions. Which is, perhaps, why you hardly ever see anybody doing it.

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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Zululand trip.   Tue Jun 29, 2010 8:12 pm

Gabion. I see you’re a man up for a challenge. Its good to know England still as some with the get up and go inside them.
I wish you well with this venture, and of cause we would expect some Video footage and photographs. (Not that we are asking for photographic evidence) If I was young enough I would join you, but we don’t want another fatality on the Fugitives Trail. Idea
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Zululand trip.   Wed Jun 30, 2010 7:27 am

Gabion
I admire your fortytude.
However let me briefly say what Neil Alludes to..............Fugitives trail by bike cant be done. If its a case of carrying the bike then thats hardly biking! I was there a few weeks ago, as was Neil, the bush is over hanging to the degree that I couldnt imagine trying it with a bike on my back.
Good Luck anyway, I do love an optomist.

Regards
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PostSubject: Re: Zululand trip.   Wed Jun 30, 2010 11:20 am

Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3....
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PostSubject: Re: Zululand trip.   Wed Jun 30, 2010 11:27 am

My point is that anybody who particularly wished to set off from (say) Rorke's Drift by bike and make a round trip back to there via the Fugitives Trail and Drift could indeed do so.

Not without risk, and taking a great deal of effort, and subject to the state of the river and ground conditions.

I'm not saying it would be easy, or fun.

I have visited this area and trail at regular intervals and frequently over most of the last 60 years. Hardier locals tend not to make such heavy weather of it as casual visitors. There are good and bad times to go down it and those visiting in January might well find that conditions are very unfavourable. But, they improve during drier periods and especially when the river is low and the grass and undergrowth has reduced.

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Mr Greaves

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PostSubject: Re: Zululand trip.   Thu Jul 01, 2010 7:20 am

How long would it take to complete such a task.

Gabion Says
Quote :
"I have visited this area and trail at regular intervals and frequently over most of the last 60 years."

Gabion may I ask your age. scratch

Mr G.
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PostSubject: Re: Zululand trip.   Thu Jul 01, 2010 9:33 am

Ageless
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Zululand trip.   Thu Jul 01, 2010 11:21 am

Gabion
As a thought, what would Amafas' opinion be to a mountain bike on a heritage site?

Regards
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PostSubject: Re: Zululand trip.   Thu Jul 01, 2010 12:39 pm

You do raise a very good point.

Much of what we now see and experience on the Trail arises from implementing the site development planning of the former Kwa Zulu Haritage Coouncil. So, amongst other initiatives such as enclosing the battlefield heritage site; authorising the building of Isandlwana Lodge; fencing to contain the game animals now grazing there; and various measures and changes to the pattern of use; now having the overall effect of the bush regrowing to the extent it has.

Part of the purpose of these changes was to try to slow down the extent of erosion and in particular to the area immediately to the west of the Isandlwana feature and the area where the old road used to run. So, the effect of bicycle wheels would undoubtedly contribute to erosion and there is also the issue of maintaining the dignity and tranquility of what is really a large multi-ethnic war grave.

So, were this sort of activity to 'start small' (with maybe half a dozen peole doing it a year) sooner or later it could 'grow big', and raise both of the concerns that I have just mentioned.

Several factors contribute to the increasing obscuration of the trail, and quite a part of that is very much reduced walking activity along it.

Also, the marked/painted or cut trail effectively became symbolic over time since the historic flight of the Fugitives would have been over a broader and now indeterminable corridor though probably with some canalising and contouring caused by encountering the bog on the slopes of Mpethi and the need to gain height so as to be able to follow on down to the area of the drift. Interestingly, and because the marked/cut trail was simply intended to asist with direction finding towards the Drift, there has never been any interest in keeping it cleared or conserved as such. My understanding is that the original paint marking west of the Manzimnyama owes its origins to the Dundee MOTHs who were once very active in organising an annual walk along the trail and in assisting those involved with crosdsing the Drift safely. Others will know, but I don't think Fugitives Drift Lodge is anything like as active as it once was in its earlier days in guiding people along the trail; though that would depend upon demand, I agree.

So as to clarify my position, I would not be advocating that this already vulnerable site and trail should become a focus for some sort of running or sporting activity. This is, I would agree, highly unlikely in the short term. However, who can predict what might happen there in future if the site became increasingly proprietorialised by any of the current or future operators who gain revenues by exploiting it. As you infer, I would expect Amafa as the trustee body to discourage any activity that might lead to these worsening effects and they would be right to do so.

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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Zululand trip.   Thu Jul 01, 2010 1:48 pm

Cabion

Im in full agreement. And yes the marked trail is but a slice of the original flight path.
Once upon a time Davids sons were around to assist people crossing the drift. Its still possible to arrange, if you are a guest, for assistance both from FD and Isandlawana Lodges.
I personaly would be very much against any form of 'simplifying ' the route. Its beauty is in its wild state, only in this condition can one appreciate the fugitives plight, albeit the area is vastly over grown.

Regards
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old historian2

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PostSubject: Re: Zululand trip.   Thu Jul 01, 2010 9:48 pm

There are some photo's of the trial somewhere. Can anyone post a link.
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: Zululand trip.   Thu Jul 01, 2010 9:52 pm

Gabion. This is Jamie's website. You will find this very usefull.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
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joe

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PostSubject: Re: Zululand trip.   Thu Jul 01, 2010 9:56 pm

Hi Littlehand,
How do you navigate around the Jamies website?

thanks joe
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: Zululand trip.   Thu Jul 01, 2010 9:58 pm

Try now Joe.
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old historian2

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PostSubject: Re: Zululand trip.   Thu Jul 01, 2010 10:00 pm

Thanks Littlehand. Idea
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joe

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PostSubject: Re: Zululand trip.   Thu Jul 01, 2010 10:00 pm

Cheers Idea
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Chard1879

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PostSubject: Re: Zululand trip.   Thu Jul 01, 2010 10:25 pm

I have just spent the last 40 mins looking at Jamie's site. (Wow!!!) Excellent. Is he a member/ ex-member.
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90th

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PostSubject: zululand trip   Fri Jul 02, 2010 4:44 am

hi Chard1879.
As far as I am aware Jamie is still a current member . Idea .
cheers 90th.
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Zululand trip.   Sat Jul 03, 2010 2:12 am

Neil say's
Quote :
"If the Buffalo is anything like Jan, running three feet up and like a train"
Is that true, because that very fast. Which river feeds the Buffalo.
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