Battle of Ulundi

Before dawn on 4th July 1879, Lord Chelmsford advanced into Ulundi. At about 07:30, just after the troops had crossed the drift, they formed a hollow square formation comprising of 4156 British soldiers and 1152 African soldiers.

Mounted Troops under Colonel Buller’s command provoked the Zulu’s into an attack and retreated into the British Square. The Zulu impis charged and managed to get within 20 – 30 metres of the British Square, but they faltered under the heavy British fire and their reserves failed to support them.

At 09:35 Lord Chelmsford commanded the 17th Lancers from the rear, while Buller’s flying column of men pursued and routed the fleeing Zulus. The cavalry proceeded to burn the Amakhanda (Cetshwayo’s major military establishment) in the vicinity, while the rest of their column advanced to Mbilane Stream.

This camp, which was situated at Ondini and originally housed 6 000 warriors, was re-built on the original site on the instructions of Cetshwayo’s grandson, Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, in 1974 and is open to the public.

Number of soldiers

  • 122 Officers
  • 2159 British men
  • 456 Zulu Men
  • Zulu Warriors: 15,000 – 20,000


  • British: Three officers and 10 men
  • Zulus: 950 – 1,500 men