The Voortrekkers
The Great Trek Arrives in Natal; Retief fails to see Dingane
The Trek Arrives in Natal
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voortrekkersRetief had descended the mountains with a small group of men and had been given the news that Dingane the Zulu king had given them most of Southern Natal. The Voortrekkers had heard the good news and were streaming towards the Drakensberg passes - unbeknownst to them that at that very time, Louis Tregardt was doing the same thing 200 miles to the north.

Retief's daughter Deborah scratched her father's name into a rock at the summit of the drakensberg where they were camped whilst Retief was away seeing Dingane. THe Voortrekkers named the camp Kerkenberg after two boulders resembling a church.

The Voortrekkers however were unaware that Retief had been unable to meet with Dingane personally because the Tugela River that marked the border between Natal and Zululand had been in flood. It was only as a result of a shouted conversation with Zulus across the river that he gained the impression that the land was free to settle.

The first look at the promised land

Potgieter and Uys very reluctantly followed the Maritz Voortrekkers over the mountains. Potgieter in particular was filled with foreboding that there would be great trouble in Natal. One old boer before descending the Drakensberg commented 'Woe to the country that has a shadow on its border'. He was very prophetic. On Retief's descent of the Drakensberg, he passed a group of warriors herding cattle before them up the mountains. The chief was called Sikyonela and would eventually contribute to the end of Retief.

Next . . . the Voortrekkers attempt make contact with Dingane.