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The Voortrekkers' spirits were at their lowest ebb. The horses and cattle were in poor condition because of the restricted grazing, many Voortrekkers were ill through poor sanitation and it was the middle of winter - no crops would grow for several months. Further, there were few reinforcements arriving.
August 12th 1838 brought another attack by 10,000 Zulus on one of the camps near Estcourt. This attack lasted a full three days and nights.
The Zulu Tactics
First the Zulus would attack and try and burn the wagons, then the Boer horsemen would sally forth and scatter the Zulus. They would then regroup and attack again, burning the grass round the laager. Only on the third day was the attack called off leaving hundreds of dead Zulus. Only one trekker lost his life.
This site was then called Veglaer (Fighting Laager) and has now been covered by the waters of the Wagendrift Dam near Estcourt.
On 23rd September, things got even worse when the Voortrekkers' Natal leader Gert Maritz died after a long illness. A few weeks later, a few Voortrekkers settled at a place called Bushmansrand and renamed it Pietermaritzburg (below) after their dead leaders.