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One Hundred Years On

BADEN-POWELL’S CAMPAIGNS
IN THE MATOPOS HILLS

A look at what Baden-Powell actually did in 1896

Apr 21 Baden-Powell then in Belfast, Ireland, receives orders to proceed to Bulawayo, Rhodesia via Southampton and Cape Town.

May 19 Baden-Powell arrives in Cape Town, and from there travels to Mafeking by steam train, and onward to Bulawayo by a mule driven Zeederberg Coach (identical to the one presently in the Bulawayo Museum).

Jun 2 Baden-Powell arrives in Bulawayo and is appointed Chief Staff Officer1 to Col. Plumer. His duties include being responsible for the gathering of intelligence.

The Zeederberg Coach in which Baden-Powell travelled
Zeederberg Coach bulawayo
Mafeking To Bulawayo
Ten days and nights by coach

Jun 6 Baden-Powell plays an active part in the battle of Umguza.

Jul 13 Now that the rebels have withdrawn to the fastnesses of the Matopos Hills, Baden-Powell moves with the remainder of the MRF to the newly established base camp. He makes several reconnaissance’s into the Matopos Hills, collecting valuable information on the geography of the hills and the location of the rebel forces.

Jul 20 Baden-Powell takes part in the Nkantola battle, leading a column of Cape Boys and Native levies2 across the Tuli gorge.




1 100 years later, one can sense that Baden-Powell may not have been one of the most popular of officers amongst the men with his sometimes rather novel “don night cap before sleeping” pieces of advice, such as this particular gem: “Washing is not to be commended as a practice on the veldt. Bathing ‘the altogether’ is apt to bring on fever, and too frequent washing of the hands and face is apt to render them susceptible to veldt sores".

2 Baden-Powell was known amongst the native troops as “Colonel Baking-Powder”.

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Acknowledgements:-Dave Anderson
Colin Anderson
BGK