Piet Retief visited King Dingane late in 1837 to negotiate for land for the voortrekkers who had reached the Drakensberg mountains on route from the Cape. The King agreed to allow the voortrekkers to settle in Zululand on condition that Retief recover some cattle that had been stolen from him.
Retief sent word to the voortrekkers that he had succeeded in his negotiations and they began to move into Zululand. Retief recovered the cattle and returned to Mgungundlovu, but on 6 February 1838 Retief and all of his followers were executed on King Dingane’s orders.
The King was very weary of the settlers, as he had seen how the British moved into Natal, so he sent his armies out to rid his land of the newcomers. On 16 & 17 February, ten days after Piet Retief’s execution, several families were attacked and killed at their camps along the banks of the Bloukrans River (later known as the Moordrivier).
The fact that some distance separated the camps meant that there was no chance of a unified defence (such as Blood River) but it did allow time for the Boers further down the river to prepare a defence of sorts, unlike the first camps that were taken by surprise.
By the end of the two days over 500 people had been killed in the Boer camps and the Zulu raiders had suffered similar casualties.
At the site there is a memorial to the Voortrekkers who were killed during the battle.