|Change text size here:|
Returning, they came upon the camp of a trek party that had crossed the Vaal (dark) River against instructions. All had been massacred. There was further bad news - a hunting party had been attacked by the Matabele and had fared badly.
The Matabele territory extended over 30,000 sq. kms and while Mzilikazi did not dislike white men, all who entered his kingdom were expected to enter through Kuruman where missionary Robert Moffat could screen them. Further, he was exceedingly sensitive about his Southern border, the traditional route of invading Zulu armies.
Survivors from the attack on the hunting party had warned the settler camp but were not believed. Riding on, they warned the next camp which took appropriate action by forming a laager at the bend on the Vaal River. 35 men succeeded in driving off 500 Matabele warriors who eventually retired to Mzilikazi's military kraal at Kapain with assorted wagons, stock and two white girls.
As Potgieter returned to his base on the Sand River, the Voortrekkers were retreating from their land as fast as their stock would allow and some were retiring still further, back to Blesberg where the second wave of the Great Trek had arrived.