About Fugitives' Drift Lodge and Guest House
The Zulu War of 1879 is famous throughout the English-speaking world for the great battles of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift. The spectacular Fugitives’ Drift property, a Natural Heritage Site, overlooks both Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift, and includes the site where Lieutenants Melvill and Coghill lost their lives attempting to save the Queen’s Colour of their regiment. If one tried to dream up geography and topography for the clash between two great nations, one could hardly come up with a more fantastic scene than this one.
It was here that David and Nicky Rattray pioneered Heritage Tourism in South Africa and created an award winning lodge for visitors to savour this extraordinary saga. Led by the finest guides in South Africa, thought-provoking and often emotionally charged tours are conducted daily to Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift. Walks and horserides through the reserve to view abundant game and birdlife are offered as well as fishing the 20km frontage on the Buffalo River.
The reserve offers a choice of accommodation in either the Lodge or the Guest House, both owned by the Rattrays and born out of their extensive experience in hospitality, evident in every corner of Fugitives’ Drift, is their love of South Africa, its people and its unique history.
At Fugitives’ Drift Lodge there are eight spacious luxury twin en-suite rooms. Our annex cottage consists of three twin rooms, two bathrooms and a sitting room. The Lodge, near Rorke’s Drift, is situated on the site of the original Rattray homestead, where David’s parents enjoyed their holidays, and here the seeds of this unique operation took root in those early years.
The Lodge is the original establishment, built by David and Nicky Rattray in 1989 and houses the majority of the memorabilia in the central lounge and dining room area. Spacious luxury en-suite rooms all have a private verandah. A feature of the Lodge is the beautiful shady, well-established garden - home to innumerable birds and a spectacular, large swimming pool situated on a secluded spur on the lip of the Buffalo River Gorge.
The Guest House
At Fugitives’ Drift Guest House there are six luxury twin en-suite rooms. The Guest House was once the home of Mr and Mrs Potgieter who were immortalised in Gillian Rattray’s award-winning book “The Springing of the Year”. This old farmhouse has been altered and now forms the most charming sitting and dining room. The original verandahs have been retained and the outside eating area has a stunning view across a plain with Isandlwana in the distance. The luxury en-suite rooms all have verandahs and sweeping views of the reserve. We also have a guide’s / driver’s room. The Guest House has a large swimming pool with views across the plain.
We serve a full English breakfast, a buffet lunch, tea and cake and a five course dinner.
Corporate Entertaining & Private Functions
The dining room at the Lodge has always proved a huge asset to our often-complimented atmosphere and houses a remarkable collection of Zulu War memorabilia; it will always be our centrepiece. Complementing this, a new venue, the Harford Library, has been built within the grounds of the Lodge. With incredible views over the Buffalo River Gorge and the mountain of Isandlwana, the Harford Library offers a fantastic venue for friends who wish to relax and celebrate, or for executive groups to meet and contemplate the important business lessons which can be drawn from these remarkable stories.
The Harford Library has the capacity to seat 34 guests and has a dedicated kitchen, wireless internet access and an integrated audio/visual system: the possibilities are endless. From lunches and parties to corporate entertaining and think-tanks, the Harford Library will add yet another string to Fugitives' Drift's already powerful bow.
Tours and Activities
On a one night stay we recommend that you arrive between 1 and 2pm in order to join the afternoon tour to Rorke’s Drift. You would then do the Isandlwana tour the following morning and depart after lunch.
On a two night stay you may choose whether to join the tour to Rorke’s Drift on the afternoon of your arrival or to wait until the following afternoon and undertake the tours in the correct historical order.
On a three night stay you may split the tours and go to Isandlwana on the morning after your arrival and Rorke’s Drift on your second afternoon, thereby having the time to relax and enjoy other activities.
Breakfast is at 06:50 and the tour departs from the Lodge / Guest House at 07:30 sharp, returning for lunch at approximately 13:00.
The tour departs from the Lodge/Guest house at 15:15 in summer and at 14:45 in winter and returns in time to have evening drinks around the fire before dinner. Dinner is served at around 20:00.
A walk to see the site where Lieutenants Melvill and Coghill lost their lives in an attempt to save the Queen’s Colour, and where the first two posthumous Victoria Crosses were won. There is no charge for this tour.
The waterfall where Lord Chelmsford found himself at the time of the battle of Isandlwana and the Ingwebeni valley where the Zulus were discovered prior to the battle.
The crack in the Buffalo River where the Zulus crossed the river on their way to Rorke’s Drift. Available either on horseback or by Land Rover to this site.
BLOOD RIVER AND THE SITE WHERE THE PRINCE IMPERIAL WAS KILLED
A trip to Blood River, a battle fought between the Boers and Zulus on 16th December 1838.
The site where the Prince Imperial was killed by the Zulus, on 1st June 1879.
WALKS, FISHING AND HORSE RIDING
It is quite safe to walk on the property; Zulu guides are available to accompany those wishing to walk longer distances. The most popular walk is to the great ledge overlooking several hundred square miles of unspoilt Zululand. There is no charge for this walk. Fishing, horse riding and the hike from Isandlwana to the Buffalo River (the Fugitives’ Trail) are also available.
The Mosondo, Mangeni and Blood River/Prince Imperial tours have to be pre-booked and usually require a minimum of four people.
Airport transfers apply to the Dundee airstrip only.