The spectacular Fugitives’ Drift property overlooks both Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift, where great battles were fought in the famous Anglo Zulu War of 1879. The battle of Isandlwana was one of the greatest military disasters in British colonial history, and the Zulu army wing that went on to attack the tiny British garrison at Rorke’s Drift the next day was beaten off in a battle that lasted all night. Pioneering Heritage Tourism in South Africa, the late David Rattray and his wife Nicky created an award-winning lodge for visitors to savour this extraordinary saga. Evident in every corner of Fugitives’ Drift is the Rattray’s love of South Africa, its people and its unique history.
WHAT MAKES FUGITIVES’ DRIFT SPECIAL?
Fugitives’ Drift is world-renowned for narrating these battles to its visitors, allowing the high drama of those two days to unfold in vivid detail as you are walked through the battles as they happened. Dedicated tours for children under 12 years of age cater to shorter attention spans.
The Fugitives’ Drift Game Reserve, a registered Natural Heritage Site, is a 2 000 hectare private reserve teeming with wildlife, including giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, kudu, nyala and other non–threatening game. There are over 250 species of birds on the property, ranging from the Purple-crested Lourie to the Yellow Weaver, many of which can be seen from the comfort of your veranda.
Fugitives’ Drift boasts two ‘camps’: The Lodge and The Guest House, set 600m apart in colourful, well established gardens. The Lodge’s spacious, luxury en-suite cottages each has a private veranda looking out over the plains flanking the Buffalo River Gorge, with sweeping views of the reserve and surrounding battlefields. A feature of the Guest House is the charming sitting and dining room, filled with fascinating memorabilia. The original verandas have been retained. It also has an outside eating area with a stunning view across a plain, with Isandlwana in the distance.
Enjoy superb cuisine based on a unique fusion of home and modern flavours in the splendid atmosphere of a veritable museum of Zulu War memorabilia, and enjoy the warm personal service that is a feature of this outstanding facility. The Lodge has the most spectacular large swimming pool situated on a secluded spur on the lip of the Buffalo River gorge, while the Guest House has its own sparkling pool that overlooks Isandlwana and the indigenous bushveld.
Flagship tours to Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift are conducted daily by registered tour guides, Joseph Ndima, Andrew Rattray and Mphiwa Ntanzi, who are superb storytellers and make the history of that day come alive. Learn of the bravery and nobility of the Zulu army that advanced on the British Army at the Battle of Isandlwana and inflicted the biggest defeat suffered by the British in their colonial history. Listen at sunset to the famous story of Rorke’s Drift, where 139 British soldiers were attacked by 4000 Zulu warriors - a British victory which saw the award of more Victoria Crosses than in any other battle in history.
Guided bush walks to view the abundant game and birdlife are offered, and a horse ride through the reserve will provide the most fantastic views of this remarkable property and its flora and fauna. Exciting mountain bike trails are available, as are bikes to hire.
A walk down to the Buffalo River will afford an opportunity not only to swim in pools and rapids, but also to try your hand at casting a line. The 22km river frontage offers superb fishing.
Parents and children alike can enjoy the Fugitives’ Drift experience. With the parents away on the full tours, kids are entertained on shorter, more interactive tours led by an experienced guide who will engage and inspire youngsters with stories of the bravery and courage of the British soldiers and the Zulu warriors. These tours will be followed by a game walk and a more cultural encounter, where children can hold a Martini-Henry rifle as used by the British at Rorke’s Drift, as well as a variety of contemporary Zulu assegais, and learn about the traditional usage of medicinal plants. Visits can also be arranged to the nearby Zulu cultural village for a tangible experience of the Zulu way of life.