Fugitive’s Drift

Location: KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
One Stop Reason to Go: The sheer history that is associated with this lodge is astounding and at times emotional.

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Fugitives’ Drift, 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 during the famous Zulu War of 1879.

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 horse rides through the reserve to view abundant game and birdlife are offered as well as fishing the 20km frontage on the Buffalo River.

Evident in every corner of Fugitives’ Drift is the Rattrays’ love of South Africa, its people and its unique history. Both the Lodge and Guest House have spacious and luxurious en-suite cottages which all have private verandahs and broad views over the plains flanking the Buffalo River Gorge. The Lodge and Guest House both have swimming pools set in their colourful, well established gardens, which are home to innumerable bird species.

The Lodge: This is situated on the site of the original Rattray homestead where David’s parents Peter and Gillian came for their holidays and here the seeds of this unique operation took root in those early years.

Spacious, luxury en-suite cottages each have a private verandah affording views over the plains flanking the Buffalo River Gorge.

The Lodge is also home to the newly renovated Annex, or Cottage. The Cottage has been redesigned to have two en-suite bedrooms – one bathroom has a shower and bath, the other is a small shower-room – and a sitting room. It is ideal for small families or couples traveling together.

Another feature of the Lodge is the beautiful, shady, well-established garden, home to innumerable birds, and the most spectacular large swimming pool situated on a secluded spur on the lip of the Buffalo River gorge. Guests can enjoy superb cuisine, a unique fusion of home and modern flavours, in the splendid atmosphere of a veritable museum of Zulu War memorabilia.

The Guest House: This was the home of Mr. Johan Potgieter or ‘Mr. Pot’ and his family, an incredible storyteller of the area who was immortalised in Gillian Rattray’s award winning book, The Springing of the Year.

Mr. Pot’s house has been turned into the most charming sitting and dining room, filled with fascinating memorabilia. The original verandahs have been retained, there’s an outside eating area, which has a stunning view across a plain with Isandlwana in the distance as well as sparkling pool, which shares the incredible plain views. Superb food and personal service is a feature of this outstanding facility

The Farmhouse: This charming stone and corrugated iron roof building dates from the 1920’s and was the home of a Zulu War expert, George Buntting, and where as a young boy, David Rattray spent many holidays. It was from George that David developed his passion for history and his particular interest in the Anglo Zulu War.

The farmhouse is at the top of the reserve with three bedrooms (and a very small 4th bedroom), sitting room with fireplace, dining room, kitchen and only one bathroom, with a bath, basin and toilet. There is a double rose hot shower outside and the whole house has a wonderful view of Isandlwana

Guests interested in this accommodation must be aware that this house, although having electricity, comfortable beds and hot water, is somewhat rustic. David did not want the dwelling changed on account of his special childhood memories here.

KwaGeorge: An addition to Fugitives’ Drift is in the grounds of Umzinyathi Farmhouse; aptly named KwaGeorge which means, Place of George in the Zulu language. The cottage consists of a twin bedroom, en suite shower and verandah. Meals are served at the Lodge or Guest House, which does mean that guests staying at KwaGeorge will be required to drive themselves to and from the Lodge or Guest House for all meals and for the tours.

Fugitives’ Drift has become world-renowned for its battlefield tours to all the Zulu War battle sites in the region, particularly the battles of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift. Registered tour guides Rob Caskie and Joseph Ndima, who are superb storytellers and make history come alive, lead flagship tours to Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift. The family’s long associations with the area and its people allow Fugitives’ Drift to offer guests some unique Zulu perspectives. Learn of the bravery and mobility of the Zulu army that defeated the British Army at the Battle of Isandlwana and 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.

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