Set on the hillside above the Buffalo River Gorge is the beautiful Fugitive’s Drift Lodge. Steeped in history, this celebrated lodge is situated on the site of the original Rattray homestead – home of the renowned Battlefields storyteller David Rattray. Eight luxurious rooms feature lovely ensuite bathrooms and private verandas that open onto spectacular views of the plains flanking the gorge.
Mouth-watering menus are served in an elegant dining room, filled with Zulu War memorabilia. Guests will delight in the beautiful gardens surrounding the lodge and a sparkling swimming pool, situated on the lip of the Buffalo River Gorge, offers a refreshing retreat from the midday sun. Fugitives’ renowned tours to Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift will have guests spellbound by the wonderful stories told by registered guides who make the history of the regions come alive.
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 the site where Lieutenants Melvill and Coghill lost their lives attempting to save the Queen’s Colour of their regiment is located on the property.
The reserve offers a choice of accommodation in either the Lodge or the Guest House, both owned by the Rattrays and both born out of their extensive experience in the hospitality industry. 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.
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 Annex, or Cottage. The Cottage has been redesigned to have two en-suite bedrooms and a sitting-room. One bathroom has a shower and bath, the other is a small shower-room. It is ideal for small families or couples travelling 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.
Enjoy superb cuisine, a unique fusion of home and modern flavours, in the splendid atmosphere of a veritable museum of Zulu War memorabilia.
In its original state The Guest House was the home of Mr Johan Potgieter and his family. “Mr Pot” was immortalised in Gillian Rattray’s award winning book “The Springing of the Year”. He was one of the great storytellers of this area.
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. It also has an outside eating area which has a stunning view across a plain with Isandlwana in the distance.
Cottages have large, en-suite bedrooms that are individually decorated and all have private verandahs with sweeping views of the reserve and surrounding battlefields. The Guest House boasts a sparkling pool that overlooks Isandlwana and the indigenous bushveld. Superb food and personal service are a feature of this outstanding facility.
Flagship tours to Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift are led by registered tour guides Joseph Ndima, Andrew Rattray and Mphiwa Ntanzi, who are superb storytellers and make the history of that day come alive. Our long family associations with the area and its people allow us to offer you 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.
ISANDLWANA Hear in gripping detail the background to the Anglo-Zulu War as narrated by David Rattray on the Day of the Dead Moon as you are driven to Isandlwana in the early morning. Sit on the battlefield, mesmerised by the remarkable story of this fantastic Zulu victory. There is often some walking involved in the tour. However, arrangements are often and easily made to accomodate guests who are less mobile – please do let us know if this is the case.
RORKE’S DRIFT Listen at sunset to the famous story of Rorke’s Drift, where 139 British soldiers were attacked by 4,000 Zulu warriors, winning more Victoria Crosses than in any other battle in history, returning to the Lodge or Guest House in time for a drink around the fireplace.
MANGENI FALLS The waterfall where Lord Chelmsford found himself at the time of the battle of Isandlwana and the Ingwebeni valley where the Zulu army was discovered prior to the battle. This is an excellent tour which takes in some remarkable geography surrounding the battlefield of Isandlwana.
MASONDO The crack in the Buffalo River where the Zulus crossed the river on their way to Rorke’s Drift. This tour is available either on horseback or by Land Rover.
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) is well worth the long drive: 64 life-size solid bronze wagons now sit on the site of the battle and are a remarkable sight. A visit to the site where the Prince Imperial of France was killed by the Zulus (on 1st June 1879) can be added to the trip to Blood River. This journey traverses some very remote and beautiful parts of Zululand and is one which is rarely undertaken.
HLOBANE, KHAMBULA AND ULUNDI Trips to these Anglo-Zulu War battlefields can be undertaken, but we require advance booking. These trips are full-day trips and will appeal to those who have a particular and specific interest in the Anglo-Zulu War.
WALKS, FISHING AND HORSE RIDING It is quite safe to walk on the property; 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.
MOUNTAIN BIKING We have an ever expanding network of single track ranging from flat to steep, technical and some not so technical. We have plenty of Jeep track (two track). You can either bring your own bike, or we have a small selection available for hire. One of the many perks of cycling on our property is viewing the array of plains game that live here, such as Giraffe, Zebra, Blesbok, Wildebeest , Impala and many more….
All additional tours can be booked with your accommodation through us.