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Visiting Rorkes Drift

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Kent
posts: 42
reviews: 2
Visiting Rorkes Drift

Thinking about visiting Rorkes Drift as part of our independent fly-drive tour of South Africa. Will be leaving Elephant Plains game lodge in Kruger mid morning. Questions are:

- Is it worth the effort to go to Rorkes Drift?

- How long would it take us to drive to Rorkes Drift from Kruger ?

- How do you go about booking a tour of the battlefields?

- Are there other places worth visiting nearby? - we are planning to move on to Durban to fly down to Port Elizabeth.

Stanley, Falkland...
posts: 27,989
reviews: 54
1. Re: Visiting Rorkes Drift

Hi Sindy,

Worth the effort? Well, I think so, but that depends on whether you are interested in the place or events its famous for. I was there a couple of years ago, and I don't think I've ever had such a memorable and moving experience in many African trips.

Not sure how long it would take. Probably need an overnight stop somewhere. Some locals are better at journey times than me.

Your accommodation may well provide the tours, or easily arrange them. I can thoroughly recommend Fugitives Drift Lodge. Compforable, family-run, and expert guides.

Dozens of places worth visiting - Battlefields, Ladysmith, St Lucia, Drakensberg, etc, etc., but not sure how long you have? Or what you consider 'nearby'?

Cape Town
posts: 210
reviews: 1
2. Re: Visiting Rorkes Drift

Rorke's Drift isn't particularly compelling as a destination on its own - you minimally need Isandlwana to go with it and a guide to help reveal what happened where and when on the landscape. There is a small museum and local guides are available at Rorke's Drift itself. There is also a famous art centre there (completely unrelated to the battlefields) that has trained some of South Africa's most famous artists - worth a squizz, even though it has lost some of its lustre in recent years.

I estimate you'll need 6 hours on the road from Orpen Gate to get to Rorke's Drift (assuming Lydenburg > Ermelo > Newcastle > Dundee is your route). There can be slow-moving coal trucks on the road, so leave yourself time for delays.

I agree with Peterscot - Fugitive's Drift is a great place to stay for two nights, visit the battlefields with expert guides, and stay in real comfort. Not in everyone's budget, however.

There is also an association of accredited battlefields guides ("Provincial Tourist Guides Association of KwaZulu Natal Battlefields" - website is www.battlefieldsregionguides.co.za) if you want an independent guide. The website provides lists and profiles of the various guides, with their contact information.

My suggestion would be to also view some of the Zulu sites in the region (near Ulundi) as a way of understanding the context for the battles and the history since. Visiting Cetshwayo's kraal and the graves of the Zulu kings are powerful experiences, and will give you insight into the regiment structures and other links between the cultural and military aspects of Zulu traditions. I can recommend Wilfred Mchunu as a guide who can do both the battlefields and the Zulu cultural aspects - wilfredmchunu@yahoo.com or contact me by private message for his mobile number. Many of the other guides can also take you to the Zulu sites, but having a Zulu guide makes a difference - just make sure whichever guide you choose for the Zulu sites speaks fluent isiZulu. I believe the guides at Fugitive's Drift can also guide to the Zulu sites, so if you're considering staying there you might ask.

HTH

Kurt

posts: 10
reviews: 2
3. Re: Visiting Rorkes Drift

Hi Sindy,

This will be a slightly skewed response to your query but as a resident of Rorke's Drift and someone involved in the tourism business I think I may be qualified to give you an answer.

The storyteller guides at Rorke's Drift are specialists in giving you an experience you will never forget. Their knowledge of South African history is enviable and you can be assured of an experience second to none. There are options to suit every budget from the Zulu guides at the museum/battlefield of Rorke's Drift to the inhouse guides at the Lodges and the independent guides. The story of Rorke's Drift is not complete without adding the bit about Isandlwana as the two events took place on the same day and are inextricably linked. This can be done in one day. However, there is nothing like sitting on the verandah of one of the Lodges and having a birds eyeview of the battlefields. The standard of accommodation of the Lodges surrounding the battlefields is excellent and well worth a visit.

Rorke's Drift has a complicated history and there are significant milestones in its history from the time of James Rorke who established the settlement in the first place right through the Colonial era and into the dreaded Apartheid era.

Your drive from the Kruger and especially Elephant Plains Lodge which is high up in the Kruger will be about 7,5 hours. So you need to make provision for a days journey. However, you cross some very appealing terrain on the way and the journey is not wasted.

Durban is then either 3,5 or 4,5 hours away depending on which route you take. And then, just as an aside. When hiring your car.................make sure you hire a vehicle that can traverse dirt roads, tyres should be in good nick and those tiny little dinky toys are not the best option.

Gauteng
posts: 23
reviews: 1
4. Re: Visiting Rorkes Drift

Fugitive's Drift is an amazing place and well worth the effort, BUT, it is a very long drive from Elephant Plains in the northern Sabi Sand and I personally think that 7.5 hours is a very conservative estimate of how long it will take you to drive. You could ofcourse rather fly from Nelspruit/Kruger Mpumalanga Int Airport to Durban (one direct flight daily), do what ever you want to do in and around the Durban area and then drive up to Fugitives at Rorke's Drift.

5. Re: Visiting Rorkes Drift

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