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“We had looked foward to this trip and were not disappointed..” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Fugitive's Drift

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Fugitive's Drift
Rorke's Drift 3016, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
London UK
Top Contributor
133 reviews 133 reviews
46 hotel reviews
Reviews in 79 cities Reviews in 79 cities
75 helpful votes 75 helpful votes
“We had looked foward to this trip and were not disappointed..”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2012

From the moment of our arrival we were made to feel as family guests of the Rattray family and their staff at this charming lodge set in the heart of Kwazulu. The rooms are spacious and while not being Intercontinental Hotel have all mod cons and very large comfortable beds! Meals are taken at a communal table where you meet interesting like minded folk. The food is delicious made from well sourced local ingredients- wine list not bad either- lunch is similarly served at the fairly new library building where there are magnificent views across the Buffalo River gorge , the game park and hills towards Isandlwana.
There is a good swimming pool ideal for cooling after the days dust!
The lodge offers game walks , rides and other excursions but the highlight are the accompanied ( you pay extra but well worth it) battlefield tours with their own in house guides. We had Andrew Rattray - the son of the late owner- who demonstrated his in depth knowledge and passion for the period and kept us mesmerised for 4/5 hours each day with his anecdotes and the history

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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188 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (52)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
scotland
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 29, 2012

A brief comment about this unusual experience. The very recent reviews are accurate and realistic. Don't expect ultra modern decor and Hilton style rooms. They are large, comfortable, well appointed, clean and deliberately old fashioned in style. The whole set up is first rate. You feel that you are guests in the Rattray home, until, of course, you have to pay the bill. There is little point in coming here if you are not interested in sharing and learning the poignant stories of the nearby battlefields and don't miss on the walk down to the river to see the drift where Melvil and Coghill died. I appreciate that we have our different perspectives on experiences but to describe the meals as being like school dinners is quite ridiculous. I wish I had gone to that school.The meals are excellent but are relatively simple, as you might expect in such a remote location. To describe the talk on Rorke's drift by Andrew as being like the head boy in the school play is not only inaccurate but demeans the considerable skill with which the information is delivered. It is first rate as is the description of Isandhlwana by the Zulu guide. He's a wonderful story teller and sitting in the shade of a tree, sipping a cup of tea, looking out on the killing field marked by white stone cairns dotted over the hillside and listening (and watching) him bring the whole awful episode to life is something I shall never forget. A superb experience from start to finish.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gocek
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2012

We had heard great things if this lodge, all of which were met and in many cases surpassed. The Lodge is superbly run, has a great atmosphere and it is hard to fault anything about it. Our only complaint was one of less than fresh smelling towels in our room. We have experienced this before in South Africa and can only think that ecologically friendly cool wash cycles are not hot enough to kill bacteria. Back to our experience - our room (4) was large and spacious with an enormous bathroom complete with easy chair. The food was excellent and served around a nicely decorated long table around which all the guests happily mingled and exchanged accounts of their various experiences of the day. The Battlefield tours were outstanding and extremely moving. Many a tear was shed. The Lodge is set in a game reserve which is an added plus. Apart from the Battlefield tours, do not miss the walk down to the Drift itself which adds a third dimension to the whole experience. Two nights here (three if you have the time) will be well rewarded

Room Tip: We enjoyed room number 4, but were not able to compare this with any other so cannot say whether or...
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Watford, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2012

Fugitives Drift was recommended to us for an amazing place to visit.
I would 100% agree. This is a wonderful place to visit, the lodges are very large, clean, and have everything you need. The staff are great and we felt very welcome. The food was excellent and there was always plenty. You ate your meals with the other guests so you soon made new friends. We spent five days here and didn't run out of places to visit. The tours are so interesting and the guides bring it all to life. The scenery from Halfords library were just breath taking. The roads are petty awful gettting about, but it's certainly worth it.

Room Tip: I think it's the luck of the draw, but they looked similar to me.
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Plymouth, United Kingdom
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2012

I had the pleasure of visiting Fugitive's Drift several years ago and had the privilege of hearing David Rattray tell the story of the battle of Rorke's Drift. I returned again, just a few days ago, and I have to say it was better than ever. The way Andrew Rattray has stepped into the place of his late Father and the passion and sincerity in which he portrays the battle at Rorke's Drift left everyone feeling incredibly honoured to have stood on that small piece of South African land and feel every emotion and detail of the battle was amazing.
The lodge has everything one could wish for - even down to a UK 3 pin socket. Early morning tea, brought to your room and served on the veranda overlooking the African scenery is something you would not forget. The tours were accompanied by knowledgeable guides and returning to the lodge for a swim in the pool before drinks on the terrace followed by a delicious multi course dinner enjoyed in the company of like minded people is something that cannot be equalled. It is not the cheapest place on earth but one gets what one pays for and if you are in a position to enjoy this incredible experience, I would recommend that you book up soon. Something never to be forgotten All the staff were thoroughly competent and engaging. A horse ride is an added bonus and to enjoy the wildlife within the 5000 acres of game park is a wonderful memory We wish them all at Fugitive's Drift continued success for the future.

Room Tip: All rooms are good. If you require easy access to the dining room etc. choose room 3 or similar. I...
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Doncaster, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
82 reviews 82 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 48 cities Reviews in 48 cities
67 helpful votes 67 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2012

During our 3 week stay in South Africa we stayed in some fantastic hotels and guest houses. Sadly, this was not one of them.
Like one of the other reviewers, we felt we were paying a hefty price for a less than quality experience.
There is a whiff of snobbishness about this place and we were left also, I quote 'with a feeling of a well-oiled machine' trading on the Rattray name.
Food is mediocre( think school dinners). Our room was dark with little natural light and a cold concrete floor.
The talk at Rorkes Drift brought to mind the head boy in a school play taking centre stage for 2 hours.
This was a most disappointing experience and one which we would not recommend.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NJR285, Owner at Fugitive's Drift, responded to this review, February 10, 2012
Thanks very much for your feedback. We are all naturally very disappointed that you did not enjoy your stay with us. As you will have seen from the long list of views below your review, almost everyone who stays with us has a world-class experience and finds Fugitives’ Drift to be one the highlights of their holiday, if not their lives.

To respond to the specific points you make in your review, most people, as indicated in the other reviews, believe that we offer very good value for money and that our food is of a very good standard.

Obviously, we are in the bush and our menu reflects the outstanding abilities of our staff and the ingredients we are able to obtain. Delicious home-made food. To call it ‘mediocre’ when so many others have complimented us, would seem to suggest that you were expecting something other than what you booked.

You say that the room was dark. Our rooms are not dark; they all have plenty of large windows. They are shaded by large trees – it becomes very hot here and without the shade, the rooms would be uncomfortable. Likewise, the screed floors are based on the traditional African building methods of polished mud floors. These also keep the rooms cool and are liberally scattered with rugs if you need somewhere warm to put your feet!

As far as the Rattray ‘experience’ is concerned, I am very happy that you should think we are a ‘well-oiled machine’ as this would seem to imply that the lodge is well run and consistent. We agree!

As to your specific and very harsh criticism of the talk at Rorke’s Drift and what you call ‘trading on the Rattray name’, we are indeed very proud of our name and of our achievements both in the community and in building tourism to the area. You are no doubt aware that January (when you stayed) saw the fifth anniversary of the death of my late husband David, who was the pioneer of battlefield tourism in South Africa and we do indeed pride ourselves on how we perpetuate his legacy day in, day out, in one of the poorest areas of our country. All of our guides worked with David and all of them are accomplished public speakers with an unrivalled knowledge of their field. We are particularly proud, in this milestone year, that Andrew, David’s and my eldest son, has taken on his mantle with such enthusiasm and that he is receiving such enthusiastic reviews from his guests for his outstanding talks both at Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift. He is a chip off the old block and we are very excited that he is able to carry on in David’s story-telling tradition.

It is unfortunate that you were less than fully satisfied with your time at Fugitives Drift. We aim to please all the people all of the time and in your case, we seem to have failed but the vast majority of guests coming here are treated to exactly what they hoped for, and in many cases they get so much more!

Yours sincerely
NIcky Rattray
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hitchin
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2012

This was the 3rd part of our holiday in SA and the best. The place was comfortable, the people friendly, the food top class. They even had electric blankets which in the evening were needed. the Ratray's make you feel at home. The place is full of history with all the artefacts about and the guides telling the stories of the battles are able to make everything come to life. This place is really not just about learning about the Zulu wars and you dont have to love history to enjoy it. Even a teenager would be engrossed by the place.
Its very remote and if you are driving there on your own it would be easy to think you have gone the wrong way. Do your homework before you go. Take binoculars

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Fugitive's Drift

Address: Rorke's Drift 3016, South Africa
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Rorke's Drift
Amenities:
Free Parking Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Specialty Lodging in Rorke's Drift
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Fugitives' Drift Lodge, established by David and Nicky Rattray 19 years ago, has become world famous for the passionate stories, delivered by our resident lecturers, given on the battlefields of the Anglo-Zulu War. Our flagship tours, conducted daily, are to the battlefields of Rorke's Drift and Isandlwana. The Lodge and Guest House both feature luxury accommodation with pools, horse riding and fantastic game walks through this remarkable terrain. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Fugitive`s Drift Hotel Rorke`s Drift
Fugitive's Drift South Africa/KwaZulu-Natal

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