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“Zulu Battlefields” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Fugitive's Drift

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Rorke's Drift 3016, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Northampton, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
“Zulu Battlefields”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 21, 2012

Just stayed at Fugitives Drift Lodge in the heart of the Zulu War Battlefields. The place itself is stunning, full of history, memorabilia and artefacts. We visited Both Rorke's Drift, made famous by Stanley Baxter & Michael Caine in the film Zulu, and Isandlwana, the site of a huge 'British' defeat. Our guides Mphiwe and Andrew Rattray were excellent and their accounts of the battles kept all guests thoroughly engrossed. If you are interested in history or not you can't fail to be taken in by the whole experience. Great place, great staff and great food!

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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216 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    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 (61)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Norwich, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2012

just read some of the reviews and I don't think we stayed in the same place as girlie30 doncaster. It was expensive but what a fantastic experience. Cannot fault the service, or indeed anything. The tours were incredible. We are definitely working class stock and felt very comfortable at the lodge!
This wasn't home from home-it was even better. We were incredibly spoilt throughout our stay and met some fantastic people. Cannot recommend this place highly enough if your interested in the Anglo- Zulu wars(and even if your not, I only went because my husband was interested!)
Thank you to the Rattray family and all their staff for making this a part of our holiday to remember.

Room Tip: Didn't see any other rooms but heard that they were all good
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edinburgh
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 13, 2012

We came back from our trip to South Africa and, for us, this was the highlight of our trip.
The main reason we say this is the outstanding narration on battlefield tours. Mphiwe (sorry if wrong spelling!) our Zulu guide for the Isandlwana tour was absolutely amazing and although he told the story of the battle from both points of view his account from the Zulu perspective was portrayed in such a way that you felt you had gone back in time and were reliving the experience. Incredible to think his grandfather and reat grandfather took part in the battle.
The walk to Melvill and Coghill's grave was also outstanding - great credit goes to Dai who is currently serving in the same regiment who was visiting temporarily and gave a wonderful insight into their story.
The tour to Rorke's Drift was taken by Andrew Rattray - another outstanding raconteur! Only criticism is that there was a slight tendency to over-emphasize at certain points in the narration with over dramatic pauses. The story is breathtaking in itself and it was slightly "over egged". This is meant to be a constructive comment as we thoroughly enjoyed Andrew's narration and company throughout our stay - it's just a small point.
Now to the lodge itself - rooms were very comfortable and lent to the whole atmosphere what with all the historical artefacts in the dining area apertaining to the battles concerned. Food at lunchtime was excellent and good in the evenings without being outstanding - however, we weren't there for a gourmet experience foodwise but you certainly get a gourmet experience from the tour guides! The whole point of this lodge is the battlefield experience.
There is a super swimming pool and a wonderful library with fabulous views and wi-fi for those that want it.
There was a slightly stuffy atmosphere but we'd put that down more to the clientele who happened to be staying at the same time. The staff made us feel most welcome and our advice would be to certainly stay three nights minimum - this means you can do the tours in chronological order and have a free morning to relax.
We thought we'd have had enough of battlefield talks by the end of our trip (we went on to do Spion Kop at another lodge) but our biggest regret was not staying another night here so we could have done the battle of Blood River as well.
We knew very little about the Anglo Zulu/Boer Wars before we came and we left totally enthused about this period in British history - you become so caught up in the lodge's passion that you could go on and on listening to all the stories.
Recommendation would be a minimum of three nights and if you have the time four would be ideal to enable the Battle of Blood River to come into the equation - this would give a couple of free half days to relax.

  • Stayed January 2012, 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London UK
Top Contributor
138 reviews 138 reviews
49 hotel reviews
Reviews in 81 cities Reviews in 81 cities
81 helpful votes 81 helpful votes
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.
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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Watford, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
32 helpful votes 32 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
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 
Also Known As:
Fugitive`s Drift Hotel Rorke`s Drift
Fugitive's Drift South Africa/KwaZulu-Natal

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