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“Thank You” 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, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
“Thank You”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2014

This was the best part of our SA adventure. We felt extremely cared for, our every need had been catered for before we thought of it. The room was gorgeous and the food...the best we had all holiday. Then we come to the tours, which had drawn us to the lodge, they were second to none, and this was not the part of the holiday I was most looking forward to! All the guides inspired and explained the battles with such enthusiasm and knowledge, it really came alive. Many thanks to all the team for a truly memorable time.

  • Stayed March 2014, 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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188 reviews from our community

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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
Gloucester, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 10, 2014

We stayed three nights in the Lodge at Fugitive's Drift.

We traveled here from Spioenkop, and the last few kilometres were on dirt roads. As we reached Rorke's Drift, we met a pair of Landrovers marked 'Fugitives Drift' so, even though they soon left our poor little VW behind, we knew we were in the right place.

After signing in at the gate we drove up to the Lodge to a courteous welcome. We had a large comfortable room with a fine view over the hill above the Buffalo River – good facilities, good food, helpful staff and a lovely setting.

Fugitive's Drift was the creation of the late David Rattray and its position near three of the most significant sites of the Zulu Wars is central to its existence and success. The guided visits to the battlefields of are one of the main reasons for staying here. There are three parts to the story: Isandlwana, Fugitive’s Drift itself and Rorke’s Drift. There is a great collection of pictures and memorabilia in the lodge which, together with the visits, help to fill in the context .

We had met one of the guides, Alistair, at Spioenkop, where he had been staying as a guest and he led the tour to Isandlwana. Learning about the accidents and errors that led to the deaths of thousands, as well as the heroism of many, while having the ground spread out in front of us was a very moving experience. Likewise the walk down to the river to see where Melvill and Coghill tried to save the regimental colour, earning the first posthumous VCs.

The visit to Rorke’s Drift and the site of that epic battle was led by Andrew Rattray, the son of the founder of the Fugitive’s Drift Lodge. Like the other guides, Andrew brought the story alive with anecdotes and by showing us the space in which the battle took place – which is smaller than a football field. We have since watched the films 'Zulu Dawn' and 'Zulu' with a better understanding of the events shown.

Though the battlefields are, perhaps, the more obvious reason for being there, the Lodge is set in a large game park. Shan opted out of the visit to Isandlwana and took the opportunity to go out for a walk through the nature reserve with one of the guides, Mphiwa. They saw giraffe and zebra on their walk as well as a number of interesting birds and insects. Mphiwa was also very knowledgable about the medicinal and other uses of the plants in Zulu culture. In their conversations he also told her about the conflict at Isandlwana from the Zulu perspective (both his grandparents had fought there) and answered her questions about the role women played at that time and the effects of the war on them. He also shared with her the experience of having taken Lord Chelmsford’s grandson to the place where his grandfather had so disastrously split his forces and of the feelings of reconciliation and healing. She regarded this time as a great privilege, and rated it her favourite experience of the whole holiday.

We also took the opportunity to walk through the reserve on our own which brought its share of nice experiences; a great view of the Buffalo River from a high ledge, a young giraffe watching us from behind a bush, a herd of Zebra’s squaring up to the dog that had joined us for the walk (which gave me some great photos), etc.

We visited the craft centre in the village and were lucky enough to catch the head potter, who showed us around the pottery as he was closing for the day. The shop (which is at the visitor centre) is worth a visit.

This was a very interesting place to stay and we were well looked after - other reviewers have mentioned Grace and she was extremely kind, helpful and attentive to us as well.

  • Stayed January 2014, 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glasgow, United Kingdom
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2014

We finished our holiday in South Africa at the Guest House, and what a place to finish it ! Having spent some days in Camps Bay (Cape Town), revisiting my old stamping ground of fifty years ago in Simonstown (British Navy), and four days on the "Garden Route", we thought the holiday could not be topped. Oh yes it could, and it was. The Guest House and it's staff were brilliant. Charles and Chengi could not have made us more welcome, or fed us better. Andrew and the Zulu gentleman whose name I can not pronounce, could not have described or brought to life the battles of Isandlwana and Rorkes Drift better. (At times you looked around expecting to see what they were describing happening). We finished it off on our last morning with a much recommended ride through the reserve on horseback with Wilhelm, Fabulous !!
The only criticism I have is that Andrew got his Cricket facts wrong. England won 56, South Africa won 31, and drawn 54, but not recently I grant him.
We were there in February 2014.
If you are in South Africa this is not to be missed.
Bob And Jo.

Room Tip: Get Number 6. a great view of Isandlwana
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  • Stayed February 2014, 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oxford, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 24, 2014

Just spent half term at Fugitive's Drift Lodge with my father and son. We were there to visit the battlefields having had our appetites thoroughly whetted by David Rattray's wonderful audio history of the events of January 22nd, 1879, "The Day of the Dead Moon". We were welcomed warmly at the Lodge after our five hour drive down from Jo'berg, shown to our lovely room overlooking the bush down to the Buffalo River with Isandlwana punctuating the horizon, what a spot. Spent three nights in the guest house (separate from the main Lodge) and enjoyed wonderful service, incredible food and company from both the staff and other guests, highlight was sipping evening drinks around the fire as the sun went down. Tour guides were impeccable in their recounting of the events of that day, we were lucky to have a descendant of two Zulu warriors who fought at Isandlwana to take us to that spot and the key locations that preceded the battle.

We also had a fantastic horse ride around the reserve spotting (and getting very close to) the giraffe, Besbok, Impala, Wildebeast, and Zebra.

Also on the reserve we went down to the Buffalo where three VCs were won by men escaping from the carnage of the Battle of Isandlwana.

Amazing and memorable trip for all of us, my 12 year old son is now practising his Zulu for the next one.

Thanks to all at Fugitive's Drift.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • 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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Reading, England, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2014

This family run lodge is truly wonderful. The guest rooms are spacious, well equipped and have stunning views towards Isandwala. The staff are kindness personified and the knowledge of the guides is outstanding. They are so passionate about their subjects that they inspire you to find out more. They will tailor the treks to your personal needs/ wants and nothing is too much trouble!
Food is delicious and top quality.

Room Tip: The rooms at the lodge are the ones with the far reaching views.
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  • Stayed February 2014, 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.
Newmarket, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2014

This unique Lodge steeped in history, must be one of the very best destinations in South Africa.The Gripping stories of the Zulu battles,the friendly atmosphere,the smiling faces of the ever helpful staff and the best food possible. "I would recommend it to anyone. ps I would suggest a stay of 3/4 night minimum to get the full benefit of this wonderful place. Peter

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled solo
    • 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.
Reading, United Kingdom
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2014

We stayed in the Guest House of Fugitives Drift for 2nights and were initially greeted by Zebras and Giraffes in the road, which we hadn't anticipated! We were then warmly greeted by Charle, who showed us to our room. We had been staying in many fabulous guest houses and boutique hotels -during our month's tour and I wasn't sure how this would measure up.

The room had been beautifully decorated with flowers over the bed, a lovely surprise and although quite rustic in style, (which I had anticipated) but with attractive throw and cushions, it was entirely in keeping with its environment. A good sized bathroom with great shower and a bath - not luxurious but again a very good standard in a 'no frills' sort of way.

Lunch and dinner are served on one big table inside or out, with managers Charle and Willem joining their guests. Initially we wondered how well this communal arrangement would work but frankly this was one of many features which makes Fugitives Drift so special and memorable. It was like a private house party. The food was superb and professionally presented by their wonderful Zulu chef. Her breakfasts, lunches and dinners were consistently first class - limited selection ensured high quality. There was a good wine selection too. And freshly baked cakes at tea time! The service was personable and quietly efficient - the staff were just lovely. Unfortunately we didn't have the weather enjoy the lovely pool.

The principle reason for visiting, is of course for the Battlefields and Fugitives Drift was after all the home of Zulu expert, David Rattray, and is still home to his family. The tours he has established to Iswandlana and Rorkes Drift are exceptional. This was my husband's choice within our trip and I was surprised what a fantastic experience this was. The two tour guides delivered the tours in such a way that you could 'live' the experiences, and truly understand both the Zulu and British perspectives.

Having visited the much more expensive Lodge, (apart from the beautiful library there) personally, I saw nothing to suggest its worth paying a premium for. Don't expect unbridled luxury, but do expect a level of hospitality and experience that are hard to rival. Fugitives Drift was an all round fabulous experience.

Room Tip: All seem to be comparable
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  • Stayed February 2014, 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
    • 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 
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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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