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“A wonderful experience”

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Fugitive's Drift Lodge and Guest House
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed November 6, 2011

We recently stayed for two nights and they were possibly the most memorable of our entire trip to South Africa. There was a warm welcome from Nicky Rattray and her staff, and every meal, including afternoon tea, was of the highest standard. Lunch on the stunning verandah overlooking the Buffalo River was superb. The rooms were well appointed and comfortable. The historical battlefield tours were conducted by two different Zulu guides and by Douglas Rattray and all three had us completely engrossed. The price per head for accommodation of this standard, all meals and the historical trips was, we thought, incredibly reasonable. Our 16 year old daughter thought she would be bored by this part of the holiday but loved it. We got closer to giraffes in the grounds above the river gorge than we did on a safari! If you want to hear some moving historical stories in colonial style luxury but 'away from it all' surroundings (no TV thank goodness) then this is perfect.

Room Tip: rooms 7 and 8 had wonderful verandahs overlooking the valley
  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled with family
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Thank Roger T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (402)
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367 - 373 of 402 reviews

Reviewed October 26, 2011

My wife and I, with two friends, stayed at the Fugitives Drift Guest House for three nights recently and can thoroughly recommend it for a visit. The last few miles of road getting there can be a bit bumpy, so plan to take your time. The rooms are very comfortable with bath, shower and every little detail in the bathroom you could wish for - they even have electric blankets on the beds, which were switched on whilst we were having dinner! The visits to the battle fields were very informative and the presenters knew their history. We enjoyed our stay.

Room Tip: Bring a good pair of binoculars.
  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled with friends
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1  Thank E Garvey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 11, 2011

Recently stayed at Fugitives Drift Lodge for 3 nights during a 17 day tour of Kwa Zulu Natal.The Lodge and the rooms are wonderful and the food was indeed great but we were slightly disappointed to learn that Rob Caskie and his Wife had resigned and were set to depart in 2 weeks as Rob intends to set up on his own touring round and giving lectures on the Zulu and Boer wars, the explorer David Livingstone and the life of Ernest Shackleton etc. I understand that he will be replaced by Nicky Rattray's Son. Very honestly we felt that Rob was already focussing on his new career and our battlefield tours were given by Joseph and his colleague as it was "too windy" to go out on the first day and Rob was giving a talk to a group of mining executives on the following day. They did a good job and definitely tried their best but at times it was difficult to follow what was being said and I have to say that the tour of Isandlwana did get a little bit repetitive towards the end.Appreciate that we were there in September but the temperature variation through the day was amazing - it was hot in the morning but we finished the Rorke's Drift Tour at dusk shivering with blankets round our shoulders.
Having said all of this I must say that the tours were very moving and we both shed a tear at Rorke's Drift. Still have to say that the Isandlwana battlefied site was just as we expected but Rorke's Drift certainly wasn't......a lot of imagination was required to picture it as it was and much more could be done here to make the site more interesting. The museum looks a bit "tired" to say the least.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank philby101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 4, 2011

This world famous lodge does not in fact need a review but seeing this is tripadvisor ...Its name is synonymous with first rate battlefield tours and superb family run accommodation. It did not disappoint. Extremely welcoming, exceptionally interesting and a feeling of being surrounded by history make the whole experience extremely memorable. The pre-dinner drinks around the fire are a wonderful way to meet fellow guests where you discover that even people with no interest in the military history of the battles are nevertheless blown away by the personal stories of those solders and warriors involved.
The family and those in charge of running the lodge are extremely accommodating when it comes to arranging other activities for guests between the tours and there is plenty on offer in terms of walking, horse-riding, tame game drives, etc.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank Vilma C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 2, 2011

The lodge is lovely, in a beautiful situation on top of the ridge.
The staff can't do enough to help you enjoy your stay. The rooms and food were ver good.
The battlefields tours to Isandhlwana and Rorke's Drift were so interesting and personalised that I admit I cried (on both battlefields).
You are able to walk around the reserve (and not get eaten!)
A truly memorable experience.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled with friends
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Thank AJMglobaltraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 29, 2011

We agree with most of the previous reviews. The setting of Fugitives Drift is gorgeous and the room we were assigned was large and very comfortable. The staff was efficient, helpful and pleasant. Breakfast was good, buffet-lunch excellent with the magnificient views from the Library. Before dinner we enjoyed sitting around the fire and meeting our fellow guests, who were very interesting. However, dinner was extremely poor: soup, followed by roast beef, one night and fatty roast pork the other night, all covered in gravy circa 1950s accompanied by boiled vegetables and a sticky dessert. Unacceptable at the prices they are charging. We had just come from another lodge in the area, where there had been a choice of two starters, two main courses and desserts and a cheese board for dinner – and they charged a third less than Fugitives Drift. Our guide, Joseph, was excellent and was with us for both tours. For Rorkes Drift we were only a small group from the Lodge and the tour was very educational and emotional. The next day, for the visit to Isandlwana, the Lodge had sold tickets to over thirty students from England, who were camping in the area and they followed us all afternoon. They rushed into the minuscule museum and we had to queue after them to see the exhibits. It was very crowded and we could not read much as a lot of them were taking copious notes and obstructing our view. Joseph gave a great lecture but it was a difficult task for him to deal with 40 people instead of the small group he normally deals with, thus our experience on that day was impersonal and not at all as good as the day before. We felt like we were on a school trip which, in effect, we were. It was a great money-making exercise for the Lodge but showed a complete lack of respect for guests who were paying a hefty price to ensure a quality experience. We must have been very unfortunate as, unlike previous reviewers, we did not have a unforgettable stay. No exchange of stories from family or staff members for us, or anything special. On the contrary, we were left with the feeling of a very well-oiled machine trading on the name of the magical David Rattray. When we go back, we will definitely look at alternatives in the area as we did see other guides with small groups at both sites.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank Nordic_Prince
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NJR285, Owner at Fugitive's Drift Lodge and Guest House, responded to this reviewResponded February 9, 2012

Thank you for your review. I am disappointed that you did not enjoy all aspects of your stay with us.

I would like to point out that the students who were on the tour with you were a group of Boy Scouts from the UK who were staying in the Umzinyathi Farmhouse on our property. They were volunteers who spent a couple of days working in one The David Rattray Foundation schools using funds that they had raised themselves. They did a great job in repainting an entire school for which we were enormously grateful. We pride ourselves on the work we do for disadvantaged children in this area and the Foundation has made an significant difference to the 17 schools that it supports.

I would like to make it clear that this was not a money making exercise at all. Taking them on the tour was a small token of our appreciation for the work they did. I find it heartening that there are young people who take the time and trouble to give something back to people less fortunate than themselves.

As far as the Rattray ‘experience’ is concerned – the fact that the Lodge is well run and consistent is a tribute to the team who works here and if this is seen as being a ‘well oiled machine’, I agree with you!

We are extremely proud of our name and we do indeed pride ourselves on how we perpetuate David’s legacy.

Yours sincerely
Nicky Rattray

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 27, 2011

For years I've wanted to stay at Fugitives Drift, and it was well worth the wait. We travelled as a family and had two lodges, both very comfortably furnished and we had panoramic views of the Buffalo River valley with the slopes of the Oscarberg to the far horizon. There is room heating in the winter and electric blankets, the food was very good and the staff and guides eat along with the guests and share stories. Nicky Rattray, Andrew Rattray, Charl, Joseph. Mpiwa and Bobby all took turns to entertain us with their stories, and Karen, Carla, Nina, Grace and Cindy made our stay unforgettable.
We were exceptionally lucky to be present for Gillian Rattray's birthday, with her husband Peter, and saw her use the Regimental Silver Cup presented by Lt Mostyn to the Officers of the 1st Battalion, 24th Regiment in 1866. If this means nothing to you now, then let me tell you that these little details will mean so much more once you have stayed here.
Our guides were exceptional, Joseph Ndima talking us through the battle of Isandlwana, Bobby recounting the loss of the Colours at Fugitives Drift and the subsequent deaths of Melville andf Coghill; and Mpiwa walking myself and Delwyn (with his own Welsh Colours!) along the Fugitives Trail and fording the Buffalo. How incredible that Mpiwa's great grandfather and grand father both fought at Isandlwana and Rorkes Drift, and that his grandfather later became pastor there. The historical talks are at the heart of the Fugitives Drift Lodge experience, and I can tell you they are incredibly emotional.
Our fellow guests were from a wide range of backgrounds and certainly not all military or history experts, but a wonderful group of people.
I can also recommend Icon Expeditions (Billy Hare) in Cape Town for booking the accommodation and also sorting any travel requirements, note that it is a long. long drive from Durban or the Kruger to here but believe me well worth the journey.
A place I hope to return to.

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with family
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Thank ThatsMySunbed
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 Lodge and Guest House

Address: Rorke's Drift 3016, South Africa
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Rorke's Drift
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Specialty Lodging in Rorke's Drift
Price Range: $198 - $934 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Fugitives' Drift Lodge, established by David and Nicky Rattray 28 years ago, now run by Nicky and her sons Andrew and Douglas, 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 Lodge And Guest House South Africa/KwaZulu-Natal

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