Having just returned from a three day stay at Fugitive’s Drift, I was naturally interested to see whether others had shared our experience. The headlines are encouraging: such a high proportion of excellents suggests that most share our views. I chased after those that recorded anything less than splendid, and was amused by the reasons. More of that later – but first our own impressions. Our lodge was capacious, with plenty of lounging space, both inside and outside (early morning tea on the verandah overlooking the Buffalo gorge was epic). The bathroom sported a particularly bracing shower, as well as a goodly sized bath and the range of enticing soaps one has come to expect of such superior accommodation.
But it was in the common parts (although rather uncommon) that Fugitive’s Drift particularly excelled. Breakfast and dinner were taken in a large room hung with curios of the Zulu Wars, outside which was a circle of chairs around an open fire. The emphasis here was on good cheer and good fellowship. Everyone mingles and chats, and good stories abound. Lunch, by contrast, is taken on the immense verandah of an airy library with a spectacular view of the Buffalo River. Inside, sofas and comfy chairs beckon the interested reader – and the breadth and range of books is impressive.
And so to the food: we found the lunches hit the spot spectacularly: chicken pie, quiches and salads never failed to delight. Breakfasts were as huge and varied as you wanted. Dinners were delicious. None of the fare had Michelin pretensions – but we had had our fill of frilly food elsewhere in this wonderful country, and were gasping for some honest home fare – and that is precisely what we got.
But now to the real reason for choosing this particular lodge: the tours. In retrospect, we were wrong to limit our stay to two days. Although that is just about sufficient to take in the two principal tours of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift, as well as the fascinating story of the fate of Captains Neville and Coghill at Fugitive’s Drift itself, it left us wishing for more time to sit and reflect – and to ride or bike around the estate. The tours are so very interesting and emotional that downtime is needed just to pause and think about the enormity of what was happening only four generations ago. Here it is worth making special mention of Mpiwa, whose eloquent and moving guiding is elevated by the fact that his great grandfather was in one of the Zulu regiments at Islandwana. Andrew Rattray needs no introduction – but his word-perfect description of how the VCs were won as hospital patients were dragged through holes in walls from one hospital room to another was as moving as it was informative.
Was our stay in Fugitive’s Drift the best part of our two weeks in South Africa? Undoubtedly. Would I return? Will I return? I hope so. Would I do anything different? Yes – stay for very much longer next time.
And to those very few who did not share our views, all I can say is – if your standard hotel room requirement is freezing aircon (as opposed to valley breezes) and a television that will feed you CNN and bad films, then no, don’t stay here. Ditto if you want very fine dining. But for those who want a really interesting experience of being treated like a proper guest in one of the most interesting places in the world – book now.
- 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
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com so you can book your Fugitive's Drift Lodge and Guest House reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Fugitive`s Drift Hotel Rorke`s Drift
- Fugitive's Drift Lodge And Guest House South Africa/KwaZulu-Natal