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Fugitive's Drift Lodge and Guest House
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    All reviewsrattray familystory tellingharford libraryother guestsgame reservebuffalo riverpre dinner drinkswhole experiencenothing is too much troublezulu warslong tablesouth africaunforgettable experiencethree nightsboth sidesbig tableamazing grace
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    439 - 444 of 455 reviews
    Reviewed January 27, 2010

    I had wanted to return to Zululand and visit the battle sites of Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift ever since reading "The Washing of the Spears" while hitching around South Africa in 1971. My wife, who doesn't have the same interest in history, was less keen. In fact, we were delighted by the whole experience, not just the guided visits to the battle-sites but also the tranquility and beauty of the area around the guest house and lodge, and the evident passion for the place that the people have who live and work there. We would strongly recommend that you stay for 3 nights. That enables you to have the 3 guided tours in the right order - Isandlwana and Fugitives' Drift (where those fleeing the battle crossed the Buffalo River) on Day 1 and Rorke's Drift in the late afternoon of Day 2. This also allows you, as we did, to ride or walk on the property in the morning of Day 2 - lots of game, birds and views to see. The guides - George Irwin, Rob Caskie and Christie - explained the backgound to the Anglo-Zulu War and the events of the day and night itself - 22 January 1879 - in a way which we'll never forget. If only history could be taught like that in school. We were close to tears by the end of Rob's performance at Rorke's Drift and so was the hard-bitten Australian property developer with us! We were only sorry not to have Joseph Ndima as our guide too; but he was on holiday.

    The new Harford Library, built a little away from the lodge, is beautifully designed and has wonderful views towards the sphinx-like hill of Isandlwana.

    Warning: the website, which is full of useful information, says that Fugitives' Drift is 3.5 hours from Durban. Not if you are a normal driver in a normal car. Allow 5 hours.

    • Stayed: January 2010, traveled as a couple
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    2  Thank Molepolole
    This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
    Reviewed January 16, 2010

    When our friends and I were putting our South African itinerary together, I have to admit the Zulu battlefields were not high on my agenda. However we thought it added another dimension and variety and included a stay at Fugitives Drift to do this. What a good decision!

    Our travel agent did not hesitate to book us in here and as other reviewers have said, it is the original place which David and Nicky Rattray set up to keep alive the story and heritage of the Zulu wars. In my opinion, you should not consider any other options when staying in this area.

    You do come here because of the battlefield tours. It is dirt roads as you get closer but we had a normal car and we experienced no problems whatsoever - it seemed to add to the adventure.

    You are met when you arrive by a number of people including the fantastic Grace and from there are treated like royalty. Nothing is too much trouble. We arrived at tea time and were told dinner was at 7.30 but there were pre dinner drinks by the fire at 7.00. The fire area is fantastic and there we got to meet other guests and Rob and Karen, the manager and his wife who joined us for dinner. Once again it is the little things that stand out and the home made nibbles were out of this world. Dinner is lovely - you find yourself reluctantly declining food because there is just so much of it.

    We did the two main battlefield tours - in the morning - Isandhlwana and afternoon Rorkes Drift. This means you have them chronologically. It would be a shame if you didn't do both. As others have said, these are like no other - you have the story tellers to yourself who explain the landscape and why it was important so that by the time you get to the final battle it falls into place. 'The tree' they take you to is perfect. We had George in the morning and Rob in the afternoon. Both different characters but both fantastic hosts and story tellers. Be prepared to be 'tested' by Rob including name pronunciations!

    We stayed in the original lodge and our room was fantastic - one of the loveliest places I have ever stayed. They are individual bungalows with your own porch and spacious bathroom. The furnishings have obviously been carefully chosen and complement the whole experience.

    We wish we had stayed 3 nights to have a day chilling and to walk up to Melville and Coghill's graves. We had the same reception when we were ready to leave - just like when you leave friends after staying with them. We had only stayed 2 nights and I was really emotional when I left. They are such wonderful people working in such a fantastic place.

    • Stayed: November 2009, traveled with friends
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    1  Thank fredic
    This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
    Reviewed January 8, 2010

    Like many of those who visit Fugitives Drift, my son (age 27) and I became aware of the historic significance of this area of South Africa when we saw the Michael Caine movie "Zulu" many years ago. When we got the opportunity to travel in South Africa, Isandlwana/Rorke's Drift immediately was a top priority. And Fugitives Drift, we were told, was easily the place to go to get the richest experience.

    Accommodations at the Lodge and Guest House aren't inexpensive -- in the range of $400 per person per night -- but we were lucky that the far cheaper cottage of KwaGeorge -- about $125 ppn (it really can only hold two people) -- was available for the nights we wanted. You're a kilometer or so away from the lodge, where you take your meals (included in the price), as well as from the main swimming pool and the spectacular, brand-new library. But it's a quick drive, and the views from KwaGeorge are nothing to sneeze at either.

    You don't want to miss either of the main tours, to Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift. Joseph, our guide for Isandlwana, is Zulu himself, which added an extra dimension to his narration. And George, who did the Rorke's Drift tour, was similarly both knowledgeable and passionate. (He also led the evening hike to the Fugitives Drift itself and the graves of Melville and Coghill.)

    We found the food abundant and excellent, and the table conversations -- a couple of guides and/or hosts sat in at every meal, to answer questions and spark the conversation -- were a major part of the experience for us. We also spent a lot of time at the library and simply gawking at the treasure trove of memorabilia in the dining hall. It was a fantastic few days.

    To top things off, Joseph pointed us to a Zulu craftsman, just outside Rorke's Drift, who still makes cowhide Zulu shields. My son bought a full-size one -- about five feet long -- for about $60, and we had the satisfaction of knowing it was thoroughly authentic and that the money we spent went directly to the maker, no middleman. (Getting it packed for the plane ride home was a different type of adventure.)

    The drive to Fugitives Drift from, say, Dundee isn't for the fainthearted, so be aware. And the only quibble we had otherwise was that the tours, which are both several hours long, didn't leave us with enough time to explore either Isandlwana or Rorke's Drift as extensively as we wanted. (We went back to both places during some spare hours.)

    The man who really created Fugitives Drift as a historic destination, David Rattray, sadly, was shot to death three years ago this month at the lodge, in an attempted robbery that went tragically wrong. But he left a tremendous legacy. Anyone who has an interest in KwaZulu Natal and the history of British/Zulu interaction would learn a lot from visiting Fugitives Drift.

    • Stayed: December 2009
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    Thank mk6945
    This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
    Reviewed December 5, 2009

    Getting to Fugitive's Drift involves travelling over dirt roads for the last 35 kms, it would have been easier in a 4 wheel drive but once there the lodge more than made up for the journey. The lodge was charming and it felt more like being at a friend's houseparty. The staff were all very hospitable especially Grace who looked after our every need. I was amazed by the tiny lady who hoisted my 17kg suitcase onto her head and walked off to our room!
    The rooms are a series of bungalows, very spacious and comfortable with wonderful views. A very large, comfortable bed complete with electric blanket, although it wasn't cold enough to need it, and a huge bathroom.
    We were offered coffee and cakes on arrival and that set the scene for seemingly endless supplies of food, all of which was delicious. Pre-dinner drinks were served outside around a log fire and dinner was a communal affair hosted by the guides. I must mention the cheese board, I have never seen so many varities offered and all those I managed to try were excellent. The drinks althought not included were very reasonably priced.
    We stayed 2 nights to do the tours to Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift and it is much better to do them in the right order. The guides Rob and George were both excellent. My husband was keen to visit the battlefields and I tagged along, but I too found it fascinating, particularly the story of Rorke's Drift which Rob really brought to life. Lunch between the tours was served in the new library, a spectacular building overlooking the river with an excellent collection of books on the subject and area.
    We did not take advantage of the riding and other activites on offer but as base for the battlefields visit I do not think it could be beaten. An excellent place to stay.

    • Stayed: November 2009, traveled as a couple
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    Thank barneyvip
    This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
    Reviewed August 20, 2009

    If you are into hsitory, this is a "must do" trip. The people who run and staff the lodge are personaly connected to the history of this area and I learned and enjoyed more that I can ever explain here.

    • Stayed: March 2008, traveled solo
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    Thank Conquest915
    This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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