The Zulu War of 1879 is famous throughout the English-speaking world for the great battles of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift. The spectacular Fugitives’ Drift property, a 5000 acre Natural Heritage Site, overlooks both Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift, and includes the site where Lieutenants Melvill and Coghill lost their lives attempting to save the Queen’s Colour of their regiment.
If one tried to dream up geography and topography for the clash between two great nations, one could hardly come up with a more fantastic scene than this one.
It was here that David and Nicky Rattray pioneered Heritage Tourism in South Africa and created an award winning lodge for visitors to savour this extraordinary saga.
Led by the finest guides in South Africa, thought-provoking and often emotionally charged tours are conducted daily to Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift. Walks and mountain biking through the reserve to view abundant game and birdlife are offered as well as fishing the 20km frontage on the Buffalo River.
The reserve offers a choice of accommodation in either the Lodge or the Guest House, both owned by the Rattrays and both born out of their extensive experience in the hospitality industry. Evident in every corner of Fugitives’ Drift is the Rattrays’ love of South Africa, its people and its unique history.
Both the Lodge and Guest House have spacious and luxurious en-suite cottages which all have private verandahs and broad views over the plains flanking the Buffalo River Gorge. The Lodge and Guest House both have swimming pools set in their colourful, well established gardens which are home to innumerable bird species.
The lodge is the original establishment, built by David and Nicky in 1989, and rebuilt and refurbished in 2017. It is the most luxurious of all of our accommodation options; each spacious room has an en-suite bathroom with both inside and outside showers, air-conditioning, a mini-fridge, and a veranda with views of the plains flanking the Buffalo River gorge. Meals are taken communally in the large dining room or- weather permitting- out on the deck. The Lodge has a swimming pool with a view of both Rorke’s Drift and Isandlwana.
Guest House rooms are comfortable and individually decorated, with ceiling fans, en-suite bathrooms, and verandas with views out into the garden and onto the indigenous bushveld. The Guest House boasts a sparkling pool and relaxing garden. The original farmhouse has been altered, and now forms a charming sitting and dining room, where meals are taken communally.
This farmhouse is a charming stone and corrugated iron roof building built in the 1920’s. It was the home of George Buntting, who was an expert on the Anglo Zulu War. The farmhouse is at the top of the reserve and has a wonderful view of Isandlwana. It has 3 en-suite bedrooms, a sitting room with a fire place, a dining room, and a kitchen. Although the accommodation is self-catering, you may choose to have some or all meals at the Lodge at an additional cost. Should you decide to take this accommodation, you will need to travel to and from the Lodge or the Guest House for tours and/ or meals (approximately a seven minute drive)
Fugitives’ Drift is renowned for its battlefield tours to all the Anglo-Zulu War battle sites in the region. Our flagship tours to Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift are led by our registered tour guides Douglas Rattray, Andrew Rattray, Mphiwa Ntanzi & Bryan Mcube.
Visit the graves of Lieutenants Melvill and Coghill who lost their lives in an attempt to save the Queen’s Colour, earning the first two posthumous Victoria Crosses ever awarded.
Fugitives’ Drift is world-renowned for moving, passionate, detailed and remarkable battlefield tours to Rorke’s Drift and Isandlwana. Our tours to the battlefields were first conducted by David Rattray in 1990.He quickly gained international recognition for his unique story-telling abilities.David was often supported by other lecturers who benefited from his knowledge and experience.
Because under those heaps of white stones that punctuate the fields of Isandlwana are the bones of many Welshmen who had their homes and families in the southern part of Wales. The inscription on the cross above Melville and Coghill’s graves pertain to all these men, for their Queen and country, Jesu Mercy. – David Rattray (The Day of the Dead Moon part 3)