Fugitives’ Drift, set in a 5000 acre game reserve with 22km of river frontage, is a place where the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 is brought back to life.
This private game reserve, a registered Natural Heritage Site, overlooks the famous battle sites of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift. The Lodge and Guest House face roughly north-east and have commanding views of the peak of Isandlwana and of the rough country the fugitives from the battle had to traverse in order to get back across the Buffalo River into Natal.
On the skyline, north-west of the lodge, the Oscarberg mountain at Rorke’s Drift is a commanding feature. The lower part of the lodge’s garden overlooks a plain, often teeming with wildlife, which drops off abruptly into the river gorge to the site where Lts. Melville and Coghill were killed trying to save the Queen’s Colour of their famous regiment. They earned the first posthumous Victoria Crosses in history and are buried in a spectacular setting only 15 minutes’ walk from both the lodge.
It was here that David and Nicky Rattray pioneered heritage tourism in South Africa and created an award-winning destination for visitors to savour this extraordinary saga. Led by some of the finest guides in South Africa, thought-provoking and often emotionally charged tours are conducted daily to the battlefields of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift.
Over the years, David and Nicky put together one of the finest collections of books, papers, and artwork pertaining to the Zulu War. Much of this is now on display in the Fugitives’ Drift Museum and the Harford Library, both of which are located at the main lodge. David soon came to be recognised internationally as an authority of this period of history. In 1999, he was awarded a Ness Award by the council of the Royal Geographic Society for his contribution in widening the popular understanding of this area and its people.
Fugitives’ Drift offers a choice of accommodation; all still owned and run by the Rattray family. Evident in every corner of this magnificent destination is the Rattrays’ love for South Africa, its people, and its unique history. For more on the various accommodation types offered at Fugitives’ Drift, please click here.