In 1879, the British invaded Zululand. The central of the three major invading columns forded the Buffalo River at Rorke’s Drift. Within days Lord Chelmsford’s invasion was in jeopardy. Part of his central column had been almost annihilated at Isandlwana, in a battle rated as one of the greatest military disasters in British colonial history. A few survivors struggled back into Natal, crossing the mighty Buffalo River at the Fugitives’ Drift. Lieutenants Melvill and Coghill died in a gallant attempt to save the Queen’s colours of their regiment, earning the first posthumous Victoria Crosses in history. A great wing of the Zulu army went on to attack the British garrison at Rorke’s Drift, and these warriors were beaten off in a battle that lasted all night; an action that saw the awarding of 11 VCs and 5 DCMs.
Fugitives’ Drift Lodge and Guest House is renowned for its flagship battlefield tours to Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift, which are conducted daily. These thought provoking and often emotionally charged tours leave our guests with a more profound appreciation of modern-day South Africa. Long family associations with the area and its people allow Fugitives’ Drift to offer unique Zulu perspectives on these remarkable battles.