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Why did we hand pick Fugitives' Drift Lodge?

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  • Heritage property with a unique perspective over vitally important and greatly moving pieces of South African history
  • Incredibly engaging historic tours on offer
  • Numerous other outdoor pursuits available in the beautiful landscape

Fugitives' Drift Lodge

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Price tier (pps): R200  R1500+

Child policy: All ages

10km from Rorkes Drift


-28.3912, 30.6032


The battle of Isandlwana was one of the greatest military disasters in British colonial history, and the Zulu army wing that went on to attack the tiny British garrison at Rorke’s Drift the next day was beaten off in a battle that lasted all night. Fugitives’ Drift is world-renowned for narrating the battles to its visitors, allowing the high drama to unfold in vivid detail as you are walked through the clashes.

The Lodge and The Guest House, set 600m apart in colourful, well established gardens, feature spacious cottages with private verandas overlooking the property. The Annex is ideal for small families or couples travelling together. A more rustic, self-catering experience is offered at the Umzinyathi Farmhouse, a charming stone and corrugated iron building which was formally the home of George Buntting, the man from whom David Rattray developed his passion for the Anglo Zulu War. The adjacent KwaGeorge cottage also offers countryside accommodation for two people.

Guests can enjoy superb cuisine based on a unique fusion of home and modern flavours in the splendid atmosphere of a veritable museum of Zulu War memorabilia, and enjoy the warm personal service that is a feature of this outstanding facility. The Lodge has a large swimming pool situated on a secluded spur on the lip of the Buffalo River gorge, while the Guest House has its own sparkling pool that overlooks Isandlwana and the indigenous bushveld. Walks and horse rides through the reserve to view abundant game and birdlife are offered as well as fishing on 20km of Buffalo River frontage. 

Led by the finest guides in South Africa, thought-provoking and often emotionally charged tours are conducted daily to Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift. Children are thoroughly entertained on shorter, more interactive tours which will engage and inspire youngsters with stories of the bravery and courage of the British soldiers and the Zulu warriors. These tours are followed by a game walk and cultural encounters, and capped off by an early dinner and hot chocolate. These activities are available at an extra cost of R 400 per child per day.

Rates & Summary

The Lodge

8 spacious luxury cottages
Twin room with full en-suite 
Private veranda
Views over the plains and gorge

The Annex 

Sleeps 4 in 2 en-suite bedrooms 
Sitting room
Ideal for families or two couples

The Guest House

6 luxury Twins with full en-suite
Lounge, dining room, alfresco dining
Private veranda and swimming pool
Views over the plains and gorge


Twin bedroom en-suite with shower
Private veranda

Self-Catering Umzinyathi Farmhouse

Sleeps up to 8 guests
Bathroom with bath, outside shower
Sitting room with fireplace
Fully equipped kitchen
Meals can be arranged at extra cost


The Lodge

  • R 1 700 - R 3 500 pp sharing

The Annex - Min 4 pax

  • R 975 - R 1 800 pp sharing

Guest House

  • R 1 100 - R 2 500 pp sharing


  • R 785  - R 950 pp sharing

S/C Umzinyathi Farmhouse - 8 pax

  • R 1 100 - R 1 800 per night

Rates shown vary between low to high season


Full Board at the Lodge, Annex, Guest House and KwaGeorge
Self-catering at Umzinyathi Farmhouse, with meals available on request


Special kids activities are on offer.

  • 0 - 11yrs: R 400 pp with parents

Why Stay Here?

The spectacular Fugitives’ Drift property overlooks both Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift, where great battles were fought in the famous Anglo Zulu War of 1879. Pioneering Heritage Tourism in South Africa, the late David Rattray and his wife Nicky created an award-winning lodge for visitors to savour this extraordinary saga. Evident in every corner of Fugitives’ Drift is the Rattrays' love of South Africa, its people and its unique history. This historic Zululand property has gained National Heritage Status and is acclaimed not only for its immense historical interest, but also for its vibrant, luxury accommodation, prolific fauna and flora, and a host of outdoor activities.


  • Heritage property with a unique perspective over vitally important and greatly moving pieces of South African history
  • Incredibly engaging historic tours on offer
  • Numerous other outdoor pursuits available in the beautiful landscape

Things to consider Bringing

Sunblock, hat, walking shoes, swimming costume, swimming towels, light rain jacket, mountain bike, fly fishing gear, binoculars for bird watching and game viewing.

Road Conditions

The 36km approach is on good gravel road, suitable for any vehicle.
Please do not use GPS systems to get to Fugitives’ Drift, as coordinates are incorrectly plotted.
The entrance gate locks at 18h00. Please advise if you are arriving later.

Activities & Attractions

  • Battlefield tours
  • Game viewing
  • Bush walks
  • Birding
  • Horse riding
  • Fly fishing
  • Swimming in the pool
  • Swimming in the Buffalo River
  • Mountain biking (bikes for hire)
  • Hiking


Accommodation & Hospitality

  • Verandah / patio
  • Bed linen supplied
  • Bathroom towels supplied
  • Swimming towels supplied
  • No smoking indoors

Catering & Kitchen

  • Full board
  • Full Kitchen


  • Water supply good for drinking
  • Electric geysers
  • Eskom electricity

Leisure Amenities

  • Swimming pool
  • Library
  • Garden

Business & Connectivity

  • Wi-Fi
  • Limited cell phone reception
  • Conference facilities available

Access & Convenience

  • Babysitting available
  • Child friendly
  • Shuttle service available


  • Credit cards accepted
  • EFT accepted
  • Cash accepted




Zululand & the Battlefields

KwaZulu Natal


It was from the bush and grassland of northern KwaZulu-Natal that the impis of King Shaka emerged, sweeping down onto the other tribes of the hinterland and eventually engaging the British forces and shaking the very roots of the Empire. At the height of its power, the Zulu nation covered 30 000km2, but 60 years after it was first formed, its reign was over. In those 60 years, the Zulus shaped the future of the country and were engaged in battles with the Boers and the British, but these were not the only bloody conflicts in the region. 

After the Zulu empire was broken, the English and the Boers fought for control of South Africa, with many battles taking place in Natal. While the best-known battles in the area are undoubtedly Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift, as well as the siege of Ladysmith, there is fascinating history to be had at countless other ones. 

The beauty of the scenery clashes harshly with the devastating past, while the rough terrain makes one wonder how the machines of war were manhandled across the country, and how the Zulu impis managed to cover such vast distances in a single day, barefoot.

The regions of Zululand and the Battlefields merge together and are hard to separate, stretching from the northern and western KwaZulu-Natal borders to the towns of Ladysmith and Colenso in the south and towards the Elephant Coast in the east.

Zululand has managed to remain largely unaffected by industrial expansion and much of it remains farmland, timber plantations and rural wilderness, including beautiful Big-Five game reserves and grasslands. 

On the other hand there is the industrial hub of Richards Bay, the largest port in South Africa.

Tourism revolves around the natural beauty and diversity, as well as the haunting battlefields on which so many lost their lives and which are simply fascinating to visit, especially with a knowledgeable guide, of which there are a few.

Since this is the birthplace of the Zulu nation, it is also the place to come to grips with Zulu tradition, culture and history.

A number of cultural experiences exist, where tourists can become immersed in the local tradition and culture, learning a huge amount and enjoying themselves even more.

A few reserves in the region offer good game-viewing, from Weenen and Spioenkop in the south up to Ithala in the north. The diverse ecosystem means that hundreds of bird species are present, and a few notable bird-watching spots include the Dlinza and Ongoye forests, as well as the wetlands of Richards Bay.

An area as large and diverse will always have an almost endless array of attractions, and Zululand and the Battlefields are no different, from fishing in Richards Bay to horse-riding, mountain-biking, game-viewing and bird-watching. There is even a brewery to lighten the spirits when the history gets a little heavy.

Look out for

Zululand Brewery in Eshowe is a great place to pop in for a relaxing Zulu Blonde Export Ale, a beer that has won awards and rave reviews internationally. While you’re sitting at The Happy George Bar, ask around for recommendations on what’s new to do in the area.

The Dlinza and Ongoye Forests are serious birding hotspots and both are easily accessible. In fact, the Dlinza aerial boardwalk is something that even non-birders will enjoy and appreciate.

Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift are the two seminal battlefields in the Battlefields tour and are both intensely fascinating and moving. A good guide is invaluable in bringing them to life. Ulundi and Blood River are also well worth visiting, giving different insights into the bloodshed that shaped this land.

Take a hike up Majuba or Spioenkop mountains, both of which offer sensational views in addition to stirring battlefield history. The historic O’Neills cottage, where a peace treaty was signed to end the first Anglo-War, lies at the base of Majuba.

The majestic Ithala Game Reserve in the very north of KwaZulu-Natal offers good game-viewing and bird-watching, as well as epic scenery of mountains and valleys. While there is a variety of accommodation, the pick of it is undoubtedly the bush camps that can be booked out for your group.

Every year the Zulu nation holds the Reed Ceremony near the eNyokeni Royal residence in Nongoma north of Melmoth, thousands of maidens gathering to pay their respect to their king. This happens in spring and visitors from all over the world come to watch the women dance and sing to King Goodwill Zwelithini in his ceremonial regalia.

The eMakhosini Ophate Heritage Park should not be missed by anyone with a sense of history. It is the birthplace of the Zulu clan and what is known as the Valley of the Kings. The Spirit of eMakhosini memorial and an educational multimedia centre are worth a visit, and there is also game, including the rare oribi antelope and black rhino.

Immerse yourself in the Zulu culture at a place like Shakaland and watch Zulu dancing, ask a sangoma (witch doctor) for his sage advice, sample traditional Zulu beer, listen to singing and perhaps try out a few simple phrases for yourself. Arts and crafts are also on sale and make wonderful gifts and souvenirs.

When to go

To Do

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