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 Buffalo 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 a 15 minutes’ walk from both the Lodge and the Guest House.
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.
A David Rattray initiative to educate the youth of today for a better tomorrow Having established Fugitive’s Drift Lodge, Nicky and David recognised the desperate need in the surrounding rural communities of Rorke’s Drift and Isandlwana where most families, up to 60%, live below the poverty line and rely on social grants.
In David Rattray’s words – “without education there is no hope, without hope there is no future.” It was therefore natural for support from Fugitive’s Drift Lodge to focus on supporting and improving the education of the children in the community.
Initially, the project supported local infrastructure – repairing school buildings and providing classrooms, halls, libraries, and ablution facilities. Learning of the work being done, guests at the lodge and family friends offered additional support and KHULA Education was established and broadened its scope of support. With the infrastructure needs largely met, focus shifted to teaching and education. Today, we employ a dedicated team of educators who work directly with the learners and the teachers – enabling us to achieve even more.
KHULA is an isiZulu word, meaning ‘to grow’. And that’s exactly what we do – we partner with schools in our community, making a lasting commitment to support and improve the quality of education for the children from their pre-school years through to graduation. We also work with the teachers, extending their skills and providing teaching tools where necessary.
KHULA Education currently works with 20 rural schools in Rorke’s Drift and Isandlwana.