Rorke’s Drift

Rorke’s Drift is a town in the Kwazulu Natal province about 46 kilometers south-east of Dundee. The name of the place comes from the word “drift” that refers to a natural transition point in a river, in this case the Buffalo River that was shallow at this point due to the presence of rocks and could therefore easily be crossed. Rorke refers to James Rorke who had a farm near this river crossing. After the death of Rorke the farm was taken over by a Swedish Mission post, later this post would play an important role in the Battle of Rorke’s Drift between the British and the Zulus.

Two Battlefield tours are offered from Fugitives Drift Lodge. At one you will visit the site of the Battle of Rorke’s Drift where only 139 British soldiers had to compete against 4000 Zulu warriors. Despite the large difference in numbers, the battle was won by the British for their firearms, many of them subsequently being rewarded with Victoria Crosses. The other tour takes you to the Isandlwana Battlefield, this battle took place just before the Battle of Rorke’s Drift. Here it was the Zulus who defeated the English with a brave battle. In both tours the story of the battle is told by experienced guides who tell you in detail and compellingly about this piece of South Africa history. Booking for the tour is necessary.

The Rorke’s Drift Battle Museum is definitely worth a visit for those who want to know more about the history of South Africa. The emphasis is of course on the struggle between the British and the Zulus at Rorke’s Drift and this is beautifully presented visually in the museum.

Village tours are organized from the beautiful Isibindi Zulu Lodge at Rorke’s Drift to a nearby authentic Zulu village in the countryside. You will be sailed over the river by boat and then you will walk to the village where you will be welcomed by the Sangoma (healer). You will learn more about the lifestyle and traditions of these Zulu’s.

The arts and crafts center in the village was founded by the Evangelical Lutheran church and the local population received training from Swedish artists / teachers. Today the center is known for the high quality of hand-woven carpets and (art) objects made of clay.
In the vicinity of Rorke’s Drift there are also a number of (smaller) wildlife and nature parks. It is hard to imagine that huge battles have been fought in what is now such a peaceful area.