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Rorke's Drift Hotel
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 7 October 2013

Rorke's Drift Hotel was designed and built by Charles Aikenhead, who owns and manages the hotel. It over looks the Buffalo River, a short distance down river from where Lt John Chard of the Royal Engineers was left in charge of the pontoon allowing the centre 3rd column of Lord Chelmsford to cross from Natal into the Zulu Kingdom on 11th January 1879.

The main reception area is in a beautiful 'Rondavel' shaped building, with a thatched roof and the accommodation is in a separate Roundavel, with singles bedrooms under the main building facing the River.

The setting is stunning, the hospitality exceptional and the rooms really comfortable.

This is a place of exceptional value and an absolute 'must' to stay in

Room Tip: Ask for a room facing the Buffalo River
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  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled solo
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Thank ShoutCheltenham
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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125 - 131 of 212 reviews

Reviewed 7 October 2013

We spent 4 nights at the Rorke’s Drift hotel and it wasn’t enough. We made the most of everything, getting up early every day, doing the battlefield tour, visiting the local schools, climbing the mountain behind the hotel and walking along the trails. In the evening we socialised with our fellow-guests, sharing our experiences of the day at the dinner table and in the bar. It was the perfect combination for us – history, nature, exercise and socialising.
We had the King Shaka room which was spacious and offered stunning views of the river and sunrise.
We liked the communal triangular dinner table and the convivial company of the other guests. There was limited choice at meal times but the food was simple and tasty and you could help yourself to what you wanted.
We didn’t use our car at all and enjoyed being able to walk to most places. Our battlefield guide taught us some useful phrases in Zulu which allowed us to engage with local people in their language. We spoke to everyone we met and they were all very friendly.
This was our first trip to South Africa and we hadn’t realised how cold it would be in winter. There was a frost in the mornings and it was very cold at night. We always went out well wrapped up and peeled off the layers as the temperature rose during the day. There was ample bedding to keep us comfortable in our room but we needed warm clothing at dinner. After 3 years living in Mauritius we’ve got used to higher temperatures.
The owner of the hotel is the perfect host. He arranged all our activities and made it seem like we were spending a few days with friends rather than staying in a hotel. After dinner on the day of our battlefield tour he gave a fascinating account of events that took place in the area immediately around the hotel on 22 January 1879.
We hope to return to Rorke’s Drift some time to walk the rest of the trails, to visit other significant historic sites in the area and to relax in this beautiful part of the country.

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Kay F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 September 2013

Rorkes Drift Hotel commands spectacular views and is ideally located for battle field tours. The accommodation is clean, spacious and comfortable, all rooms with incredible outlooks. The lodge is homely, with guests encouraged to mingle, with Charles (the owner and manager) being the most fantastic host. Charles has a wealth of knowledge about the area and is an incredible raconteur - truely bringing the history of the area alive and ensuring that your time at Rorkes Drift is a memory to be cherished forever.

  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled with family
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Thank spike123452016
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 September 2013

You have watched Zulu & Zulu Dawn , now you want to see it your yourself. That is what my wife and I and youngest son did this August. First you look for a place to stay. After deciding not to stay in Dundee ( much to far away) you look at the options nearer Isandhlwana/Rorke's Drift ....after some research you realise that there is no other place to stay. First the location ...directly above the Buffalo River ( the one where the two officers saved the Queens Standard) , a magnificent location. Second the Hotel ....only built in the last few years and classic "out of africa" in style. You then look at other options and realise that the Rorke's Drift Hotel is also good value against some of the other options. Lastly within minutes of arriving you realise that the other reviews on Trip Advisor ....are indeed correct. Everything about the place from the staff , to the food to the rooms ....is just 5 star. Perhaps the icing on the cake is your guide to Isandhlwana & Rorke's Drift ( the reason you came here). Rather than using a white guide ( dressed in Khaki) Charles the owner uses local Zulu guides .....all very well spoken but with a passion and understanding that makes your visit to the Battlefields something special. In fact our guides great grandfather was killed fighting in the last battle of the Zulu Wars. My wife rates this hotel the best one we stayed at in South Africa

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank robert092
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 August 2013

Well what a great place!!! From the moment you find it, NO from the moment your driving there the views are spectacular, the landscape so familiar from the paintings, its unreal!

We arrived in the afternoon and checked in early (no worries) and had a great lunch and a refreshing drink on the huge balcony of the restaurant and bar over looking the drift, such a beautiful location and view! Sat on the side of the world famous Shiyane Hill a few hundred yards around from the "Mission Station" with a Fish Eagle calling and flying along the river, we could not have asked for more!

The decoration of the rooms and Kwa Jim bar is brilliant and sympathetic to both sides of the battle, but not obtrusive my partner and her mother missed a lot of the subtle homages. The books on the bar and in the huge sofa and coffee tabled relaxing area were all well chosen and not all about the war/battle so DO NOT BE AFRAID OF TAKING THE UNINTERESTED (wife)!

That afternoon Whek the river guide took us down to the drift for a bracing paddle and a swim, he is a great guide but rather impatient, he may well shoot under the gate before you get a chance to open it AND has a passion for chasing the goats on the opposite bank, oh and shaking off the river water from his coat over you! Why use the pool?

The evening meals were very good and my vegetarian girlfriend well catered for! The breakfasts were also good with the bonus of pork sausages (the only ones I have been served in South Africa).

We took the battle fields tour through the hotel with the fantastic and uber knowledgeable Zulu guide Dalton (whos Great Great Grandfather was one of the Chiefs of the Zulu involved in Isandluwana! Ill leave him to explain it to you! He has also met Prince Charles and has strong ties to some prestigious authors of the Zulu War AND the welsh regiments museum)he has all the dates and names to hand his tour of the battlefields took ALL day and not once did my girlfriend or her mother find it dull, to be there with him passionately narrating you through the full story in is simply an honor you have to experience!

I in fact we cannot recommend this hotel enough, they cleaned the car, the water was hot and constant (great for such a remote location) with proper showers, English and South African sockets, great staff, good bar, relaxing lounge area,scenic restaurant, quiet library/tv room, tv/fridge/hairdryer/heater and fans in the room. Great walks, great bird life and stunning views!!!

Now the down side which isn't a down side, it is Africa after all!...................... the roads! "Since the World Cup" there have been "road improvements" so the smoothish unmade road (as it is in places where the work hasn't been finished yet) is being "improved" with a surface that is like driving on brick rubble covered in ice! it is VERY bumpy and slippery!!! My advice would be to come in from the Dundee side as you are on this road for the shortest distance! I DO NOT EXAGGERATE allow extra time for this road, the roadside livestock is suicidal, as are the dogs. The bridges are narrower than the road with no sides and poorly signed, try to get there/leave in daylight, the winter dark and fog makes for an interesting drive to catch your flight!

Room Tip: Any in "The Fort" some overlook the river, some the hill, some both, you cant loose!!!
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank 8x1rob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 August 2013

We stayed at the Rorkes Drift Hotel for two nights in February 2013.

The quality of accommodation is superb; clean, well equipped, very comfortable bed and quite brilliant views. Meals were well prepared and presented, using local produce.

The unique component however is the owner and manager, Charles. He combines professionalism with warmth and connection and we felt like house guests in a private residence.

Charles also has in depth knowledge of the Zulu wars in general and the events at Rorkes Drift in particular. One of the many high points of our visit was when, seated on the balcony overlooking the Drift, Charles explained in detail how the events unfolded. His narrative style combined with anecdotes not found in the official guides, was quite exceptional.

Go and visit this historical site and stay at the RD Hotel. We certainly intend to return.

Mike and Jo Long
Leeds UK

  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Mike L L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 August 2013

We stayed at Rorkes Drift Hotel in July 2013. The hotel is absolutely unique in a beautiful place with stunning views. My husband and I stayed in the Shaka Room and our friend had the room next door, we had booked for 2 nights but we stayed for 3. Our beds were so comfortable and linen and towels good quality. All the staff were friendly and did a great job looking after us. The meals were delicious, we enjoyed the various walks we did.
The tour with Dalton was so informative and his story telling presentation about the battle fields came alive in your mind.
The lounge area has big comfy sofas to relax in after a day out exploring, Also the library is a nice spot to choose a book.
We visited the craft and pottery places and small gallery up the road from the hotel, the local people working there showed us how they made the rugs and beautiful pottery pieces
Charles is a brilliant host and a gentleman, he made sure we enjoyed our stay. If ever we visit South Africa again we would most likely have a return trip to Rorkes Drift Hotel as we enjoyed it so much.

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with family
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Thank HEV56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Rorke's Drift Hotel

Address: Isandhlwana Road, Rorke's Drift, South Africa
Region: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Rorke's Drift
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 4 Speciality Lodging in Rorke's Drift
Price Range: £139 - £370 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
At Rorke's Drift on the Buffalo River the new Rorke’s Drift Hotel stands the slopes of Shiyane Mountain (The Oscarberg), in the rolling hills of Zululand. The historic crossing that gives the area its name is within its grounds and the comfortable modern facilities are priced to meet the needs of the discerning traveller. The visitor will enjoy peaceful relaxation in the rural landscape, surrounded by iconic history and natural countryside. Phase One of the construction is now complete with 7 double and four single en-suite rooms. Phase Two will raise the capacity to 30 rooms so that coach touring parties can be accommodated, for the recommended two night stay. The hotel provides an affordable destination at this historic location. Visitors will be stunned by its position overlooking the Buffalo River and with its open views towards Isandlwana, and by its architectural design that is a modern amalgam of Zulu and Victorian cultures. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Rorke's Drift Hotel South Africa/KwaZulu-Natal

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