Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Rattrace 2012

31 October 2012

To those of you who attended this year’s race, a huge thank you for coming and taking part in our annual event. Everybody seemed to agree that the new off-road format worked much better and we have even more exciting plans for next year’s race, expanding on the new concept, offering different distances and formalising the children’s race. Oh, yes and putting out more signs and marshals to reduce the numbers of lost cyclists and incidents of bad language! (Sorry Craig).

We brought in a total of R30 000.00 including the entry fees and fines collected but, as we always say, the RattRace is not really about the money we raise. It is an annual celebration of David’s life and his contribution to the Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift communities and it is the one day in the David Rattray Foundation calendar when the fund-raising effort is visible in the community itself. It is also a great excuse for a gang of friends to get together and have a good ol’ party.! For these reasons, it is an important tradition and we are delighted to have seen so many old and new faces for this year’s race. Thank you James (and his guitar) for such great entertainment, we look forward to a Myers/Hendry duet next year!

Please note that the RattRace 2013 will not take place on the Heritage Day weekend as in all previous years. We are moving the event to the end of July in the hope that we will attract more entrants and especially more younger participants. The 2013 RattRace will therefore take place on the weekend of the 19/20 July so please block off that weekend in your diary now.

To those of you who didn’t attend the 2012 RattRace, to my immense regret I am again obliged to penalise you, although, as on previous occasions, we have decided that if you book for next year’s race, you will have the option of having the amount of this fine returned to you as a discount on your entry fee for 2013. A special thank you for their very generous donation goes to the Godlonton family who unfortunately could not make it this year. This, however, does not mean that you can miss the 2013 weekend!
The fine for non-attendance by previous attendees is, as usual, R500 per couple and it may be paid into the David Rattray Foundation bank account as follows: Standard Bank, Ladysmith Branch no 057725. Account number 060148330. Please use your surname as a reference.

Many thanks for your support in the past and again now. A big thank you to our sponsors, especially SATIB for yet again sponsoring the T shirts.
We very much hope to see you next year. More details will follow through the year.
See you there – for more aching muscles, emptying pockets and, above all, good company and fine food! The more the merrier …

Saturday, June 16, 2012

June 2012

In my last post I said I couldn't believe we were three months into the year already, and in what feels like the blink of an eye it is now June, half way to Christmas!

Every day this past summer we hoped for rain - a lot of cloud build up and thunder and lightening but no rain. According to a local farmer who has farm records going back two generations, this past summer was the driest since 1948. It is tinder dry, burning firebreaks is going to be a challenge! We anticipate losing some game this winter as a result of the drought, the supply of water is not a problem, it is the quality of the grass that is the issue.

The weather is glorious at the moment, KwaZulu Natal at its best, warm sunny days and crisp mornings and evenings. The aloes are flowering, as ever a spectacular sight.

Andrew, Anel and I had a great marketing trip to the UK, at the end of April/early May - timed perfectly to co-incide with constant rain and cold! Despite this we had a super trip and were so pleased to meet so many agents and operators that support us.

The first weekend in June was our annual Battlefields by Bike weekend, we had a great turnout and everyone had a super weekend. Only one or two minor spills, Andrew had bad luck and had 2 punctures on the first section of the ride! Darryn on his 'Green Mamba', his antique that has travelled the world with him put all of those on light fancy bikes to shame! The route and the day ended with everyone riding the single track on the farm to the viewpoint overlooking the site of the Fugitives' Drift - a large gin and tonic the only way to end a long day in the saddle!

Talking of mountain biking - we now have 3 tracks on the farm. The Red, Green and Blue routes, obviously the red is the most technical and the blue the easiest. These routes double up as walking trails and are clearly marked. Great to take the dogs and go off on a walk ... or a cycle.

The Rattrace 2012 in aid of The David Rattray Foundation is on the weekend of the 21 September - this year we aim to do at least half, 3/4's if we possbily can on single track. Sign up now for a fun filled weekend for a great cause. or

he David Rattray Foundation now has it's own Facebook page. Ben Henderson, CEO of the DRF - forever a Facebook non believer is now a convert and has spend days (and nights) uploading all the information and pictures of the Foundaions journey over the past 5 years - its makes for very interesting viewing. Please go onto the page and like it - it makes a difference the more likes we have, not terribly sure how or why but I am told it just does! Who am I to argue!

Two things to remember - 1)our 'beat the recession winter specials', take advantage of our ridiculously low rates until the end of August, and again in December (check website for details and 2) remember to book for the Rattrace, bring your family and your bikes, and as David always said, 'let's give it horns!'

We look forward to seeing you here - battlefields, mountain biking, horseriding, walking, bird watching - you can do it all at Fugitives' Drift!

Till next time ...

Friday, March 9, 2012

March 2012

I can't believe it is March already, and there has been no blog since November - where has the year gone? I feel like I should still be saying happy new year!

We had an exciting start to the new year, with Doug's 21st birthday party at Fairview in January. Never having had a function at Fairview, our property at The Crags near Plettenberg Bay, it was with a certain degree of trepidation that we planned it. 85 people invited,music booked, bar stocked,food sorted (all relatives were press ganged into chopping, peeling and cooking) but what we couldn't control was the weather! No tent,tables laid in the garden, totally reliant on good weather! We need not have worried, it was a beautiful evening, stunning sunset and the party finally ended at 3am!

Andrew and Anel announced their engagement in January to much excitement, and will be getting married at Fairview in October. However, this time we are taking no chances with the weather and will have a tent and we will not be doing the catering ourselves!

This seems to be the year of The Wedding. George Irwin and Renee Bufe who met while working here, are getting married in August and we are thrilled that they have chosen to have it at Fugitives' Drift. A new challenge as this will be the first wedding for the Lodge!

January and February sped by, we were very busy which was great. Super guests with just a couple of tricky ones thrown in to keep us on our toes! If you read our Facebook page you will have read my laments about the lack of rain - this is the driest summer since 1948, we have had the sum total of 60mm since the 1 January - it is desperately dry. For our guests the weather has been perfect! We thought the cyclone last week might bring us some relief, but all we got was overcast weather and strong winds!

The game continues to flourish, plenty of impala, blesbok and zebra were born late last year, and it is always so exciting to see newborn giraffe. They are not suffering from the drought yet, although low summer rainfall has a detrimental effect on the quality of the winter grazing which is concerning.

A group of us staff, and sometimes energetic guests cycle every morning and we are treated most days to great game viewing. A couple of times we have been rewarded by a brief sighting of bushpigs darting across the path in front of us! We have cut some great mountain biking single track and are in the process of marking the routes so guests can take a bike (we now have 4 exclusively for guests use) and go off on a ride.

My New Years resolutions (I must have forgotten the one about regular blogs!)were to upgrade our website ( and Facebook page, these are done and are looking great. Have a look at the website for specials as well as information on our Battlefields by Bike weekend in June and The Rattrace in September.

I think that is enough from me for now and it wont be 4 months till I post again - I hope!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ancient piece in the rock garden - by Dan Hathaway

I discovered four different types of interesting rock during my visit to Fugitive's Drift. All four of them tell very different stories.

These are my observations about the rock I am holding in the photograph.
It isn't often I get to hold a piece of import breccia in my hand. In fact, I have never done it before.
This is so because impact breccia is formed by the collision of meteorite with the surface of the earth. This is a very rare occurrence.

There are really only a few places in the world where this has happened.
So to be holding a piece of evidence of cosmic collision is all the more exciting.

If you look closely at impact breccia you can see the shattered fragments of the earth's crust that the meteorite slammed into. I was thinking that it looked like someone seriously tore into a rock pile with a sledgehammer. The whole thing is glued together in a matrix of something called melt rock. Melt rock is caused by the tremendous amount of heat liberated by the impact. The breccia then cools and solidifies.

Did anything get hurt by the meteorite? Probably not, because the age of a nearby crater is about 2 billion years old. The only things living back then were single cell bacteria. It was a really different world.

Who would have thought that a walk in your beautiful rock garden would extend back that far.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Guest feedback - the best advertising!

Dear Nicky,
It was a pleasure to meet you after waiting all these years.
Below is from Dan, for you to use on the blog. Rest assured he will have much more to say!
God bless you,

Dear Nicky,

I want to tell you how much Alison and I enjoyed our stay at Fugitive's Drift. Your extraordinary
effort and attention to detail made our stay memorable.

When I travel I miss my pets at home. Having the black labrador, Spud, meet us at our door made me feel so welcome. There is nothing quite like enjoying morning coffee and a view of the African countryside with a sleeping dog at your feet.

We are looking forward to our next stay.

Dan Hatheway
Deep River Connecticut

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Great feedback from Sally Kirby of Sally and Alice Travel Co

Sally kindly agreed to let me share her feedback on her stay at Fugitives' Drift last week.

Hello Nicky,

Sorry not to see you at Fugitives during our stay, but rest assured we were very well looked after by your team. Having heard so much about Fugitives Drift over the years, I am so pleased I finally got there to find out what all the fuss was about, it is a very special place. I have listed in brief some of the highlights from my stay, thank you so much for arranging it and for suggesting Umzinyathi for our group, it was perfect:

Fugitives Lodge – beautiful gardens, herb garden, pool area for midday lounging and freshen up before afternoon tour. Dogs running around, family photos, press snippets – steeped in history yet very relaxing. Lots of space for people to spread out and find there own little corner to relax and enjoy the views.

Harford Library – I could have spent days in here, such a wonderful building and full of so many fascinating books, comfy sofas – and views over to Isandlwana mesmerizing.

Umzinyathi – beautiful setting, loved the views out the front. We arrived in the dark to find all candles and fire lit, very atmospheric. Breakfast under the trees, watching the giraffes nearby and cattle being herded. Margaret and Keos were on hand to look after us, very warm, smiley and attentive.

Rorkes Drift tour with Andrew – he was excellent, very natural, moving and an excellent storyteller. I left with a lot of soggy tissues, and a notebook brimming – and a fascination with Anglo-Zulu history

Staff – all great but particularly loved Grace, she was the perfect hostess and had everyone clapping when she sang after dinner.

Dinner – v atmospheric, we had two long tables, the 5 course dinner was delicious and lots of interesting conversation flowing across several different nationalities and age groups.

Thank you again to you and the team for welcoming us into your beautiful home. You have a fantastic set up and I look forward to working with you all.

With best wishes,


t: +44 7904 958 194
s: sallykirby