No experience of South Africa is complete without a taste of homestead-living and true home-brewed hospitality deep in the hinterland where life percolates slowly to the pace of nature. One place where you can have this wonderfully laid-back kind of hinterland-experience is at Three Tree Hill Lodge.
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Also known as Three Trees at Spioenkop, the lodge is set in an African landscape of aloes against the magnificent Drakensberg mountains, overlooking the secluded valley of the Spioenkop Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal.
It’s a real home-from-home with just 16 beds, and it’s carefully and lovingly run by its owners, Simon & Cheryl Blackburn. These folk have a passion for Africa drumming in their hearts, which makes them wonderful hosts to international guests who want a real taste of unadulterated Africa. Simon and Cheryl’s children and their pets complete the picture of a warm, homely lodge – the kind of place you just have to think of to smell the bread baking … (Incidentally, this lodge was built in 1999 by the late David Rattray and his business partner Andrew Ardington.)
There are six standard luxury twin suites, as well as a 2-bedroomed family suite, which is situated away from the other guest suites. It has a master bedroom (en-suite), a children’s room with a separate toilet, and a small kitchenette.
Each of the rooms at Three Tree Hill Lodge has its own deck, offering amazing views of the valley and of Spioenkop. Your deck is a prime spot for an early-morning cuppa or an evening nightcap, and you could easily find yourself sitting out in the company of passing animals.
The main lodge has those gorgeous wide verandahs of the colonial era. These are maximised as dining areas, where guests can take in the views whilst delighting in excellent local cuisine.
History-lovers, please know that Three Tree Hill Lodge specialises in the history of the second Anglo-Boer War from from 1899 – 1902, and in particular the Battle of Spioenkop. During fascinating tours, guides breathe life into this embattled period of South Africa’s history.
If you’re not a history enthusiast, please don’t turn away in alarm. There are plenty of other activities to enjoy. From the lodge you have easy access to The uKhahlamba National Park, Cathedral Peak and the Champagne Valley – all are within an hour’s drive of the lodge.
There are a number of hikes to do, ranging from short half-hour walks to full-day hikes. Guided hikes are also on offer. Both Simon & Cheryl are FGASA qualified Field Guides, with a vast store of knowledge on the fauna and flora of the area.
San Rock Art is another attraction in this area. The Ukhahlamba Park is one of the most densely painted regions in Africa, containing some 550 known San rock painting sites, and over 40 000 recorded individual images. Didima Rock Art Centre is situated in the Cathedral Peak Nature Reserve and provides informative insights into the San people’s lives.
A variety of wildlife populates the Spioenkop Game Reserve, and Three Tree Hill Lodge is well situated for wildlife viewing. Rhino and giraffe and many varieties of antelope can be seen near the Lodge. For birders there are 300 recorded species in the area, with Cape Vultures, Lanner Falcons, Buff Streaked Chats and Fairy Flycatchers among them. In the winter months mountain-dwelling birds descend to the foothills to take advantage of the nectar of the aloes in the full flame of their flowering season.
The area offers several scenic golf courses, local curio shops, and hot-air balloon rides.
The well-known Drakensberg Boys Choir hails from this region, and they continue to perform a diverse repertoire ranging from the classical composers to Freddy Mercury, Jazz, folk and African music.
Three Tree Hill Lodge received the Green Leaf Award in 2009 for their serious efforts at reducing their environmental impact. They were the very first KwaZulu-Natal property to receive this award.
Mail our Getaway Consultants for more information or call us on 0860 102 907 (local) or +27 21 797-7122.