After a two-day jaunt in the stunning Spioenkop Valley, two Exclusive Getaways leisure-trippers returned refreshed and full of the joys of a Spring getaway in KwaZulu-Natal. Our enthusiastic adventurers were hosted by Simon and Cheryl Blackburn at their beautiful Spioenkop homestead, resting contentedly above the valley.
From Durban, your drive out to Spioenkop isn’t a huge mission; it’s about 2½ hours. Right at the end of it, expect a stretch of sand road – but a really good one – to get you the last 8km of the trip.
Arrive deep in the hinterland, at Three Trees at Spioenkop, where life turns deliciously slowly and in step with nature. The lodge is set in a classic African landscape of aloes flaming red against the Drakensberg mountains and overlooking the secluded valley of the Spioenkop Game Reserve.
Cheryl and Simon Blackburn are people with a real heart for Africa. Their children and pets complete the picture of a welcoming lodge where people feel they can put their feet up and be at home.
Cheryl took us out on a walk one afternoon – a good walk, of about an hour and a half – with her dogs happily in tow. We traipsed contentedly through farmland to a boundary line of the Spioenkop Nature Reserve, seeing loads of game including eland, rhino and kudu along the way.
The next day we took a scenic drive from the lodge to the Royal Natal National Park. (The scenic route via Bergville is 50 minutes, but there’s also a more direct half-hour route). There are several walks and hikes to be done there, and the one we picked was a short but beautiful walk to the Cascades. It’s well worth remembering that this spectacular but undemanding walk is wheelchair- and pram-friendly.
Back at the lodge, accommodation is wonderfully secluded, with the kind of little extras that take a stay well beyond comfort. The rooms have facilities for making warm drinks, there are wall heaters, and a really lovely little plus is finding a hottie in your bed at night! From your verandah you have wide, soothing views of Spioenkop, and if you sit out for a bit, you’ll definately see animals passing by.
There’s also accommodation for families. The family suite has an en-suite double room, with a separate bedroom for the kids (bunk beds plus separate single bed), with a trunk filled with toys to keep them entertained. There’s also a small kitchenette, plus separate loo and washhand basin. Families have their own garden with a sandpit, and a jungle gym is also on the cards.
The new Churchills Private Villa is a beautiful stand-alone villa which has two bedrooms, each with en-suite bathroom and incredible views over Spioenkop Game Reserve. Churchills has its own plunge pool, entertainment and braai deck. There’s an open-plan living space with a modern kitchen where guests can prepare their own meals. This is a private option for honeymooners, families with teenagers or friends travelling together. No children under 8 years are permitted, because of the villa’s high balustrade. For 2012/13 only Churchills has a special introductory offer of R1,950 per person/night sharing.
Get out and about in the reserve on foot, bike your way through the beauty, or see it from the saddle. The area is also well known for its tours of the battlefields. Spioenkop is a birder’s dream, especially when the Aloes are flowering.
Mail us to book, or call 0860 102 907 / +27 21 797-7122.