Three Tree Hill Lodge, A rustic paradise
On a short break to KwaZulu-Natal, I was lucky enough to stay at Three Tree Hill Lodge and visit the Anglo-Boer War battlefield site of Spioenkop. Through the mists of the Drakensburg Mountains, I discovered and experienced a past era surrounded by history and a peaceful backdrop. Overlooking the Mfazimnyama Valley of Spioenkop Game Reserve, Three Tree Hill Lodge proved to be a destination I will never forget.
I had always wanted to travel to this lodge, particularly because of its farm-style appeal. The lodge, with its rustic earthy look and feel, embodies the warmth of its surroundings which I thought to be very similar to that of the Karoo National Park. I was in awe of the rich vegetation, dusty and barren, and boasting warm oranges against rich green fauna. The lodge is set among all the Zulu cultural villages, up on a hill and completely secluded. It derives its name from the hill below Spioenkop nearby that stood impressively with just three trees on top. This was obviously in the 1900's, however, and the vegetation has since changed.
Three Tree Hill is a family-run lodge, owner-managed by a remarkable team; Simon and Cheryl Blackburn. Simon and Cheryl were very generous right from the start and I was totally taken aback by their warm hospitality. It was immediately apparent that together they eat, sleep, and breathe their love for Three Tree Hill. The relaxed and informal atmosphere speaks volumes and you are not considered as a guest, but part of the family or a dear old friend. We were looked after so well, the food was brilliant, and I thoroughly enjoyed dinner at Three Tree Hill Lodge which was served at a big communal dining table. Our accommodation was also a luxury in itself; an impressive luxury private villa with a plunge pool that overlooked endless breath-taking views of the Mfazimnyama Valley of Spioenkop Game Reserve.
The highlight of our trip was a wonderful and unexpected bush walk, led by Simon, in the Spioenkop Game reserve below the Three Tree Hill Lodge. We walked in among the reserve’s incredible wildlife and were able to view zebra, giraffe and even rhino up close. The favorite experience was undoubtedly the Anglo-Boer War battlefields trip to Spioenkop. Here, Simon told a riveting re-telling of the events that took place during the battles and bloody wars fought over a period of 70 years between the British, Zulu and Boers.
With his passion for Africa’s wildlife, history and culture, I believe Simon embodies the iconic David Rattray. Standing on the grounds of the battlefield, listening to Simon, I felt transported to that time and could almost visualize all that took place. This left me feeling totally captivated; an experience I will never forget.
Three Tree Hill is the ‘real deal’ and I can’t thank Simon and Cheryl enough for such an amazing experience. It is the perfect place for both locals interested in a weekend retreat, as well as, overseas travelers looking for an excellent safari destination to explore the Drakensburg region of KwaZulu-Natal or learn about the fascinating history of the Battlefields and The Zulu Kingdom. I believe it is not just for those interested in history and is a must destination for any traveler.
Staying at Three Tree Hill and the Spioenkop tour turned out to be the highlights of our trip to KwaZulu-Natal. I had no idea that a plain little ‘koppie’ (Afrikaans for A small hill in a generally flat area.) in the middle of nowhere could tell such an interesting Anglo-Boer War story.
- Three Tree Hill Lodge
- Kwazulu Natal Tours
- More on the Zulu Kingdom
- More on the Drakensburg and Midlands
- Recommended accommodation in the area