Stepping back in time at Three Tree Hill Lodge

The Lodge and Lodgings

Staying at Three Tree Hill Lodge is like stepping back in time to the days of Queen Victoria and the empire on which the sun never set. This beautiful eco-lodge is etched against the breath-taking backdrop of the northern Drakensburg in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. Nestled at the foot of the famous Spioenkop Hill, all the rooms face north-east affording guests a magnificent view over the Mfazimnyama Valley in the game filled Spioenkop Game Reserve.

The lodge is colonial in style with wide, cool verandas and vernacular architecture. The main building is beautifully decorated with artifacts, books, and art from yester year. I could easily have spent a whole day just absorbing all this history. The lodge’s library has a wonderful collection of Africana, Natural history, and biographies. The beautiful wine cellar, named after the owner’s mother, is the latest edition to the lodge and boasts an impressive wine collection. When visiting Three Tree Hill Lodge be sure to enjoy at least one meal in the wine cellar. Also be sure to drink a few G&Ts while visiting the lodge, as they also have a notable gin offering.

Three Tree Hill Lodge has six luxury, double cottages and three two-bedroomed family cottages. All the rooms have en-suite bathrooms and private verandas from where you can soak up the magnificent views of the valley. The hand-embroidered linen, as well as the locally made down duvets and pillows, and natural handcrafted body-care products add a touch of indulgence to the already luxurious accommodation.

We stayed in one of the two-bedroomed Cottages. Named after the naturalist/explorer William John Burchell, the Burchells family cottage is decorated with canvas replicas of his drawings, as well as framed butterfly art and a printed glass map detailing his epic journey. I absolutely loved the owners’ approach to the décor. The locally crafted custom-made furniture is made from reclaimed cyprus, oak and cedar wood. The oldy world brass light fittings were salvaged from a shipwreck, off the coast of Natal. They also chose to only use South African designed and crafted fabrics for the soft furnishings. The building itself was designed to have minimal environmental impact using a ‘touch the earth lightly’ concept. A thin concrete slab supported below by polystyrene blocks set on a steel frame make the base structure light and thermally efficient. The building itself is made of a light steel frame clad in chromadek, with efficient insulation in the walls and ceiling. Water saving devices are used throughout the building. Water is heated using 16 glass evacuated tubes. This eco-consciousness is visibly throughout the cottage. I especially loved the bins for recycling and compostable material in the kitchen.

Activities

There is a myriad of activities to do in and around Three Tree Hill Lodge. The lodge offers a number of guided activities. For the history buffs there are several half-day and full-day guided battlefield tours. The tours include the Battle of Spioenkop, the Ladysmith siege, battle of Caesar’s camp and Wagon point, as well as Isandlwana and Rorke’s drift. The lodge’s guided horse trail rides are also very popular. A guided walk with Simon in the Spioenkop reserve is a must when staying at the lodge. The reserve is home to white rhino, several antelope species, and a wide variety of birds.

‘The stories and legends of the Anglo-Boer wars and Zulu battles are vividly alive here…’

Guests can also enjoy many onsite self-guided activities. Why not grab a walking stick from the lodge’s veranda and go for a hike on the adjacent cattle farm? Alternatively, you could go cycling through the neighbouring village or tackle one of the more technical routes on the farm. Mountain bikes can be rented from the lodge for R420 per person.

If hiking and biking is not your thing, why not just relax beside the pool, on you own veranda or on the viewing deck with one of those G&T’s I mentioned.  Or arrange with reception to pack you a lunch and go picnicking at the Magic Faraway tree or The Old Kraal.  

Be sure not to leave Three Tree Hill without having enjoyed a sundowner overlooking the Drakenberg Mountains and Spioenkop dam. It truly is a magical experience.

Community

You get a sense of community when you stay at Three Tree Hill Lodge. Simon and Cheryl Blackburn, the owners of the lodge, live on-site with their four children, Kei, Neo, Jos and Cas and are personally involved in the daily running of the lodge and safari guiding. Both Simon and Cheryl have such warm and welcoming personalities that you feel at home the moment you arrive at the lodge.

Simon and Cheryl are passionate about Africa, her people and culture and it shows. All the staff working at lodge are residents of neighbouring village, but this only accounts for 25 members of the community and the unemployment rate is heigh. To help the community of Hambrook village the lodge has established the Three Tree Hill Foundation that helps small businesses in the community by providing these business owners with a space to sell the wares. To see products available, go to https://www.threetreehill.co.za/

Whether you are a history buff, nature lover or just looking for some old-world charm and warm hospitality you will love Three Tree Hill Lodge. To make a reservation contact Cheryl at reservations@threetreehill.com or 036 448 1171

xxx

Photo credits: Fay van Eeden, Peet van Eeden, Francios Ebersohn

Trip: Fully paid by Enroutefoodie

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