Three Tree HillSpioenkop / South Africa
The charm of Three Tree Hill is twofold. First, you have the location – the astounding backdrop of South Africa’s Drakensberg Mountains standing over the site, while the lodge itself peers into the Mfazimnyama Valley of the Spioenkop Game Reserve: bustling with the country’s exciting wildlife and Spioenkop itself, setting for some of the fiercest fighting in the Boer conflicts. Secondly, is the Lodge’s eco-friendly mantra – placing strong emphasis on responsible tourism, with its fair trade policies and locally grown farm foods.
What to love
- The heart of the lodge is its cosy lounge and dining areas, adorned with African artifacts and trinkets gathered from the reserve and the battlefield.
- With a viewing deck across the Spioenkop Game Reserve, the resort’s swimming pool area is the ideal spot to zen out and cool down in the South African sun.
- Three Tree Hill is an eco-friendly lodge – and Fair Trade in Tourism accredited – putting great emphasis on responsible tourism and choosing greener options wherever possible.
- With such proximity to the Spioenkop Game Reserve and with the stunning backdrop of the Drakensberg, the resort provides ample opportunity to go exploring the country’s captivating wildlife, especially Rhinos on game walks.
What to know
- Situated near to the base of Van Reenens pass, Three Tree Hill is the perfect stop-off point for anyone travelling between Johannesburg and Durban.
- Owned and run by experienced safari and mountain guides, the resort are committed to local community projects and also employs local staff from a nearby village.
- Three Tree Hill holds the opinion that there’s no need for the safari atmosphere to end once you step into your room. As such, each room and suite has been decorated in a turn-of-the-century colonial style with a definite nod to the history of the area, antique sash windows, wood-panelled interiors and hand-embroidered linen sheets.
Three Tree Hill (formerly known as Three Trees at Spioenkop) is the perfect stop-off for any would-be adventurer. Choose to go rhino tracking with a game expert, submerge yourself in the hour by hour history of the battlefield at Spioenkop, head out for a hike along the winding paths of the Drakensberg Mountains or take a horseback ride across the grassy plains.
And for those moments when you’re not feeling like Indiana Jones, Three Tree Hill provides all the comforts of home, in a traditional African setting: whether you’re unwinding with a pre-dinner aperitif in the memorabilia-adorned lounge, taking an afternoon dip in the outdoor swimming pool or tucking in to the exceptional country-style food and local South African wines on offer in the comforting setting of the family-style communal dining room.
The home-from-home feeling continues with the lodge’s accommodation. Guests have the choice of a standard room, a slightly larger family suite or ‘Churchills’ – a stand-alone villa fitted with a private veranda and pool area. Attention and care has gone into the design of all of the lodge’s 18-bed accommodation, with an authentic colonial style décor featured throughout the rooms. Wood-panelled interiors, antique sash windows and hand-embroidered linen sheets go some way to creating a truly African experience. Each bathroom has its own bath and shower, while each room has its own private deck, to enjoy incredible views of the valley – and any passing wildlife – below. Children are welcomed throughout the Lodge accommodation, while the Churchills is not suitable for children under eight years of age, due to its high balustrade.
When to Travel
Three Tree Hill is open all year round. Summer (September to April) is the rainy season and the Drakensberg region often experiences afternoon thunderstorms. The days are hot (average 77F/25C), but by nightfall it cools down (average 65F/18C). However visitors should always be prepared for the occasional cold snap. The winter months (May to August) are generally mild and dry with warm days (average 60F/ 16C) and chilly mornings and evenings (average 41F/5C) and winter is a wonderful time for visiting KwaZulu-Natal. Interestingly snow has been recorded on top of the Drakensberg every month of the year!
Three Tree Hill is situated in Spioenkop in the northern Drakensberg region of KwaZulu-Natal. The closest town is Bergville which is 24km away, Ladysmith is 45km away. Close to the base of Van Reenens pass, Three Tree Hill is almost half way between Johannesburg and Durban, only 27km from the N3 highway and makes a perfect stop off for anyone journeying between these two cities.
The lodge is the perfect location to base yourself for exploring the major Anglo-Boer War Battlefields in KwaZulu Natal (Battles of Spioenkop and Colenso), the Northern Drakensberg Mountains - a World Heritage Site, and is only a two hours drive from the Anglo-Zulu War Battlefields (Battles of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift).
From Johannesburg the lodge is approx. four hours drive. Alternatively Durban King Shaka International Airport is a three hour drive. The nearest airstrip is in Ladysmith, approx. one hour drive.
Children of all ages are most welcome at Three Tree Hill where the emphasis is on outdoors and nature based entertainment. There is a wide range of family activities on offer such as croquet, nature walks, shrimping and pony rides.
Earlier meal times: Are arranged for children with tasty, simple farm meals to enjoy after a day exploring.
Baby Sitting and Childcare: Baby sitters are available on request and competent first-aid trained staff at the lodge can look after children whilst adults are on a tour or enjoying a meal.
Please note that children under the age of 12 years are not permitted on the battlefield tours.
Swimming Pool: A viewing deck and swimming pool offer complete relaxation under the spreading canopy of an Acacia tree. The pool is kept warm by an insulated thermal blanket at night and the water temperature ranges between 18 to 24 degrees Celsius.
Drakensberg Canopy Tours: A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see South Africa from treetop advantage. Led by trained guides, these canopy tours allow visitors to glide from tree and cliff vantage points. An unforgettable family day out.
Reptile Centre: This reptile centre in the Drakensberg may be small, but it’s packed with an array of invertebrates, arachnids, mammals and reptiles that inhabit this thriving ecosystem. The centre offers guided talks and tours.
Horse Trail Riding: There are plenty of horse trails at Three Tree Hill, offering a unique way to experience the flora and fauna that inhabits the Mfazimnyama Valley and the Spioenkop Game Reserve.