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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Things to do in South Africa

A warm family welcome and a slice of quintessential Africa at Three Tree Hill Lodge

We’ve brought up four children here, and our aim is to extend a warm, family welcome to our guests…

By Cheryl Blackburn
Owner and guide, Three Tree Hill Lodge

The previous owner built Three Tree Hill into the side of a hill, overlooking the Mfazimnyama Valley, which is part of the Spioenkop Game Reserve. The lodge is surrounded by several flat-crowned acacia trees which gives us that ‘iconic Africa’ feel – it’s real Robert Redford and Meryl Streep stuff.

We’ve brought up four children hereand our aim is to extend a warm, family welcome to our guests. Having only nine rooms means we’re able to offer a very personalised experience.

We decided to make life easy for larger-than-average families by including lodges that accommodate four children. Two of our three family cottages have their own pools so the kids can make as much noise as they like. We offer little extras including a toy box, small gowns, and mini hot water bottles. We’ve even got a couple of family specific trails – one of which leads to a ‘magic faraway tree’ that’s actually a very large, climbable acacia with a big wooden swing – and another that leads to a river and encourages them to get properly dirty and muddy.

Being in Spioenkop gives us access to a population of white rhino, which is a real treat for visitors, and we’re the only private concession to take guests into the park – on foot. It’s a real ‘touch the ground lightly’ experience that lets you feel part of the environment. You feel a little bit vulnerable but it’s all very exciting.

Three Tree Hill is also surrounded by the site of a famous Anglo Boer War battle. Our previous owner was passionate about the Battlefields and we’ve continued that theme. The walls in our lounge are a treasure trove of memorabilia and every now and then a relative of someone who fought in the battle will bring in a diary, a buckle or a belt and we add it to the story.

We try to reduce our environmental footprint wherever possible and we encourage people to take home things they’ve observed – whether it’s re-filling wine bottles with water or preserving tea bags to use as firelighters. Our lodges are painted green, so we blend into the valley. We’re lucky to live in a farming area, which gives us fantastic fresh produce. One fun thing we do is cook meals on our oversized solar cooker. It’s a series of reflective aluminium sheets put together like a satellite dish and it boils a five-litre pot of water in nine minutes. Our cook uses it to make dishes like lentil curry and lamb stew. She goes out once an hour to stir the pot and turn it in tandem with the sun.

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  • Culture
  • History
  • Places to stay
  • Scenery
  • Wildlife

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Alfred & Cheryl Blackburn

Being born in the Kruger National Park instilled in Cheryl a love of nature and wildlife. Having lived and worked as a guide in the Kruger reserve, and also in Botswana, she eventually got the opportunity to run her own lodge, with her growing family, in the lush KwaZulu Natal Drakensberg region. She still finds time to guide guests on foot, tracking white rhino in the neighbouring Spioenkop Game Reserve.

Alfred&

Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Andy, who's travelled extensively in South Africa. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember - ex banker who can show you the hottest foodie spots in Cape Town, the award-winning young sommelier who can introduce you to Stellenbosch's finest wines and the walking safari ranger who can guide you to the best game.

Freephone an expert 01306 744 656