During the attempted siege of Ladysmith, the battle of Spioenkop between Anglo and Boer continued into the dark of night on the 23 Jan 1900. Gunfire as loud as thunder, bloodshed spread rampantly and the loud groaning of injured soldiers made the air heavy with fear. Confusion reigned amongst the Anglo soldiers as their team leaders fought against each other for leadership, later retreating to safer grounds in the valley on Three Tree Hill…
As we sat there on the top of Spieonkop some 110 years after the battle, Omri, our specialist battlefields guide, had us hanging on every word as the story unfolded. What a mess! What a disaster of a battle! Even for someone that always hated history at school, I was dumbfounded at this story. And a story is what it is. The battlefields of Natal are not only for historians, the British or the Boers. If its told in a story like Omri unfolded for us, it’s a journey that anyone can enjoy.
Three Tree Hill Lodge offers a wonderful base from which to explore the Anglo-Boer battlefields of Spioenkop and Colenso. Passionately run by owners Simon and Cheryl Blackburn, the lodge exudes a homely, comfortable atmosphere. The spacious dark green corrugated iron chalets give off a British colonial feel from something out the old gold mining days. Beautifully decorated inside with warm colours, the finest linen and lovely colonial furniture, the chalets show the attention to detail. A private wooden deck extends from each chalet overlooking a spectacular view of the Spioenkop Nature Reserve and Spioenkop itself. The peace and silence is breathtaking.
Another great attraction that this area offers is the spectacular, dramatic Drakensberg Mountain range. Within an hour’s drive from Three Tree Hill Lodge is the uKhahlamba National Park (formerly the Royal Natal National Park), Cathedral Peak and the Champagne Valley, all of these offering superb hiking trails and breathtaking views. Take a delicious pack-lunch lovingly prepared for you by the chef at Three Tree Hill and enjoy a days hike.
The cuisine at Three Tree Hill Lodge is simple but wonderfully delicious and wholesome and is served at a large communal wooden table in the dining room or on the patio, allowing you to mix with fellow travellers and chat about the days activities. While staying at Three Tree Hill all meals are included. They also have a large selection of excellent South African wines, which can be enjoyed over dinner.
In my opinion, Three Tree Hill Lodge is well worth a stay offering great value for money, a minimum of 2 nights is recommended and the drive up from Durban is a mere 2hrs 30min.
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