Your hosts, Simon and Cheryl Blackburn (ex Singita Private Game Reserve and ex Kwando Safari Experience) are both experienced safari & mountain guides, South African-born, they have spent their time together exploring remote parts of Africa. Their four children, Kei, Neo, Jos and Cas have joined them on many of these adventures. On one of these adventures, they stumbled across Three Tree Hill Lodge and fell in love with it. They saw an opportunity to start fulfilling their vision of building up a brand of small luxury owner-managed lodges.
Previous owners Andrew Ardington, and the late David Rattray (world-renowned Anglo-Zulu War historian and owner of Fugitives Drift Lodge) built the lodge in 1999 with the main focus of bringing to life the vivid struggle between one of the largest Empires in history and one of the smallest nations in the world at the time. Simon continues to share the events of this dramatic time on the Anglo-Boer War history tours with guests that visit Three Trees.
The Blackburns have woven their love and knowledge of nature with the history of the area, which offers guests an unparalleled, diverse experience in the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains. Being animal lovers, expect to encounter most of the four dogs, some of the nine horses, three cats and sIx chickens during your stay at Three Tree Hill Lodge.
The Vision at Three Trees is based on adherence to specific criteria including fair wages and working conditions, fair distribution of benefits, ethical business practice, and respect for human rights, culture and the environment. The certification covering these criteria was chosen on a voluntary basis as available to providers of tourist accommodation, activities and attractions.
Three Tree Hill Lodge is active in the local community. The Lodge fundraises through the Three Tree Social Community Fund to benefit local schools. This includes provision of a feeding programme (with vitamin and mineral enriched porridge), maintaining the school grounds and building a jungle gym for Zamokuhle Creche. A computer room, with 25 workstations has been set up for the high school and and of 2013 provided internet connection. We are still looking for computer studies teachr as part of the programme. A number of students, sponsored by the Department of Economic Development, have completed their practical training at the lodge ver the years, enabling them to gain a diploma in National Tourism Guiding; one is now permanently employed at the lodge.
A local cattle herdsman, Abram Maphalala, an exceptional athlete, has been sponsored to run in various marathons – including the Two Oceans Marathon in Cape Town. His most recent participation earned him a nineteenth overall placement – a wonderful achievement! Fresh produce is all obtained from the local farmers co-operative in Bergville. Great care and research has gone into sourcing produce from small business owners located in the area. The lodge has it’s own vegetable & herb garden which is used daily in preparation for guest meals. Compost & Vermi-compost is made on site & used to nourish the garden. Only organic deterrents (garlic & canola oil) are used in the garden to ward off pests. They have embarked on a program using foods in the kitchen with reduced preservatives, additives & colorants, purchasing only South African made products, where possible. Replacement linen & furnishings are bought locally in South Africa by South African designers.