Three Trees at Spioenkop

Location: South Africa » Kwazulu Natal » Drakensberg » Northern Drakensberg » Bergville

Three Tree Hill Lodge Bed & Breakfast accommodation in Ladysmith Kwazulu Natal

4 Star
Name of hostsCheryl Blackburn
Tel:+27 (0)36 448 1171

Three Trees at Spioenkop
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Surrounded by the Drakensberg Mountains, overlooking a secluded valley of the Spioenkop Game Reserve and in the lee of the famous hill, Spioenkop, lies Three Trees Lodge.

The Lodge has been built on a hillside amongst the striking Aloe Spectabilis and the Paperbark Acacia with views that inspired a guest to write ‘Africa at its finest!’. It overlooks the Spioenkop Game Reserve, where white rhino, giraffe, zebra, eland, kudu, numerous smaller antelope can be seen, perhaps even from your bath! 270 bird species from Cape Vultures and Lanner Falcons to Buff Streaked Chats and Fairy Flycatchers have been recorded in the area.

Spioenkop or Spion Kop?

The name Spion Kop (Spy [Lookout] Hill) was given to this impressive hill by the Voortrekkers in 1837. This was the original Dutch spelling and is still the English version. Spioenkop is the modern Afrikaans spelling. So, as you wish.



Our flagship tour is a full day out, beginning with the Battle of Spioenkop, then lunch back at the Lodge, followed by the Battle of Colenso, plus Churchill’s Capture at Chieveley. This is a full day tour, but can be done as two half day tours.


Breakfast is at 07:45 and the tour departs at 08:30 to the battlefield where this compelling story is told. The tour tells of the bloodiest day of the war, fought on Spionkop. This is arguably the most famous of all battles between the British and the Boers. The tour returns to the Lodge for lunch, approximately four hours later.


After lunch, (approx. 14:15 - 14:30), the tour departs for the site of Winston Churchill’s Capture, where the Boer forces took him prisoner. This event propelled him onto the political stage in Britain. The tour then proceeds to the site of the Battle of Colenso, where General Sir Redvers Buller suffered his first defeat in his attempt to relieve Ladysmith. In this battle 7 Victoria Crosses were won.

Cost - Flagship Tour (full day): R750 per person l
Battle of Spioenkop Tour (half day): R450
Battle of Colenso Tour (half day): R450
Booking: These tours are conducted daily on request, but can be booked in advance
Location: Spionkop Battlefield, Chieveley and Colenso Battlefield. Both parts of the tour start and finish at the Lodge


Three Trees offers great access to The uKhahlamba National Park (formerly the Royal Natal National Park), Cathedral Peak (with the new Didma Rock Art Interpretation Centre) and the Champagne Valley (Drakensberg Boys Choir) are all within an hours drive of Three Trees. So whether it’s hiking, walking, climbing, riding, rock art, trout fishing, spectacular scenery or helicopter flips you are after, it’s all on our doorstep.

Activity: Walking, Hiking, Horse Riding, Trout Fishing, Climbing
Booking: Day hikes and walks do not require bookings
Duration: Depends on activity chosen
Location: On average an hour's drive from Three Trees



Our position overlooking the Spioenkop Game Reserve affords great game viewing opportunities, whether it is from your room, on horseback or whilst out walking on our property. Rhino and giraffe and many varieties of antelope may be spotted grazing near the Lodge on the other side of the fence.


Stocked with rhino, giraffe, zebra, eland and numerous other antelope; home to more than 270 bird species and with spectacular views of the Drakensberg over Spionkop Dam, Spioenkop Game Reserve is worth a visit. The drive to the entrance gate is 50 minutes from the lodge.

HORSE RIDES There are numerous opportunities for horse riding at and around Three Trees. We offer rides on the property providing wonderful views of the Spioenkop Battlefield, the Game Reserve and the Drakensberg Mountains. They provide a wonderful opportunity to experience the spectacular countryside up close whether to view the flora and fauna, to gain insights into the difficulties of fighting a war with Victorian impedimenta on this terrain, or to view seldom visited parts of the Battlefield (for example the Boer trenches on nTabanyama). Cost R295 per person


There are numerous walks available from the Lodge. So if its nature, history, enjoying the fauna & flora or purely exercise the choice is yours.


There are a number of golf courses in the Drakensberg, all within an hour’s drive of the Lodge. Notably the Champagne Sports Resort Golf Course, which is rated in the Top 20 courses in the country.


Simply relax around the pool, on the deck or on the verandah at the Lodge enjoying the space and tranquillity.


The average height of the KwaZulu Natal Drakensberg Mountains or uKhahlamba (onomatopoeic Zulu for a Barrier of Shields and Spears) is about 2900 metres (9800 ft) with numerous peaks, domes and buttresses exceeding 3000 metres. Although they don’t challenge other famous ranges for altitude, the visual spectacle of sheer rock walls of 500 m (1600 ft) or more places them in the top league (the Thukela Falls plunge 850 metres making it one of the highest waterfalls in the world).

Jaynee Levy says in her Complete Guide to Walks and Trails in Southern Africa

"The Drakensberg, the highest mountain range in southern Africa, is noted for its magnificent buttresses and peaks. The numerous trails which traverse the Little 'Berg, with its enchanting waterfalls and pools and lush, forested gorges, have a magnetic attraction for mountaineers and hikers, while the magnificent views from the escarpment lure those with an adventurous spirit. Here, the summer heat is tempered by altitude and the occasional spectacular afternoon thunderstorm; the very cold winters cap the peaks in snow".

UNESCO World Heritage Site

The KZN Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg was proclaimed South Africa's fourth UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of only 30 sites in the world that will be preserved for both its natural (mountain scenery) and cultural value (over 35% of all San rock art in Southern Africa is found in this area). The other World Heritage Sites in South Africa are the Cradle of Humankind, Cape Floral Region, Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape, Robben Island and St. Lucia Wetland Park.

Thukela or Tugela

Tugela is the anglisized version of the Zulu name for Kwazulu Natal's biggest river, the Thukela. Thuka - the Zulu word meaning to frighten or startle, Thukela being the startling one.


* From Durban or Johannesburg take the R616 (exit 230) off the N3 towards Bergville * From Free State take the R74 (Oliviershoek Pass) to Bergville * After 19km turn left onto the D564 (Rangeworthy Cemetry) * After 8km on this gravel road you will reach Three Trees * NOTE: this is a good gravel road and 4x4 vehicles are not necessary * Do not take any of the roads marked Spioenkop or Spioenkop Nature Reserve * From the Free State take the R74 (Oliviershoek Pass) to Bergville * Immdeiately before Bergville turn left onto R616 to Ladysmith * After 12km turn right onto the D564 (Rangeworthy Cemetry) * After 8km on this gravel road you will reach Three Trees * NOTE: this is a good gravel road and 4x4 vehicles are not necessary * Do not take any of the roads marked Spioenkop or Spioenkop Nature Reserve