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    About us

About Three Tree Hill

Your hosts, Simon and Cheryl Blackburn 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 their travels, they stumbled across Three Tree Hill Lodge and fell in love with it.

At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, a group of independent lodge owners (all members of Classic Safari Africa) decided to create a vehicle to grow their businesses and the tourism industry. They shared the same overriding worry - not for themselves, but for their teams, people, communities, families and the majestic creatures of Africa. They knew that if the industry faltered, everything was at risk. AFRICAN SAFARI COLLECTIVE was born and has become the movement for unity, integrity, collectivity, and growth in hospitality solutions. As a collective, they have the power to implement strategic solutions that protect and sustain Africa, her people, the environment and our industry. Basically, they have pooled their marketing, sales, reservations and innovations together, whilst still maintaining their family-run identity.

African Safari Collective

Three Tree Hill employs local Zulu staff from the nearby Hambrook Village, 8km down the road. Most have no previous work experience or formal education, but their great personalities & honest enthusiasm have made training an absolute pleasure. Over the years they have aquired extensive training and skills development through the lodge, with ongoing workshops that inform the staff on current events, technologies & service trends.

The lodge encourages open & honest communication through regular meetings. Staff provide input on various operational issues & suggestions on how to assist the community with upliftment projects. Staff are treated well & fairly, working together as a team. Annual staff appraisals are carried out, which assist the management team in channelling training programmes & team building sessions. This is evident when you are greeted by genuinely friendly, helpful staff.

Three Trees is a certified member of Fair Trade Tourism. Fair Trade certification is based on adherence to specific criteria’s 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 that is available to providers of tourist accommodation, activities and attractions.

This is a non-profit organisation that promotes responsible tourism in southern Africa and beyond. The aim of FTT is to make tourism more sustainable by ensuring that the people who contribute their land, resources, labour and knowledge to tourism are the ones who reap the benefits. This is done by growing awareness about responsible tourism to travellers; assisting tourism businesses to operate more sustainably; and by facilitating a Fair Trade Tourism certification programme across southern Africa.

Tourism businesses that adhere to the Fair Trade standard use the Fair Trade label as a way of signifying their commitment to fair and responsible tourism.

Three Tree Hill Lodge is a member of the Classic Safari Africa, which is an association of independent, privately owned lodges and camps in some of the most beautiful wildlife areas in East and Southern Africa. Each of these unique establishments offers genuine hospitality and an intimate knowledge of Africa’s environment, and is dedicated to conservation and the involvement of local communities sharing and conserving the spirit of Africa. We do not hesitate in recommending any one of these properties for your next holiday.

NY Times Columnist David Brooks wrote what we believe a vitally important article “The Haimish Line“. We believe that the principles of “Haimish” Travel that he writes about reflect the same principles that we have here at Three Trees. Haimish (heymish) Yiddish word = cozy; homey; familiar This is a measure not by our own hand but one reflected by our guests, and most easily viewed when looking at our Tripadvisor Ratings.

The Blackburns have woven their love and knowledge of nature with the history of the area, which offers guests an unparalleled, diverse, activity-rich experience in the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains. Being animal lovers, expect to encounter most of the three dogs, some of the eleven horses, seven cats and nineteen chickens during your stay at Three Tree Hill Lodge.