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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

Hear stories from the Battle of Spioenkop at Three Tree Hill

One of the most moving stories to be told about the battles between the Boer and British troops took place on our doorstep…

By Cheryl Blackburn
Owner and guide, Three Tree Hill Lodge

One of the most moving stories to be told about the battles between the Boer and British troops took place on our doorstep. Three Tree Hill Lodge specialises in the history of the South African War, (also known as the second Anglo-Boer War), with the Battle of Spioenkop being our focal point. Our Battle of Spioenkop tour tells of the bloodiest single day in the entire South African War. Astonishingly, Louis Botha, a young Winston Churchill and Mahatma Gandhi all played a role in this battle.

Out in the field near the town of Ladysmith expert guides Simon Blackburn and Ron Gold bring this tragic story to life. The lodge is full of historical memorabilia but not everyone is interested in visiting the battle site. We invite Ron to the lodge to do a pre-talk about the events leading up to the battle and after 45 minutes everyone is captivated and all the naysayers want to join.

Kop means head in Dutch. Guests walk around the plateau of the kop where, with no knowledge of the local geology, the British soldiers found themselves digging incredibly shallow trenches. Even worse, when the mist lifted, the troops saw that they hadn’t climbed to the highest kop at all and were horribly exposed. A war correspondent, Winston Churchill, served as messenger between the soldiers on the kop and the generals below.

The story is told in such an emotive way that you can almost feel the bullets and shells coming at you. And what do you think caused one of the smallest countries in the world to declare war on what was then the world’s greatest empire? You’ll have to come on our flagship tour to find out.


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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.

Plan your holiday withAlfred&

Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Laura, 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.

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