Cheryl Blackburn was born in the Kruger National Park, South Africa to parents that were passionate about people and wildlife. Her father, a chef, kept guests well fed whilst her mother entertained and arranged all that needed to be done in running a busy bush lodge in a remote wilderness. After moving extensively throughout South Africa, to mostly wild and remote places, Cheryl decided that she wanted to pursue her career in nature & wildlife and so applied to all the lodge in South Africa at the time for a position as a guide.
Eventually, a new lodge in the Eastern Cape decided to give her a break and employ her as a housekeeper. As the lodge was still in its infancy, the staff compliment was small and it was necessary for everyone to learn all aspects of running the lodge. Eventually, after working in all the departments she convinced them to let her guide guests, which is really what she had dreamt of. After meeting her soul mate, Simon, at the lodge they decided to leave together and work in the Sabi Sands reserve, west of Kruger National Park. When Cheryl arrived she had to do a guide training course in Kwa Zulu natal & here she met Ryan Hilton, a Zimbabwean born guide that was placed at Londolozi, on the same concession as Singita, where Cheryl worked. They became good friends and remained in contact for years after they had both left the park.
After working here for 10 years, Simon & Cheryl travelled to Botswana, where they worked for 3.5 years in the photographic safari industry. On a visit to South Africa, they discovered a magical little place in the foothills of the Drakensberg, Three Tree Hill at Spioenkop that was for sale. They took the plunge and decided they would buy the Lodge as it would be a great place to raise a family. After much work fixing up the buildings, interior and activities offering, they set to work looking for ways of encouraging guests to travel to their lodge. One of their contacts was Ryan, now living in Florida, USA. This is how the story weaves itself together now….
Cheryl Grace booked a trip from Sarasota, FL to South Africa through Ryan Hilton, whose travel agency is based in Sarasota. Cheryl & Cheryl Grace spent two days together, exploring the various activities in the Drakensberg. Cheryl hired Elijah Mbonane to see the rock art site in the National Park.
And, as they say, the rest is history….