Em’seni came out of the need for a secure and affordable home base for SUIS teenage camping. It was soon discovered that there is an enormous demand for such a facility from all kinds of institutions and organisations. This became a fundamental consideration in the planning process. Consequently, the whole facility is being designed in such a way that it is sufficiently robust for teenagers whilst being appropriate for adult use.

Em’seni has been used for SUIS Winter, Summer and Unity camps, confirmation camps, leadership & prefect training camps, adventure camps, numerous school field trips, church groups, spirituality retreats, men’s groups, woman’s camps, leadership courses for children from disadvantaged schools, Spioenkop battle field historical groups and various other specialized courses. We are also proud hosts of and race village to the annual Berg & Bush cycle race, The Oxpecker Trail Run & joBerg2c – 9 days of mountain biking adventure.


The Trust has consistently maintained that Em’seni should be available to be used by the wider community, not exclusively by Independent Schools. In January 2011, the Revd Kevin Robertson, who has a passion for Leadership Development, became the Director of the Em’seni Centre for Youth Development. Kevin has over 20 years of School Chaplaincy experience at Hilton College and elsewhere. His brief includes partnering with schools and churches; developing new courses and camps; being involved in disadvantaged community education and social upliftment programmes.

To this end, he has initiated a YEBOLEAD Sustainable Leadership Development Model and there are currently 6 pilot Leadership Clubs from 4 rural schools. Part of the program involves a residential camp at Em’seni. The vision of this project is: To create an active Leadership Club at every secondary school in the Okhahlamba (Drakensberg) Region, enabling young people to discover their leadership ability, develop necessary skills and apply these practically within their school and local community.


Part of the SUIS program and vision is for a team of young people to be based at Em’seni. They are carefully selected young people who commit themselves to SUIS for a year. Having received initial training in the skills necessary to interact with young people, they are then available to be involved in the wider ministry of SUIS both at Em’seni and in schools throughout South Africa.