The scenic Mpumalanga town of Dullstroom (or Emnotweni) may be small, but it remains one of the most important spots in the country for keen fly-fishermen. Here, brown and rainbow trout are available in abundance, and anglers can test their skills while drinking in breath-taking views of the dams and mountains that set Dullstroom apart.
This town boasts the De Berg mountain range and is nestled between the towns of Belfast and Lydenburg; which are 35 and 53 kilometres away respectively. It was established in the late 19th century (1883) as a spot for Dutch immigrants. However, when their settlement was destroyed in the Second Boer War, many of these first settlers returned home. The Dutch colonialists planted beech and elm trees, and this remains the only place in South Africa in which these can still be found today.
The Dullstroom Nature Reserve is a quiet gem, where the massive dam is irresistible for those wanting to escape the hubbub of the city and sit on its banks, waiting for the trout to bite. The reserve is close to the mighty Crocodile River and Steenkampberg Valley and is a prime spot for fly-fishing, hiking, and mountain biking. The rolling green hills and plunging valleys make this a fantastic spot to unwind.
The charming village of Dullstroom is the highest village in the country (at 2 100 metres above sea level) and is home to the highest railway station in South Africa. It is just a little over two hours’ drive from the world-famous Kruger National Park, where a massive array of wildlife can be enjoyed on game drives and safari walks. These include lion, leopard, cheetah, rhinoceros, elephant, hippopotamus, kudu, eland, oryx, and hundreds of bird species.
The town and its surrounds are well equipped with various accommodation options, as well as restaurants, coffee shops, cultural attractions and liberal doses of historical sites. The craft beer brewery, Anvil Ale, celebrates a variety of beers (including pale ale, blonde ale and a Baltic porter) as well as moreish meals and decadent desserts. Wild About Whisky has earned Dullstroom international acclaim for the excellent whisky tastings and top-notch products on offer.
Dullstroom is also known as a hub of creativity; a centre for artists, crafters, musicians, and writers to glean inspiration from the gorgeous surrounds and to produce unique and exquisite pieces of work.
The Highland Gate Golf and Trout Estate is a highly esteemed 18-hole course that was designed by international golfing great, Ernie Els. Many consider this to be one of the best courses in South Africa, thanks to the beautiful mountain backdrops and the challenging layout. The estate also offers hiking trails, fly-fishing dams, swimming spots and excellent bird watching. The clubhouse has refreshments and kit available, and two-seater golf carts are available to hire.
Other nearby attractions include:
- The Dullstroom Station Market is on the last Saturday of every month and showcases local arts and crafts.
- The Bird of Prey Centre – enjoy shows and visit the rescued and rehabilitated wildlife species that call this home.
- The Verloren Valei Nature Reserve, where the three endangered crane species can be seen. These are the blue crane, wattled crane and crowned crane (by appointment only).
- Trout hatchery tours at Dunkeld Estate reveal the modern facility and environmentally-friendly techniques being used to breed trout.
- The Rocky Drift Nature Reserve is less than an hour from Dullstroom and is home to leopards, genets, bushbuck, duikers, and reedbucks.