Travel 26.6.2017 05:45 pm

48 hours in Mpumalanga’s most charming town

Dullstroom fishing.

Dullstroom fishing.

City dwellers won’t admit it, but they like to escape the grind once in a while.

While some give up their malls with shopping  hours  way  past  a  toddler’s  bedtime   for   overcrowded joy on the Vaal or Hartbeespoort Dam, those with a keener mind may just drive an  extra hour or two and head to Dullstroom. The biggest secret is that winter is the best  time  to  explore the drinking town with a fishing problem.  Think roaring fires, red wine, whisky tastings  and all the trout you can eat.

Friday

3pm: After the usual car checks hit  the  road.  The  N4  is  by  far  the  quickest route, but expect to shell out  R90  on  toll  fees  (for  a  standard vehicle). If you’re making your way straight to Dullstroom it’s well worth stopping at the Alzu Petrport halfway between Middelburg and Belfast. Restrooms here offer you a 180º view of the famous Alzu rhinos. There are also some eland, a  herd  of  buffalo,  blesbokke,  os-triches and some emus.

7pm: By now you should be driving into Dullstroom and frantically  asking  Siri  for  directions  to  your  weekend  home.  Dullstroom  TASTING TIME. Steve Adams is one of the co-owners of Wild about Whisky. It’s not just a great place to learn more about whisky, but also a cosy bar with a fireplace. doesn’t disappoint when it comes to  accommodation  in  and  around  town.  There’s  also  the  option  of  staying  in  an  Airbnb.  But if your budget permits get a room with a fireplace – not just because it’s romantic but also for chilly nights.

Once you’re checked in get ready for dinner.

8pm:  Start the weekend with some fine cuisine at Mrs  Simpsons Restaurant. This Dullstroom hotspot serves delectable stuffed trout and confit of duck and lamb shank. Trout is recommended.

10pm:  Nightcaps are essential on the first night of your break-away.  Why not head to The Duck  and Trout on Naledi Drive (Dullstroom’s  main  road). Meet the locals, catch up on town gossip and take advantage of the specials.

They make a mean pizza.

Saturday

8am: Before breakfast (and maybe some gulps of  fresh air after The Duck and Trout) why not go on  a nature trail? Depending on where you stay (Dunkeld  Equestrian  Estate  has  some  great  trails  of its own) you might want to take a  short  drive to the Dullstroom Nature Reserve. Breathe in the cold  air, reconnect with nature and explore the indigenous  flowering plants and small wetland.

10am:   The only thing better than a late breakfast is a late pancake breakfast  –  and Harrie’s  Pancakes is not to be missed.  Be warned,  they’re extremely popular  –  so  you might have to wait for a table. Maybe take that time to get to know the town and mosey on down to the general dealer or pick up a bottle of wine and some fine preserves at Pickles  and  Things.  There’s a number  of  antique shops around, as well as a second-hand store if  you’re really  looking for a bargain.

1pm: It’s still too early for lunch so why not try horseback riding?  Head over to Dunkeld  Equestrian  Estate if  you’re a beginner.  Head to the estate’s own restaurant 1883 after your   galloping adventure. Their trout is to die for.

3pm:  With your stomach lined,  go to Wild about Whiskey,  a  popular spot for whisky tasting. Tastings  are  a  casual  affair,  aimed at individuals,  couples,  families and  groups.  These take  place  at the bar – and booking your spot is essential.

Sunday

9am:   After  breakfast   –   and checking out why not (finally)  try  your hand at trout fishing? It’s  quite simple once you get the hang of  it and you don’t have to do the fly fishing  option.  There  are  so many trout farms around Dullstroom and most will have someone on hand to teach you the basics if  you get stuck.  There are catch and release options available,  but why not catch yourself a few trout and ask  for them to be cleaned on site (remember  to  fill  the  coolerbox with ice to trans-port your precious catch back home).

11am:   High tea in the Highlands?   Why not!   Rose Cottage B&B  on Naledi Drive is the perfect place for a cuppa. There’s also some  confectionery and antiques around if you need a few presents for home.

1pm:  If beer and coffee sounds like a good combination why not head to Anvil Ale House and Brewery for a beer tasting and then some coffee? Be sure to stock up with beer to have with fresh trout the coming week to relive the magic of Dullstroom. Pssst, Dullstroom is fast becoming an entertainment hotspot.

Two months ago it hosted the inaugural Lekkerland Music Festival and this August the town is hosting the first-ever Dullstroom Country Festival at Dunkeld Equestrian Estate.

It promises to be a fun-filled weekend offering the best whiskies, wines, craft beers, locally-sourced food and an exciting music line-up. You can get day tickets, but Dunkeld is offering a range of accommodation packages.

For more information visit www.dullstroomcountryfest.co.za

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