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.
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.
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.
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