Time changes constantly – and luckily, so do we. Thankfully, we never stagnate and can consciously strive to become better. Lucky for us, Dullstroom didn’t just remain a small town with 48 people a few stables and an old school “Kooperasie” – it became a town where legendary things can happen.
Dullstroom’s renowned trout fishing and supporting industries began in 1912 when the postmaster of Lydenburg unexpectedly caught a fish that looked like a trout in the Dorps River. The first stocking took place in 1927 when trout hatching boxes were placed in the old municipality dam. The current present municipality dam was built in 1965, and was stocked the next year with 17,000 trout fingerlings. This investment assured Dullstroom’s title as the premier fly-fishing destination in South Africa.
Dullstroom today is a charming village nestled deep in the heart of the Highlands Meander, a beautiful stretch of the Mpumalanga province. Situated at 2,100m above sea level, it is one of the highest villages in the country. Its location makes it the ideal getaway. Less than three hours’ drive from Johannesburg and only two from Pretoria and Nelspruit, Dullstroom is perfect for weekends or longer stays.
Many of its visitors are drawn by its breathtaking scenery. Dullstroom and its surrounding landscape are classically dominated by rocky hillsides and slightly undulating terraces and plateaus, punctuated by clear streams, quiet lakes and thundering waterfalls. The area boasts an abundance of wild flowers, age-old trees, endangered birds and indigenous wildlife.
The architecture of Dullstroom is a mixture of 19th and 20th century designs and most homes are built in keeping with the village’s original style using local stone and bright red, green or blue corrugated roofs. Brand names and large franchise businesses are not encouraged, so artisan and unique country businesses can flourish. This means that shops are small, specialized and often unique in their offerings.
The beauty and spa industry has grown in the last few years to cater to Dullstroom’s growing popularity. Visitors can enjoy beauty and treatments in the exclusive day spas, or visit local beauticians, hairdressers and makeup artists to enjoy much-needed pampering. If you want grandma curls pinned high on your head while drinking weak tea and gossiping about Aunt Stienie’s latest scandal – you are at the wrong place. Dullstroom evolved into a classy lady ready to pamper her guests into pure oblivion.
While the area is considered a relaxing and tranquil escape, not everyone comes to kick back. For the arty and creative, studios offer the opportunity to paint and throw pottery, frame-making, pewter creation, decoupage and mosaic lessons.
The area’s impressive Boer War history means that is worth booking an historical tour with one of the highly knowledgeable and entertaining tour guides. For the more energetic, trout fly-fishing, scenic hikes, horse riding trails, clay pigeon shooting, mountain biking, a high altitude gym and the Bird of Prey Centre ensure that individuals, couples and families will never be short of activities.
Despite its diminutive size, Dullstroom has over 20 restaurants and pubs in which to enjoy glorious food, sundowners or a few drinks watching a major sporting event. Or indulge in whisky tasting at Wild About Whisky, with its largest selection of whisky in the southern hemisphere. For more private celebrations, the town offers a number of excellent caterers.
For peace of mind there is a pharmacy and a small police station, two petrol stations, a breakdown service and ATMs.
Despite its popularity and many amenities, Dullstroom proudly continues to retain its unique village character and ‘getaway’ status.
On the outside it might look like a regular drive-by small town…but it is so much more. Smallville gave us Clark Kent… Dullstroom gave us all the great stuff mentioned above AND the Lekkerland Carnival. Never underestimate a small town…you never know what you are going to get.