On the fly at Dwarsberg Trout Hideaway

Dwarsberg Trout Hideaway

Dwarsberg Trout Hideaway

Words by: Gero Lilleike

Photographs by: Gero Lilleike and Steve Erwin

I look at Steve and he smiles, his face is brimming with excitement, I know that look, we’re on the fly. The dirt road leading to Dwarsberg Trout Hideaway is narrow and high with the Holsloot River sparkling in the bright morning sun below. We smile some more, for this very river bears our joy, the elusive Rainbow Trout that lured us here.

A little over an hour and a half passed since leaving Cape Town and after a brief supply visit in the small wining town of Rawsonville, we found ourselves here, in what would make every fly fisherman drool with envy, the Stettynskloof Valley, the perfect setting to test your fly fishing mettle.

Leatherfoot on the fly in the Holsloot River

Leatherfoot on the fly in the Holsloot River

Not only is Dwarsberg Trout Hideaway a superb and well recommended dry-fly fishing venue in South Africa, it’s also an equally superb wedding venue, a place where knots are tied, with the river, mountains and sky bearing witness to the deed. Steve and I however had Improved Clinch knots to tie, and after a friendly welcome we descended on Campsite 6, our trout haven on the banks of the Holsloot River.

We soon discovered that we weren’t alone. On the opposite bank, a male baboon was rustling in the bush and vanished upon sighting us. His bark of disapproval at disturbing his morning tea party followed shortly after. Peace then returned to the Stettynskloof Valley with only the gentle sound of water trickling over rocks to be heard.

Steve strikes the first catch of the day

Steve strikes the first catch of the day

We agreed to fish first and set up camp later considering that the trout would in all likelihood be off the bite in the heat of the day. I came armed with numerous fly patterns suitable for various conditions but opted to start with the Rough And Buoyant (RAB) fly, which is also funnily known as the Red Arsed Bastard. The RAB fly was specifically developed by Tony Biggs, a well-known South African angler, for use in the clear streams that are common in the region and is a must-have fly to carry in your fly-box if you plan on fly fishing in the Western Cape.

Steve's first catch of the day

Steve’s first catch of the day

Unsurprisingly, after only five minutes on the water, with my first cast barely out, I heard Steve shout with enthusiasm as his first trout rose to the occasion and gobbled his fly. Steve’s take set the precedent and he went on to catch three more trout during the day. The hunt was on and we decided to explore and fish the pools further downstream. The trout were breaking water and I neatly presented my RAB on the surface. Two seconds later my first rainbow of the day came to greet me, perfect timing indeed.

The earthy and vibrantly colored Holsloot River was clear and refreshingly cold, offering pleasant respite from the mid-afternoon heat and with the river beside us we had lunch and relaxed under the cool shade of the trees with a semi-cold beer in-hand, discussing our assault tactics for the upcoming ‘evening rise’. The evening shift soon came and we were on the water once more, but this time we weren’t so lucky. The trout weren’t on the bite and activity was scarce, making the situation increasingly difficult to read and somewhat frustrating.

By sunset, we hadn’t caught anything, even after trying various tactics such as changing flies and adapting and refining our casts, our attempts were futile, the trout had the upper hand, for now. A warm fire and well-deserved meal was our reward for the day and with the full Moon overhead and bellies full, we retired to the comfort of our tent for some sleep.

Life is good on the banks of the Holsloot River

Life is good on the banks of the Holsloot River

The trout in the region were introduced in the 1890’s and are wild with no stocking taking place here. The specimens are small, averaging between 10 and 16 inches and light tackle is therefore preferable which will give you the impression of a much larger fish at the end of your line, but only when you manage to hook one. The Holsloot River is somewhat unique in that it’s born from a dam at the head of the valley and the water temperature is a couple of degrees cooler than other streams in the area, making it more fishing-friendly in the hot summer months when other streams are too warm.

Fly fishing paradise

Fly fishing paradise

The sound of the river guided me out of my slumber and I was soon sipping on hot cup coffee and eagerly watching the river for any sign of activity, all was calm, the trout were nowhere to be seen but Steve’s snoring could be heard for miles. It wasn’t long before the sun kissed the mountain peaks and I decided to get my line in the water. After my third cast, I felt a light tug and a nibble, I had landed my second and last trout of the day.

Steve on the morning shift

Steve on the morning shift

We fished for the rest of the morning with no success and pulled all sorts of tricks out the bag, but nothing worked. The trout had enough of us and weren’t going to be gulled again. Our time at Dwarsberg Trout Hideaway had come to an end but at least we would return to Cape Town pleased and satisfied that we experienced the Holsloot River and managed to land some of the Rainbow Trout that call it home.

Happy about that one

Happy about that one

The scenery at Dwarsberg Trout Hideaway is nothing short of phenomenal, with mountains, farmlands and the river creating appealing scenery for anyone and everyone who appreciates nature. The moment you arrive, Dwarsberg grabs you and absorbs you, it truly is a special place that is well worth a visit if you are exploring the Cape Winelands and surrounds. Do yourself a favor and get there, you may very well find that you never want to leave.

For more information about Dwarsberg Trout Hideaway and it’s accommodation options visit http://www.trouthaven.co.za or email info@trouthaven.co.za.

The scenery speaks for itself

The scenery speaks for itself

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The Spirit of Ubuntu

Words by Gero Lilleike
Photos: Ubuntu Backpackers

 

Ubuntu Backpackers


Like a bright star shining in the night sky, this place lights up for one reason and one reason only, surfing. Once a year, Jeffrey’s Bay in the Eastern Cape of South Africa becomes the focal point in the surfing world with the Billabong Pro being South Africa’s most anticipated surfing event held at the world famous Supertubes.

Ubuntu Entertainment Lounge

Surprisingly, I’ve never stayed in Jeffrey’s Bay and witnessed it in full swing but I was excited to witness it myself and booked into Ubuntu Backpackers. I decided to put the luxury of a bed aside and pitch a tent instead. The facilities at Ubuntu Backpackers are more than comfortable with everything you could possibly need at your disposal. Apart from camping, Ubuntu Backpackers offers ample accommodation in the form of five double rooms, one four sleeper mini-dorm and a ten sleeper dormitory.

Ubuntu Jazz

 

Ubuntu Backpackers is a friendly place filled with friendly people and owner Daryn Sinclair, with his cool, relaxed attitude is no exception and the vibe seems to rub off on everyone here. With a spacious, upstairs entertainment area, lounge and deck area, there is always time to socialise and meet new people in a warm atmosphere. The layout and artwork of Ubuntu Backpackers creates a warm homely feel and it certainly lives up to its name meaning ‘humanity to others’.

Ubuntu Artwork

 
With a world class surf break in sight, it’s easy to climb into the sea. Ubuntu Backpackers is ideally situated near Supertubes and the waves can be seen from the balconies. When the Billabong Pro is running, Jeffrey’s Bay turns into a buzz of activity with people from all walks of life descending on the town to feast their eyes on the great waves and the brave men who ride them. Parties are held throughout the town for the duration of the contest with bands and DJ’s rocking into the early hours of the morning, every night. If you are seeking peace and quite, go surfing, or escape into the surrounding garden, you will be pleasantly surprised to find hammocks and couches to keep you chilling for hours.

Ubuntu Quiver

So if you ever in Jeffrey’s Bay, surfer or not and find yourself in need of accommodation with a sweet vibe, pull into Ubuntu Backpackers, a fun experience is waiting for you here and you might just catch the wave of your life too.

Surf Of Your Life

For more information visit www.jaybay.co.za