Best Places for Fly-Fishing in South Africa
5 top spots around the country
South Africa has become known as one of the world’s most famous fresh water fly-fishing destinations. Its rivers are on par with those that snake through the Andes mountain range in Chile or the Nova Scotia valley in Canada.
According to Arnold Gingrich, the co-founder of Esquire magazine, “a trout is a moment of beauty known only to those who seek it.” This quote has been taken to heart by those who travel to the foot of the Drakensberg to toss their flies into Whispering Waters in search of the meaning behind Gingrich’s statement. For the past thirty four years fly-fishing has so grown in popularity that it has formed a basis for the communities occupying the Natal Midlands. Make sure to visit the Natal Fly Fishing Association online for great insight and helpful hints into the psyche of the fish in this region.
Approximately three hours east of Johannesburg, between green valleys and age-old rock formations Dullstroom slowly flows to the sound of a different drum. Its rivers overflow with trout in the winter and bass in the summer, though it’s wise to check with locals as to which flies and bait to use during your season of visit. It should be noted that the majority of fishing spots in the Lowveld boast a catch-and-release policy for all fish in order to preserve the number of each species, so when fishing at lodge make sure to check their policy and abide by it.
If conquering Mount Everest is the epitome of a mountain climber’s ability then Rhodes would be the fisherman’s equivalent thereof. The valley of Rhodes is a hamlet on the edge of the wild trout infested waters of the Bell River. This small town has a population of seven hundred people, and the only way to reach it is by car. There are no petrol stations in or on route to Rhodes and those who attempt to cast their lines here need to stock up on fuel for the trips there and back. This is all worth it to take a shot at catching world record sized trout in one of the country’s most remote areas.
It should be said that the Lowveld region of Mpumalanga is universally known for its fly-fishing. Belfast is known as the coldest place in South Africa, and any fisherman worth his or her salt will know that trout bite when it’s the coldest. But don’t let this put you off. Don an extra jacket and zip up your waders and lose yourself on a misty morning in between the most picturesque river canyons in the country.
The highest seaward peak can be found in Du Tooitskloof, an hour’s drive of Cape Town. Its misty mountains and evergreen foliage brings on a sense of tranquillity most of us can only dream of. Due to the area’s Mediterranean climate the Elandspad River serves as the perfect stream for rainbow and brown trout. With its six streams and clear waters Du Tooitskloof is a dry fly fisherman’s paradise.
Text: Shawn Greyling