Dullstroom is a tiny village in Mpumalanga, about 2.5hrs from Joburg. Well known for trout fishing, this village seems to spring to life with city people over holidays and long weekends. Since we had a few days to spare, K and I decided to check it out after the long weekend was over. We arrived there on a Tuesday, when most of the crowds had left. The place was quiet which suited us just fine. What we didn’t know was that a lot of restaurants and bars use this quiet time and close on Tuesdays – Mrs Simpsons, Mayfly and Anvil Brewery to name a few.
Since K and I don’t fish, I was worried we would not know what to do with two whole days in Dullys. But it seems my fears were unfounded. There was just enough to do and keep us from getting bored.
Like most small villages and towns, Dullstroom has one main road where all the main shops and restaurants are located. Most of the accommodations are located just off this main road (you can choose to live further inside too), and you can easily walk around the place, without having to drive at all.
Things to do in Dullstroom, if you are not going fly fishing:
1) Eat your heart out
If you love to eat, this is the place for you! This small village is dotted with restaurants and cafes, most of which are really good. For breakfast, try Pickles and Things. Their smoked trout sandwiches and eggs benedict are to die for. If pancakes are your thing, Harrie’s is just down the road. We loved the magical ambience at Hamlet’s Cuisine and the gourmet dinner at Art of Food was just divine. Made by a local teacher turned chef, each dish at the restaurant was beautiful and delicious.
Note: Most restaurants are pet friendly, especially if they have an outdoors.
2) Wild About Whisky
South Africans love their beer and wines and all year round there are beer fests and wine tasting events. The poor whisky is largely ignored. I love my whisky so imagine my thrill on discovering that Dullstroom actually has a place where you can go for whisky tastings! As soon as you enter Wild about Whisky (located in Auldstone House), you realise that its not your everyday bar. The walls are lined with bottles and bottles of different varieties of whisky from all over the world. We were told they currently had 1140 different ones!!
Wild about Whisky offers several different combinations of tastings, beginning with basic ones for novice whisky drinkers, some for the intermediate ones and then the ones that include rare whiskys for the connoisseurs. Prices vary, depending on the tasting you choose. They also offer whisky and chocolate pairings – something that K was thrilled about (he absolutely hates the drink), but I was not!
The best part about the place is the people who run it – Eve, Dave and Steve know their whisky and are passionate about it. Dave was the one who took us through the tasting and he was super knowledgeable. After trying some fabulous Scottish single malts and also tried some Japanese ones, which I had heard were really good, and I wasn’t disappointed.
The place also has a whisky store next door in case you want to carry back any whisky that may have caught your fancy.
(PS: the place is only open till 5pm over the week and until 7pm on Fri-Sat)
3) Beer lovers do not fret!
Just because whisky has been covered, does not mean that beer lovers, especially those who dote on craft should feel disappointed. Dullstroom has it covered! The Anvil Ale Brewery, set in a beautiful stone house with ivy creeping up the walls, is the place to try some local brews. They offer free beer tastings so you can choose your favourite one out of the five brews they make. My favourites were the Biere d’Saison and the Blond Ale. The place has a lovely outdoors (pets are allowed) as well as a cozy indoors for the colder afternoons. The place also serves some bar snacks and light eats.
The brewery is closed on Tuesdays and open until 5pm on other days.
4) Mountain biking, horse riding, clay pigeon shooting and lazy strolls
If you get tired of all the eating and drinking (we didn’t!), you can hire some mountain bikes and go on one of the many trails in the area. You can apparently also go quad biking or clay pigeon shooting! The latter caught K’s fancy but we never made it. For us, Dullstroom was a break from the city and we just wanted to unwind and relax. A nice long walk after breakfast was all that we managed but no one’s complaining!