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23 March, 2016

Catching Trout in South Africa on a Budget - Skurweberg Trout Hideaway

Skurweberg Trout Hideaway in Mpumalanga is an exclusive Luxury Trout Lodge Between Badplaas and Machadodorp. Here you can indulge in luxury self-catering accommodation in the Skurweberg Mountains of Mpumalanga, South Africa while casting flies to rainbow, brown and golden trout.

The Skurweberg Mountain Pass meanders through the mountainous area just outside Machadodorp in Mpumalanga, South Africa and offers breathtaking scenery to the nature enthusiast. The Skurweberg Mountains in the Mpumalanga Highlands was named after the ancient sandstone outcroppings, which apparently dates back to the Godwana period. Some of the flora found in the area includes yellowwood trees and a variety of aloes. About three quarters of the way down the pass from Machadodorp to Badplaas, Skurweberg Trout Hideaway's sign is on the left. 

Accommodation at Skurweberg Trout Hideaway

Skurweberg Trout Hideaway is the epitome of exclusivity as only one group of people is allowed at the lodge at any given time. No day visitors are allowed and guests have exclusive use of the earth dam and fly fishing in the Upper Boshoekspruit River.

Accommodation consists of a three-bedroom lodge, two of the bedrooms have en suite facilities and a third bathroom is shared. A sleeper coach in the living room provides accommodation for an additional two guests bringing the capacity of the lodge to eight people in total.

Friendly and competent staff services the lodge twice daily and all possible amenities are present. The kitchen is fully equipped with microwave, stove, fridge, freezer, cutlery, crockery and cooking utensils.
Comfortable couches in the living room makes watching television or lounging around the fireplace a pleasure. Outside the lounge, a wooden deck runs the length of the lodge and the wooden patio furniture is perfect for watching the sunset over the earth dam and surrounding mountains.

Turning left out of the sliding doors of the lounge, a thatched lapa contains a built in fireplace for barbecue as well as a garden table and sufficient chairs. A large fridge with freezer compartment provides extra space for preserving the day's catch.

Fly-Fishing for Trout at Skurweberg Trout Hideaway

Anglers can cast their flies to the rainbow, golden and brown trout, either in the one-hectare earth dam or in the three kilometer stream of the upper Boshoekspruit. The lodge affords a perfect view over the earth dam while the stream is a short walk away.

Two wooden jetties' facilitates long casts to the trout visible in the clear water of the dam. No artificial barriers limit the flow of water in the stream, but a few well-placed rocks create natural pools for trout to hunt and spawn. All trout caught are paid for per kilogram upon departure from the lodge.

Other Activities at Skurweberg Trout Hideaway

Besides fly-fishing for trout, guests can go for hikes on the property and picnic at the 90 feet tall waterfall a short walk upstream from the earth dam. The birdlife is prolific around the lodge and will keep avid birders occupied for hours. The property is safe and children can explore the surroundings on foot or by mountain bike.

Where is Skurweberg Trout Hideaway

From the N4 highway between Johannesburg / Pretoria guests should take the turnoff towards Machadodorp. Drive through the town and follow the signs indicating the road to Badplaas. Once tourists start descending the Skurweberg Mountain Pass, they should keep a lookout for the signpost on the left at a cluster of eucalyptus trees.

Bookings are essential to secure accommodation at Skurweberg Trout Hideaway, as accommodation at the lodge is fully booked well in advance.

Another trout lodge in the area is Waterfall Mountain Trout between Badplaas and Carolina.

19 March, 2016

Accommodation and Facilities at Berg-en Dal Rest Camp

Rest Camps in Southern Kruger National Park

Most tourists on vacation in South Africa try to include a visit to the famous wildlife park. With modern rest camps and comfortable accommodation, the popularity of the Kruger National Park increases every year.

From Gauteng, the rest camps in the south of the Kruger National Park, namely Berg - en Dal, Pretoriuskop, Skukuza, Lower Sabie, Crocodile Bridge and Biyamithi are the most accessible and therefore also the most popular. Tourists must reserve accommodation well in advance, as even the campsites are fully booked over weekends.

Facilities at Berg - en Dal Rest Camp in the Kruger National Park

Berg en Dal rest camp nestles close to the town of Malelane, which is on route to Mozambique.  Tourists often overnight in the camp for a day or two before proceeding to the sunny beaches of Mombasa. Mountainous terrain surrounds Berg en Dal Rest Camp and hence the humidity causes pleasant temperatures even during the cold winter months. The Matjulu Stream borders the one side of the camp while dry riverbeds and a dam forms the other borders.

When designing the outlay of Berg en Dal rest camp, management kept the disturbance of the natural vegetation to minimum and large trees provide a shady environment for tourists. This also leads to the local wildlife, especially Vervet Monkeys, running riot inside the camp.

A shop in the rest camp provides basic amenities as well as a selection of books, clothes and curios. The restaurant overlooks the river and dam where elephants and other animals often quench their thirst. A paved walkway provides excellent game and bird viewing in front of the restaurant and reception, while the Rhino Perimeter Walk, a hiking trail inside the fence, teaches tourists more about the local trees and flowers. The trail also caters for visually impaired people with information available in braille.

During peak tourist season, management screens wildlife documentaries in an open theatre under the African skies.

Other facilities in Berg en Dal Rest Camp include:

A filling station proving unleaded and lead replacement petrol as well as diesel
A Laundromat
An internet cafe
Post box
Basic first aid assistance
Auditorium and conference center
Swimming pool

Accommodation at Berg en Dal Rest Camp in Kruger National Park

Accommodation at Berg - en Dal is varied and caters for all tastes.

The campsites are shady, the ablutions and kitchen units clean and well maintained and the staff servicing the campgrounds are friendly. The kitchenettes provide boiling water to guests twenty-four hours a day. All the campsites have electrical access points, but tourists should remember to buy a blue caravan adapter, as the power points do not accommodate normal electrical plugs. The shop sells these adapters, but may run out of stock during peak holiday seasons and tourists should rather bring their own.

Several 3-bed bungalows, mostly built towards the dry riverbed, offer self-catering accommodation to tourist. The beds are brick - built into the face brick interior of the bungalows with comfortable mattresses. These bungalows are essentially two-roomed units with an open plan kitchenette and bedroom and a small bathroom with a shower, basin and toilet. They are fully serviced with the camp providing linen and cutlery.

Family cottages provide accommodation for six people in face brick buildings. Each family cottage has two bedrooms and two bunk beds in the lounge. These units have two bathrooms with a shower and bath and are fully serviced.

The J Le Roux and Rhino guesthouses are luxury units built in prime locations of the rest camp and accommodate six and eight guests respectively. With multiple rooms, bathrooms, and limited channel DSTV, these units are extremely popular with international and local tourists alike. All the units, except for the campsites are air-conditioned and fully serviced on a daily basis.

The Kruger in Africa remains one of Southern Africa's prime tourist destinations and no holiday in Africa is complete without a visit to the famous national park.

Bookings for accommodation at Berg en Dal Rest Camp in the Kruger National Park are essential and may be made eleven months in advance.  

10 July, 2012

Kruger Park : Planning a Camping Trip

Nothing gets you closer to nature than pitching a tent under an Acacia tree. Listening to night fall and the awakening of the nocturnal animals makes you realize you are but a small piece of the creation. This is food for the soul.

It’s no surprise then, that many people actively search for an excuse to get to the bush. I often hear comments like “The Kruger isn’t bush anymore” and “There’s too much luxury at the Kruger Park to be a true bush experience”. While both statements might be true, I’m a firm believer that experiences are clouded by perspective.

If your normal day consists of sitting behind a desk in a posh office, relaxing on the deck of a guesthouse or cottage in the Kruger will feel like roughing it – simply because it’s different. For me, regardless of where I stay, as long as I can hear and see the African bush, I’m happy. I’ve learned that you can enjoy a holiday staying in the luxury chalet of a wildlife reserve just as much as camping in a tent. It’s all a matter of expectations.

While we’re talking about expectations, people who know me, know that I can rough it with the best of them. As long as I have something to protect me against the rain and a couple of steaks to barbeque, I’ll camp anywhere. But, you knew there was a “but” in there, didn’t you. I’ve never had to carter my camping gear to the destination without a vehicle that had a boot. Boot as in something covered. Like a trailer or caravan or simply just my LC105 EFI’s luggage compartment. (Those who don’t speak Land Cruiser language, a 105 EFI stands for Land Cruiser Station Wagon, Model 105 4500 EFI ) 

No ma’am, we are going camping at the end of the month with a LC 79 Pick Up. Like in one with cattle rails and absolutely NO luggage compartment. And no canvas cover either, because it takes too long to manufacture and we don’t have time to leave the vehicle there. So, for the first time in decades (I refuse to say how many as I will reveal my age) I have to give serious consideration about how I’m going to get my gear to my destination – preferably intact.

Still not seeing the problem? Yes, I can hear you men out there grumble. Hubby also don’t understand it. According to him I’ve never had more space to load the camping gear. Let me explain the dilemma I’m faced with:

1. We live in approximately 500 km away from the Kruger Park, which means somewhere along the road you have to allow for a bathroom stop. With the gear stowed on an open pick up, someone will have to remain with the vehicle at all times – that rules out a nice Wimpy breakfast along the way.We live in South Africa after all.

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2. As we are traveling eastwards, although it is winter, chances of rain can’t be ruled out. So anything that needs to be kept dry, must be placed in waterproof containers.That’s not so bad, is it? Mmm, considering we’re camping that includes bedding, food, cameras, laptops (you didn’t think I would leave it at home, did you?) tents (not a major issue, but try to pitch a wet canvas tent and tell me again it’s not that bad), freezer, etc. Some of these items will need BIG containers if you have to stow it away. Now we do have canvas bags to cover some of the items, so this might turn out not to be such a big deal. .


3. Then, my biggest issue. What do we do once we are inside the park? If you’re anything like me, you wait at the gate in the morning for it to open. Last night’s barbequed meat and toasted sandwiches are your food for the morning until you can stop at a picnic spot to prepare brunch. So, how do I keep the baboons and monkeys from stealing my food off the load bin? I’ve seen baboons at Balule run away with an entire cooler and scale the electric fence without missing a beat. A cooler on the back of an open vehicle will pose no problem to them.


So now I’m spending the next couple of weeks to figure out how to keep all hands off my equipment while I traverse through the Kruger Park. Once I’ve sorted the problem, I’ll update you on how I managed.