I got very excited recently to dust off my fly-fishing kit and had to make some quick additions as everything had been previously focused on Scaleys and Yellowfish. When David Rawlins told me about the amazing Trout in the Matatiele area and invited us up to sample the wares, I couldn’t wait. At the time he was on his way through to Cahorra Bassa where his Uncle has a Tiger Fishing lodge, Chawalo Safaris.
PHILIP SUCKING UP THE BEAUTY
Catering and hosting seems to run in the family as we were to experience the most amazing hospitality at his parents, Philip and Elrita’s Resthaven Guest House in Matat. His mother’s cooking and catering was superb and I was quite surprised to hear that when en route to the Eastern or Western Cape, this is a quicker, more scenic and safer route. After this experience, I will definitely be doing an overnight stop at Resthaven with a morning or afternoon fly fishing outing. What a fantastic break to a Transkei or Eastern or Western Cape trip.
PITY WE PROMISED TO LEAVE OUR RODS
From the guest house, a 15 to 20 minute drive up the mountain brings you to a truly spectacular natural lake that has been built up a little on the one side to retain more water. It has a reputation for big fish and when Peter Drake and I arrived there, after a short sneak along the bank, we were amazed to see 10 to 20 really good sized fish with some monsters amongst them doing the “we’re in spawning mode” thing in the shallows near a white sandy beach. As any good Trout fisherman will know, these fish can be extremely challenging and so they were, but despite our relative lack of experience, we managed to get some really good fish here and in other parts of the lake where they were a little more interested in eating and a little less in spawning. Pete was blown away by the experience and now thinks that a small Trout runs out at about 1.5 kilos. Some of his more experienced Trout fishing mates were very jealous to say the least. Our good ladies thoroughly enjoyed the trip and the relaxation around the lake while Pete and I were slogging it out waving our wands.
THE SHOPPERS & THE FISHERMAN
The mountain streams of Lesotho have always fascinated me and on this trip I got a lot closer to satisfying that curiosity. Philip Rawlins took us on a very scenic and spectacular 4x4 trip into Lesotho and over many mountain passes. What we saw he tells us was just the tip of an iceberg but the caves, gorges and valleys, magnificent streams and rivers and desolate countryside was absolutely breath taking. Highly recommended when in the area and I would love to put together a group of fly fishing / 4x4 outdoorsy type enthusiasts to make Resthaven a base for these trips into Lesotho.
A SUNDOWN TROUT
WHAT PETE THINKS IS A SMALL TROUT
THE MRS SIMPSON EATER
What was supposed to have been a very relaxing, nothing-to-do break got busier as our to-do list grew. After enquiring about the amazing boerewors and steak served for dinner, the girls very quickly added shopping at Modern Meats to our list. Pete and I already had “last bit of fishing at the lake” on the list and we had to squeeze all of that into our last morning. I am happy to report that all was successful. We showed the ladies the cruising Trout, caught a few, soaked up the tranquillity of the Fish Eagle’s cry at a lake some 2500 metres above sea level, listening to the cascading water stampede of the Dab chicks on the water keeping out of the Eagles way. For the birders, we also got to see the famous LBJ (little brown job) of the area, the Rudds Lark beside the lake. A resident herd of Hartebeest were always present to witness our coming and going. The ladies got carried away at the butcher and were blown away by the pricing. The area is famous for its organic beef. The rich yellow fat bore witness to this. The choice cuts like whole side of rump, fillet, oxtail, etc., are way below the city prices that we are accustomed to. A side of rump on the weber on Sunday night was the best I have had since we used to get a similar product in Kokstad many years ago.
PART OF A CAVE
SHEPARDS SHELTER IN CAVE
A highly-recommended overnight stop or a weekend getaway, only 3 ½ hour’s drive from Durban. I will certainly be changing my routing to the Transkei and the Cape for Route 56 Matatiele.
THE FISHERMAN SNEAKING UP ON RIVER TROUT
THE RICKETY JETTY & TRANQUILITY AT THE LAKE