This country is full of surprises!
We’ve been down to the Wild Coast, visited the incredible town of Franschhoek, traversed the Drakensberg mountains, checked out the Jewel of the Free State,
and yet, we keep finding surprise destinations
that we need to share with our senior readership!!
You have probably heard of the Midlands Meander! But have you heard of the Highlands Meander? Many of us may be in a hurry to get to the beauty and excitement of the big game in the Lowveld Region, but maybe it’s time to venture off the N4 and explore this undervalued region – the “Gateway to the Lowveld”. It’s definitely time to spend a few days in this gorgeous part of South Africa, sandwiched between the Cultural Heartland (aka the warm spirit of Africa – the home of the Ndebele people) and the scenic beauty of the Panorama Route. The Highlands Meanders includes the towns of Belfast, Dullstroom, Lydenburg, Machadodorp and Waterval Boven – all recently renamed. It is a region of craggy escarpment walls, stunning mountain passes, enchanting forests, thundering waterfalls.
The Highlands Meander lies in the higher reaches of the escarpment – is a region for both nature lovers and the adventurous at heart. It is also known as the “Trout Mecca” of South Africa, as this whole region is abundant with absolutely pristine fishing waters that lure fly fishers in their droves But you don’t need to be a fly fisher to enjoy the charming scenic beauty of the Highlands Meander. Astounding wild flowers profilerate. Three species of crane call this region home. And if you are a game lover, you will be thrilled to hear that this is home to South Africa’s only breeding community of black leopards.
How can you say no to an area that features a number of historic old wood and iron buildings, an area that serves draught beer and pan-fried trout. An area which houses a vibrant arts and crafts community. An area where the old-timers in the district make their own moonshine using decade-old kettles to brew “white lightning”. An area that gives you the opportunity to enjoy bucket list adventures such as hot air ballooning, paragliding, canoeing, rock climbing and abseiling. An area that showcases pure and utter beauty!
Let’s check out some of the most awesome places to stay
in the Highlands Meander:
Greystone Lodge near Dullstroom/Emakhazeni has a great pensioner discount! Dullstroom is commonly referred to as “Scotland’s Only Outpost in Africa”!! Greystone Lodge offers you tranquil self-catering accommodation, which is perfect in these covid-times. There are private chalets with real log fires – perfect for those chilly highland evenings. Although Greystone Lodge is predominantly self-catering, they are able to assist with a meal. Please click here to visit their website for more information.
If you are looking for activities, then Greystone Lodge has it all – from bird-watching to nature walks, fly fishing to archery. They even have a golf driving range – and they are pet-friendly! You will be welcomed by Ildikó Hegyi, Greystone Lodge’s host.
The Shamrock Arms, situated in the picturesque and historic village of Waterval Boven/Emgenya, guarantees you a country-village ambience that will soothe your soul. Offering an excellent pensioner discount, this 4-star guest lodge offers you good value, tranquil surroundings and wholesome food. In keeping with its Irish identity, The Shamrock Arms have named all of their rooms after Celtic symbols and signs – like Claddagh Ring Room, the Shamrock Room, the Celtic Cross Room. After a day out exploring the area, you can unwind in the Shamrock’s cozy pub and enjoy a selection of great South African wines.
Elandskloof Trout Farm in Dullstroom/Emnothweni also has a great pensioner offer in place! Elandskloof is the oldest trout farm in Mpumalanga. Its history is fascinating! It was started in 1960 by Dolf Combrink who took an interest in Trout fishing and breeding. His first dam was stocked from trout that he got from the Lydenberg state Hatchery. Friends started coming to fish. After he saw what a mess they made, he started charging them 5c for a days fishing! Around 1960 he accommodated his first overnight guests in the original farm house which is still in the resort area. And the rest is, as they say, History. Elandskloof has a variety of self-catering units and plenty of activities.
Another excellent lodge with a fabulous pensioner special in place! Stonecutters Lodge is a hidden gem situated between Dullstroom/Emnothweni and Lydenburg/Mashishing. The Stone Manor is at the hub of Stonecutters Lodge. The guest reception rooms are superb – an elegant double-volume lounge / dining area and a cozy pub, both with fireplaces. All guests are welcome to enjoy the amenities at Stone Manor throughout their stay, relaxing at the fireside, strolling in the gardens or enjoying a sundowner on the front veranda. Meals are served daily at Stone Manor. However, breakfast, dinner or braai baskets can be sent directly to your studio, on request. Activities are not in short supply – bird-watching, walking and fishing can all be enjoyed at Stonecutters Lodge, and don’t forget to tour the magnificent Panorama Route to check out all the splendours in the area. This guest review says it all: The perfect getaway! We recently enjoyed a quick, yet fantastic getaway at Stonecutter’s Lodge. The scenery is amazing. The facilities are fantastic! All the details have been thought through, especially in the rooms, with the most comfortable bed! We enjoyed all our meals in the deliciously prepared by the chef in the Stone Manor. Margi and Lesley are the loveliest hosts, making our stay very special. We will certain recommend Stonecutters Lodge and will definitely return!
Now that you know a little bit about this beautiful part of our country, there is absolutely no excuse not to plan a mid-week break or a few glorious days in this fabulous Highlands retreat. This is truly a treasure chest waiting to be explored. Scenery straight from the books of fairy tales. A region perfectly designed for those who love nature, or those who are happy to be a little adventurous, as well as for those who are looking tranquillity, peace, quiet and solitude. Something for everyone! Meet you there!
If you would like further information
on any of the above lodges, farms or guest houses,
please complete the following form
and a representative from the establishment
will get back to you as soon as they can.
Please stipulate the name of the establishment
which you are enquiring about
Please include the YEI reference number:
Greystone Lodge / YEI 249
The Shamrock Inn / YEI 308
Elandskloof Trout Farm / YEI 326
Stonecutters Lodge / YEI 334
Article by You’ve Earned It/YEI