* This article originally appeared here in PREMIER Magazine.
The Johannesburg to Kruger trip is an annual pilgrimage for many. Even with the staple padkos and the stop at Steers, it’s a long drive – especially if you’re not able to escape the office early enough. Dullstroom has always been a convenient halfway stop and on this road trip, I’d be seeing if the Lowveld town was worth overnighting in.
Walkersons Hotel and Spa, Dullstroom
A few kilometers outside of town, a sign welcomes you to Walkersons Hotel and Spa. The Length of the driveway speaks to the grandeur of the property – genuine largess without being ostentatious. The property doubles as a property estate, but building regulations mean that the houses blend into the scenery.
Those seeking an immersive experience in nature, you’ll be excited to find literally hundreds of inches spread across the, with the banks Of the Dems, and other significant viewpoints. The hills are gentle, softly adding to the peaceable environment. Walkersons is a sprawling estate, immediately conjuring up memories of the closest similar experience I’ve had – safely exploring the British countryside. Plenty of space to explore, all ensconced in the safety of a country estate.
The cottage-styled rooms are spread out around the dams and have every creature comfort you’d expect from a five-star hotel – included outdoor stone-clad showers. Sitting in the comfort of my balcony, I could hear the rush of the distant water. With curiosity piqued, I set out to find the source. Any excess water from the dams makes it’s way down and rushes over an impressive waterfall at the bottom of the property.
Dullstroom is a fly-fishing Mecca in South Africa and Walkersons has 14 well-stocked dams for catch and release fly-fishing. For novices like me, there is equipment on hire at R100 a day, and the same price for a private 1-hour tutored session. Elias is an old hand, having been teaching guests for nearly 20 years. I might not have caught a fish, but after a few some practice he had me casting fluidly.
While I didn’t have time for an outride on this occasion, the horses gently grazing the surrounding meadows were a reminder of my first activity the next time I’d visit. Walkersons firmly serves its purpose as a peaceful country escape, ticking all the boxes for a man to get away from your break, don’t forget that kilometers from the hotel, is the strip town with quirky stores and curiosities waiting to be explored.
Wild about whiskey has possibly the country’s largest selection of whiskeys – with a variety of tasting flights – including chocolate and whisky pairings. The local Anvil Beer serves up a selection of craft beers and locals all point to Miss Simpsons for a tasty meal. Walkersons, along with a collection of bonhomie stops have firmly convinced me that Dullstroom is more than just a bathroom break and quick caffeine intake. walkersons.co.za