Stonecutters Blog

Celebrate Father's Day near Dullstroom in Mpumalanga

Posted by Margi Butler on Sep 10, 2016 7:24:40 PM

 
Father's Day special Dullstroom, Mpumalanga

The celebration of Father's Day has gained amazing popularity over the years. The festival is considered to be a secular one and is celebrated in US and in a large number of countries around the world including Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, New ZealandSouth Africa, Norway and India, though on different dates.

In South Africa, Father’s Day is celebrated on the 3rd Sunday of June . All over the world people take Father's Day as an opportunity to thank fathers and pay tribute to them. On this day children present Father's Day cards not just to their dads but also to grandfathers, uncles, stepfathers or any other person who commands the position of a father in their life. There is also a trend to present Father's Day gifts to dad, a popular gift being roses, the official Father's Day flower.

But Dad’s like sport, don’t they? So here are some suggestions to make the day memorable:

For adventure and extreme activities take him to Mpumalanga for an-adrenaline pumping bungee jump or buy him a voucher for a tandem parachute leap from a small plane! Too extreme? Fly-fishing may be just the thing to get that couch potato into a gentle yet exilerating sport. In the highlands of Mpumalanga there are numerous trout lodges where fishing equipment is available for hire and a fly-fishing clinic can introduce dad to this sport, so a gift voucher for a week-end away (with mom) would make an excellent gift. Or just the roses may do……

Spoil Dad (or that special man in your life) on Father’s Day. Book a Father's Day special weekend  ( 15th-17th June) at Stonecutters Lodge near Dullstroom, Mpumalanga  & enjoy a FREE champagne breakfast on Sunday 17th and should you wish to stay a 3rdnight, that night will be FREE OF CHARGE!
Father's Day Special   Weekend 14-16th June Free Champagne Breakfast

Tags: Dullstroom, Lydenburg, Special, Father's Day

Nature Reserves in Mpumalanga that offer something different!

Posted by Margi Butler on Nov 12, 2011 2:18:00 PM

There are many national parks and reserves throughout South Africa but it is the smaller lesser known ones that often offer the visitor something over and above the "Big Five". Special wild flowers or birds, areas to hike, walk, mountainbike and explore without the worry of getting malaria or being eaten by a big cat!

In Mpumalanga within a short driving distance from Stonecutters Lodge you can visit the following day visitor parks.

Dullstroom Nature reserve wattled crane

Dullstroom & Verloren Vallei Nature Reserve,which has a cool, misty, sub-alpine climate, with moist grasslands.The cold, clear rivers feed the marshlands, the most important being Verloren Vallei which is also a RAMSAR site with over 30 wetlands. All three of South African rare species of crane live here. Over 200 wild flower species flourish around Dullstroom - and nuturalists will revel in the aloes, pink gladioli,orchids, tree ferns, red fire lilies and other amazing plants species.

 

nature reserve near LydenburgThe Gustav Klingbiel and Sterkspruit Reserves are close to Lydenburg. These reserves lie close to the Long Tom Pass which from its summit drops 1100m over 8kms in dramatic curves- this sets the scenery hikers, walkers, mountain bikers and birdwatches can expect on walks and trails within these reserves. Thornveld & bushveld on the low-lying areas, montane grassland on hills and plateaus and little pockets of mountain forest in the ravines ensure scintilating birding. The Klipgatspruit carves a deep valley through the mountains Buck and game are plentiful. Archaeological ruins that date back to the iron age and remnants of Anglo-Boer forts lie in this park. The museum houses the famous Lydenburg heads dating back to the sixth century, unearthed in the Sterkspruit valley. Route Map showing mountain biking, hiking, walking and bird watching routes in Gustav Klingbiel Nature Reserve.

Lydenburg nature reservesOhrigstad Dam and Nature Reserve: The foothills of the Mauchberg is the source of the Ohrigstad River which is dammed by the wall of the Ohrigstad Dam. With the misty uplands of the Greater Drakensberg escarpment all around, the setting is inspiring. Its a great spot to unpack your binoculars, fishing rod and picnic gear. Close by is the Mt Sheba Nature reserve with its Afromontane forests, exotic looking cycads and ancient yellowwoods where forest birds abound and is a twitcher's dream. Pilgrim's Rest and the Panorama Route is close to the Ohrigstad dam and is a worthwhile trip. Take the R36 out of Lydenburg towards Ohrigstad 27kms and turn right onto the R533, drive another 10kms to reach the nature reserve. If one continues down the R533 for a further 26kms the tourist town of Pilgrims Rest is reached. Continue to Graskop and then choose to go north on the R532 to explore the Lisbon and Berlin falls, God's Window, Three Rondavels, the Poholes and the Blyde River Canyon. Travel a southerly route from Graskop on the R532 for the Forest and MacMac Pools and the quaint town of Sabie. Turn onto the R37 towards Lydenburg to experience the spectacular views over the Long Tom Pass.

Touring the Panorama route in Mpumalanga

Stonecutters Lodge is 20 kms from Lydenburg on the R540 to Dullstroom and is a central spot from which to explore all these areas. 

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Tags: Mpumalanga, Dullstroom, Panorama Route, Lydenburg, Nature Reserves

Trout Fishing at Stonecutters Lodge near Dullstroom

Posted by Margi Butler on Sep 16, 2011 3:41:00 PM

Gus Mason is an experienced fly-fisherman who was able to marry his passion for the sport to his ability as a sales training facilitator: His course “Fishing For Business” engendered in many a delegate a newly awakened interest in trout fishing in the Mpumalanga Highlands.

Flyfishing Dullstroom, LydenburgMany of these courses were held at Stonecutters Lodge near Dullstroom which offers superb accommodation and boardroom facilities as well as the opportunity to fish in dams and river. The 2 dams  and three kilometers of Dorps River are well stocked and are ideal for fly-fishing clinics. But river fishing is Gus’s first love and he wrote an article "Fishing the Rises"- the setting is the Dorps River at Stonecutters Lodge and the thrust of his lyrical prose is that the appreciation of fly-fishing is not confined to the number of bites or the weight of the catch: The pleasure of fishing is not measured by the number of fish brought home by the fisherman but is rather the deeper holistic experience of truly connecting with nature and of pitting one's wiles against those of a worthy opponent. So read and enjoy and download his article  Fishing The Rises……you will be pleased you did!

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Tags: Mpumalanga, fly-fishing, Lydenburg, trout fishing, Dullstroom

Hook a large trout or two at Stonecutters Lodge!

Posted by Margi Butler on Aug 30, 2011 10:37:00 AM

Guests at Stonecutters Lodge come in all shapes and sizes. Among them are those who want a romantic getaway in a country setting, those who want to take in the Dullstroom vibe and those who are doing business in Lydenburg. Then there are those who come to fish. Especially at this time of year when the waters are cold and the fishing is good, those desk-bound city dwellers who have been bitten by the fly-fishing bug feel the lure of the well-stocked dams and river at Stonecutters.

Trophy trout near Dullstroom

Many arrive with all their fly-fishing gear, but some make use of the rod and reel hire facility here. Some swagger bravely down to the water, secure in their ability to hook even the most wary trout, while less confident fishermen request the services of a local guide to ease them into the rhythm of casting and retrieving.

Fly fishing tuition near Dullstroom It is always a pleasure to host the occasional fisherman who, with well-honed skill, enjoys an outing on our water that they rank as exceptional. Andrew Wilmot was one such guest this month who has documented his stay and his catches at Stonecutters Lodge. The following article for our fly-fishing followers is an inspiration!

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Tags: Mpumalanga, fly-fishing, Lydenburg, trout fishing, Dullstroom

Good reasons to visit Lydenburg (Mashishing) in Mpumalanga!

Posted by Margi Butler on Aug 10, 2011 1:06:00 PM

Lydenburg is situated at the foothills of the famous Long Tom Pass and is surrounded by the Steenkampsbeerg and Mauchsberg mountain ranges which are the highest points in Mpumalanga. Besides being a tourist destination and a springboard to the many tourist attractions in the surrounding area, Lydenburg is today a mining boom-town servicing the numerous platinum and chrome mines in the area. Shopping is thus excellent and for those exploring this area, Lydenburg is an ideal provisioning town. For the many business visitors there are numerous quality B&B’s in the town and a few 4 Star Lodges such as Stonecutters Lodge on the outskirts of town.

Lying only 290kms from Pretoria, Lydenburg is an easy 2.5 hour drive from O.R Tambo Airport, making it an ideal stopover to explore the Panorama Route, the Highlands Meander and the Kruger Park as well as the many game parks in Mpumalanga.

Dorps River LydenburgFour steams traverse the area, namely the Dorps River, Sterkspruit, Doringspruit and Klipgat, making it a fisherman’s haven. Just 35kms away is Dullstroom, a renowned tourism and trout fishing destination.

Lydenburg is the home of numerous Iron Age sites (500A.D.) particularly in the Gustav Klingbiel Nature Reserve,where stone-walled enclosures, engraved circles  and pottery attest to these earlier inhabitants of this beautiful area.  Most of this pottery is closely related to the pottery found at the Lydenburg Heads site in respect of age and decoration. These famous heads were found in the 1950’s by a schoolboy and comprise 7 clay masks which were probably used in rituals and ceremonies in the Early Iron Age. The original heads are now housed in the Iziko National Musem in Cape Town but perfect replicas are beautifully displayed in the Lydenburg Museum along with much of the original pottery. The Museum is also a treasure-house of early settler and Anglo-Boer War displays and is well-worth a visit. In 1873 alluvial gold was discovered in the area and the town experienced a typical ‘Gold Rush’ as the precious metal was sifted from the waters. Regrettably the supply soon dried up!

Many talented artists reside in the area – painters such as Eugene Hurter, stained glass artists, wood carvers and bead workers.

A strong cycling and running club arranges a number of events during the year, the most well known of which is the annual Long Tom Marathon’, a grueling road race from Sabi to Lydenburg running over the dramatic Long Tom Pass.

The Gustav Klingbiel Nature Reserve is set on the edge of the town and comprises an area of 2,200 hectares with typical escarpment flora and fauna from orchids to cycads and tree ferns. There are numerous species of game to be found including zebra, most of the antelope species, baboons and monkeys, jackal, caracal and cerval and the occasional leopard.  The reserve also offers excellent bird-watching and a list is available from the adjacent museum, as well as details of the Crane Hiking Route. The reserve is open to vehicles and hikers from 8hoo to 17h00 at R10 per person. While game watching and birding can be done from a vehicle, there are numerous hiking trails from 5kms to 12 kms.  Hikers may also use the recently added mountain bike routes which include some hair-raising downhill tracks on a circular 20kms drive.

Blyde River Canyon, MpumalangaLydenburg is an ideal springboard to world-renowned attractions like Blyde River Canyon, Pilgrims Rest  and God’s Window and the route north over the Long Tom Pass or through the Strydom Tunnel takes the visitor through spectacular scenery dotted with waterfalls and terrain of great beauty.

To experience the majestic splendour of this area book a stay at Stonecutters Lodge. Situated just 20kms from Lydenburg ons the Dullstroom route, this 4 Star lodge offers superb accommodation for couples or families on a self-catering or DBB basis.

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Tags: Lydenburg, Tourist Attractions Mpumalanga

Experience and enjoy the Lydenburg area in Mpumalanga

Posted by Margi Butler on Jul 23, 2011 4:06:00 PM

Lydenburg is situated at the foothills of the famous Long Tom Pass and is surrounded by the Steenkampsbeerg and Mauchsberg mountain ranges which are the highest points in Mpumalanga. Besides being a tourist destination and a springboard to the many tourist attractions in the surrounding area, Lydenburg is today a mining boom-town servicing the numerous platinum and chrome mines in the area. Shopping is thus excellent and for those exploring this area, Lydenburg is an ideal provisioning town. For the many business visitors there are numerous quality B&B’s in the town and a few Star graded Lodges that also offer fly-fishing on the outskirts of town.

Lying only 290kms from Pretoria, Lydenburg is an easy 3 hour drive from Gauteng making it an ideal stopover to explore the Panorama Route, the Highlands Meander and the Kruger Park as well as the many game parks in Mpumalanga.

Dorps River LydenburgFour steams traverse the area, namely the Dorps River, Sterkspruit, Doringspruit and Klipgat, making it a fisherman’s haven. Just 55kms away is Dullstroom, a renowned tourism and trout fishing destination.

Lydenburg is the home of numerous Iron Age sites (500A.D.) particularly in the Gustav Klingbiel Nature Reserve,where stone-walled enclosures, engraved circles  and pottery attest to these earlier inhabitants of this beautiful area.  Most of this pottery is closely related to the pottery found at the Lydenburg Heads site in respect of age and decoration. These famous heads were found in the 1950’s by a schoolboy and comprise 7 clay masks which were probably used in rituals and ceremonies in the Early Iron Age. The original heads are now housed in the Iziko National Musem in Cape Town but perfect replicas are beautifully displayed in the Lydenburg Museum along with much of the original pottery. The Museum is also a treasure-house of early settler and Voortrekker displays and is well-worth a visit. In 1873 alluvial gold was discovered in the area and the town experienced a typical ‘Gold Rush’ as the precious metal was sifted from the waters. Regrettably the supply soon dried up!

Many talented artists reside in the area – painters such as Eugene Hurter, stained glass artists, wood carvers and bead workers. A annual exhibition is held at the civic centre to display and market these wares.

A strong cycling and running club arranges a number of events during the year, the most well known of which is the annual ‘Long Tom Marathon’, a grueling road race from Sabi to Lydenburg running over the dramatic Long Tom Pass.

The Gustav Klingbiel Nature Reserve is set on the edge of the town and comprises an area of 2,200 hectares with typical escarpment flora and fauna from orchids to cycads and tree ferns. There are numerous species of game to be found including zebra, most of the antelope species, baboons and monkeys, jackal, caracal and cerval and the occasional leopard.  The reserve also offers excellent bird-watching and a list is available from the adjacent museum, as well as details of the Crane Hiking Route. The reserve is open to vehicles and hikers from 8hoo to 17h00 at R10 per person. While game watching and birding can be done from a vehicle, there are numerous hiking trails from 5kms to 12 kms.  Hikers may also use the recently added mountain bike routes which include some hair-raising downhill tracks on a circular 20kms drive.

Lydenburg is an ideal springboard to world-renowned attractions like Blyde River Blyde Rivier Canyon Canyon, Pilgrims Rest  and God’s Window and the route north over the Long Tom Pass or through the Strydom Tunnel takes the visitor through spectacular scenery dotted with waterfalls and terrain of great beauty.

To experience the majestic splendour of this area book a stay at Stonecutters Lodge situated just 20kms from Lydenburg on the Highlands Meander route (R540). This 4 Star lodge offers superb accommodation for couples or families on a self-catering or DBB basis and has a superb conference facility for up to 20 delegates.

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Tags: Lydenburg, Tourist Attractions Mpumalanga

Fly-fishing in the Mpumalanga, close to Dullstroom

Posted by Margi Butler on Jul 6, 2011 8:52:00 PM

Gus Mason is an experienced fly-fisherman who was able to marry his passion for the sport to his ability as a sales training facilitator: His course “Fishing For Business” engendered in many a delegate a newly awakened interest in trout fishing in the Mpumalanga Highlands. Many of these courses were held at Stonecutters Lodge near Dullstroom which offers superb accommodation and boardroom facilities as well as the opportunity to fish in dams and river. The 2 dams  and three kilometers of Dorps River are well stocked and are ideal for fly-fishing clinics. Gus starts off with some background on the history and science of fly-fishing. Did you know for instance that human female pheremones are attractive to trout? When attaching a fly to a line allow a female to handle the fly first! The theory is followed by casting lessons on the  lawns in front of the Stonecutters dams before the inductees are allowed to sink a line.

But river fishing is Gus’s first love and he wrote an article "An Early Rise, a Silent Pool and an Exercise in Patience." The setting is the Dorps River at Stonecutters Lodge and the thrust of his lyrical prose is that the appreciation of fly-fishing is not confined to the number of bites or the weight of the catch: The pleasure of fishing is not measured by the number of fish brought home by the fisherman but is rather the deeper holistic experience of truly connecting with nature and of pitting one's wiles against those of a worthy opponent. So read and enjoy and download his article……you will be pleased you did!


River fishing for Trout, Dullstroom

 "There don't have to be a thousand fish in a river; let me locate a good one and I'll get a thousand dreams out of him before I catch him - and, if I catch him, I'll turn him loose."

~ Jim Derren ~


Tags: Mpumalanga, fly-fishing, Lydenburg, trout fishing, Dullstroom

Anglo Boer War Sites near Dullstroom, Mpumalanga

Posted by Margi Butler on May 25, 2011 2:50:00 PM

Boer War Dullstroom Mpumalanga
In Mpumalanga, South Africa, the Weimershoek Valley on the R540 is close to where a lot of military action took place in the Anglo-Boer war.
Tales of pain, compassion, intrigue, cover-ups, humour, sadness and humour are related as one travels the route taken by Boer and Brit all those years ago. The Anglo- Boer war was fought over large stretches of South Africa between 1899-1902. The two main role players, the British and Afrikaners, had been at loggerheads since the 17th Century, causing the Boers to trek north from the Cape Province in 1838, mainly concentrating in Natal. In 1843 the British annexed Natal resulting in the Boers trekking again to land that was to become the Transvaal and the Orange Free State independent republics. The catalyst for war was the discovery of gold in the Transvaal Republic in 1886 as the two protagonists fought over this glittering prize. War was declared on 11 October 1899. It was to be one of the longest, costliest, bloodiest and most humiliating wars that Britain had ever been involved in.

"...the modern Boer-the most formidable antagonist who ever crossed the path of Imperial Britain. Our military history has largely consisted in our conflicts with France, but Napoleon and all his veterans have never treated us so roughly as these hard-bitten farmers with their ancient theology and their inconveniently modern rifles." Arthur Conan-Doyle.

Let a local historian bring history alive by visiting the Mpumalanga Battlefields on a half-day or full-day battlefields tour and then stay over in the area exploring the many tourist attractions that the Mpumalanga Highlands has to offer- followed by a short trip to the Kruger National Park.

Tags: Mpumalanga, Dullstroom, Lydenburg, Anglo Boer war

Travel along the R540 to well known tourist attractions in Mpumalanga

Posted by Margi Butler on May 17, 2011 12:37:00 PM

In the minds of many, Mpumalanga is synonymous with game parks and the big five. But in reality a road trip through this province of wide horizons and dramatic scenery is about so much more than a trip to the Kruger. If you love the great outdoors, crisp mountain air and views to forever take the R540 off the N4 at Belfast and start you trip by heading into the trout triangle at the foot of the Steenkampsberg.

travel around Mpumalanga

The quaint town of Dullstroom has much to offer both the fly-fisherman and the country traveller – a snippet of the life-style of yesteryear where the pace is slow, the pubs are numerous and the fish are jumping’. Using Dullstroom as a base for accommodation one can plan a day trip leaving the next morning and heading north to see the spectacular scenery for which this area is famed. As one winds over the Vermont Pass down to Lydenburg the scenery is picture perfect and in Lydenburg a stop at the well-kept museum tantalises the imagination with the unusual iron-age Lydenburg Heads – 7 earthenware masks whose origins could be African, Indian or even Mayan.

Blyde River Canyon Mpumalanga

Winding through the Long Tom Pass one feels on top of the world – literally! A replica of the Long Tom cannon used in the Boer War rests at the apex of the Pass and forested mountain slopes and waterfalls abound all the way down to Sabi. Heading north on the R532 there is much to see. Numerous waterfalls such as Mac Mac Falls, Forest Falls and Lisbon Falls line the route and a short detour takes the visitor to Pilgrim’s Rest, a mining town frozen in time. There are spectacular views from The Pinnacle, Gods Window and Wonderview.  Bourke’s Luck Potholes are an amazing phenomenon and in the area of the Blyde River Canyon the majesty of the Three Rondavels presides over all.

If one wants to head for Hoedspruit and on to the Orpen Gate into the Kruger Park one would continue north on the R36,taking in breathtaking mountain scenery and  going through the Strydom Tunnel. Hawkers sell their curio wares and local fruit and veg from stalls perched on the edge of cliffs and are worth a stop for a purchase – the dramatic views come free of charge! For those doing a day trip from Dullstroom the R36 heading south to Lydenburg winds through mountains and valleys, passing through the small town of Orighstad before reaching Lydenburg where the R540 takes one on to Dullstroom.

Tags: Mpumalanga, Dullstroom, Lydenburg, Tourist attractions

Education is suffering in rural Mpumalanga schools

Posted by Margi Butler on Feb 1, 2011 7:58:00 PM

Coromandel Farm School in the Lydenburg District of Mpumalanga is one of many rural schools that is battling to survive.

Coromandel School, Lydenburg

Coromandel is a rural community situated near Stonecutters Lodge and from which most of the lodge staff is drawn. The lodge has been involved with the village and the Coromandel Farm School for the past 15 years.

The once proud school has for years been neglected through the lack of budget and has functioned with little maintenance of buildings or grounds. There are currently around 300 pupils from grade 1 to grade 7. There are 9 teachers (plus the principal) who are paid by the government. There is no vehicle to ferry children to sports and cultural events as the school struggles to maintain a tenuous foothold in local school activities. The teachers have very little in the way of teaching aids. Where pictures are not available they draw their own: there are few charts on the walls and books, paper and writing materials are in scant supply.

Coromandel is an isolated community. They have no contacts in the commercial environment and no idea of how to raise funds for the school. They need money to pay for electricity, additional school rooms and building maintenance. They need teaching aids, schoolbooks and stationary and of course sport’s equipment.

Stonecutters Lodge has assisted the school in various ways over the years: Massmart very kindly donated school packs one year and CNA and Game Stores have assisted with discounts when Stonecutters have shopped annually for prizes for the school’s annual prize-giving, but our contributions are just a drop in the ocean. Rural school Mpumalanga

The plight of rural schools in South Africa is alarming. Government is well aware of the importance of early education and aims to improve the quality of education at primary school level, but the private sector and the public can also be of enormous assistance. A good grounding at primary school level is the foundation for a successful high school career and is the cornerstone of education at any level, be it tertiary education, entrepreneurial endeavour or trade skills.  

Anyone who would like to assist is asked to call the principal

Mr Richard Raphahlelo on 082 670 6693

Or call Lesley from Stonecutters Lodge  on 083 375 0132.


Tags: Stonecutters Lodge, Education, South Africa, Rural Schools Mpumalanga, Funds for rural schools, Lydenburg