Stonecutters Blog

Stonecutters Lodge near Dullstroom recycles- are you?

Posted by Margi Butler on Sep 10, 2016 5:15:39 PM

Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle. These three R’s are of so much importance to our planet. Far rather our children and grandchildren run through piles of leaves than through piles of discarded rubbish. Our government wants to reduce the amount of plastic, cans, paper and glass going to landfills by 70 percent in the next decade or so. To meet that target, households need to stop simply throwing away rubbish and start implementing the three Rs.

There are definite advantages for the household too: by separating out the food waste from the recyclables there is a much smaller proportion of waste in a smelly dustbin. Fruit and veg and garden waste are ideal components in a compost heap – if you don’t have the garden space for this, consider a worm garden!

Recycling for your average suburban household in South Africa is a little more trouble: the infrastructure for collecting recyclable material isn’t really in place – yet. Households generally have to separate their rubbish and take the recyclables to a municipal drop-off centre or a buy-back centre.  Many people just can’t be bothered but there are more and more households, complex dwellers and hospitality establishments* who are doing their bit for the planet.

Stonecutters Lodge Dullstroom

*Stonecutters Lodge Recycling Programme:

Stonecutters Lodge between Dullstroom and Lydenburg in Mpumalanga implemented a recycling programme a year ago which is working extremely well. The lodge kitchen, as well as all the guests’ kitchens, are equipped with recycle bins which are emptied and carefully resorted by the lodge staff. All glass, clean paper and packaging, and plastic is set aside and the kitchen waste and ash from fireplaces and barbeques is trundled off to the compost heap. The recyclable goods are then loaded onto the bakkie and taken to the recyling company in Lydenburg. Only cooked kitchen waste is sent to the landfill -so trips to town (40kms return) have been reduced considerably- further reducing our carbon footprint.

crafts made from recycled materialdWe are also supporters of art projects by the local community and a supply of tin cans, bottle tops and caps are set aside to be used by craftsmen and end up as multi- coloured geckos and other imaginative items!

So our endevours also help job creation- a win-win for us, local craftsmen and South Africa.

We all need to be accountable for our carbon footprint and the waste we generate needs to be handled in an intelligent and responsible manner. Take a little time to make a positive contribution!

There is no time for complacency. We are using the Earth’s resources and need to consider ‘giving back’. If you haven't started a recycling programme in your home or business -it's not too late to start!

Some useful Links:

Sappi Paper/Refibre : Paper is is truly sustainable product. It's made from renewable resources, and is reusable, recyclable and bio-degarable.

Guide to recycling in South Africa

Recycling in Mpumalanga






Tags: recycle, Mpumalanga

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. 



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

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

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

Go Fly-fishing in the Trout Triangle in Mpumalanga

Posted by Margi Butler on Jun 23, 2011 2:25:00 PM


Trout Fishing MpumalangaMpumalanga has long been known as a popular venue for trout fishing. The excellent and accessible rivers in the eastern parts of the province lend themselves to supporting trout fishing as a significant sub-sector of the tourism industry. The most notable trout rivers are the Sterkspruit, the Spekboom, Klip, Waterval and the Dorps.

According to a study undertaken by Professor Leiboldt and Dr Van Zyl, fly-fishing in South Africa has a direct economic impact of R3.5-billion rand (2007). In response to the increasing popularity of fly-fishing, dams all over Mpumalanga have been rehabilitated, particularly in the trout triangle of Dullstroom, Waterval-Boven and Belfast. This sector of the tourism industry provides an increasing number of jobs in an area that sorely needs employment opportunities for unskilled and semi-skilled employees.

Breeding for the many trout lodges in Mpumalanga is undertaken by specialists who conduct thriving businesses trading in eggs and live fish, varying in size from fingerlings to trophy fish. Angling fish suppliers in the Dullstroom, Lydenburg areas include Nooitgedacht and Lunsklip Fisheries. Milly’s Trout Hatchery operates near Machadodorp.

Smoked Trout products Lunsklip and Milly’s are also in the business of processing trout for consumption with a variety of products from smoked trout to trout pate, and deboned whole baby trout.

Testing is currently underway in a joint venture between two government departments – Science and Technology and Agriculture and the Department of Forestry and Fisheries on a method of cage-net technology that will produce trout fingerlings for hatcheries with 50-ton production facilities.

Fly-fishing is a thriving industry and the introduction of trout to the Eastern Highlands in the late 1800’s has had a significant impact on the tourism industry of Mpumalanga.

River fishing at StonecuttersThe off spin is that many country Estates boasting beautiful trout waters have developed in the Trout Triangle – some offering dam fishing and others river fishing. Stonecutters Lodge on the Dorps River offers both.




Tags: River Fishing, Mpumalanga, 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, Lydenburg, Dullstroom, 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, Lydenburg, Dullstroom, Tourist attractions

"Going Beyond" Earth Hour at Stonecutters Lodge, Dullstroom

Posted by Margi Butler on Mar 26, 2011 9:00:00 PM

Earth hour, Dullstroom 

There is no denying that our planet needs our nurturing. Now more than ever we are aware of the effects of global warming and the strain that man has placed on our dwindling resources.

Earth Hour  is an exciting way of creating awareness of these problems and also an awareness that every little effort helps. There is something remarkable about sharing the commonality of our human experience across the globe, the figurative taking of hands in a quest for conservation of our environment. So may you enjoy a candle-lit dinner tonight!

And when we have blown out the candles and switched on the lights, the call is to ‘go beyond the hour’.

Bishop Desmond Tutu has called on citizens of the world to use the moment to commit to one on-going environmental act beyond the hour, something as simple as wearing a jersey instead of switching on the heater.

In this age of instant gratification we are not accustomed to austerity, much less self-imposed measures of denial but this would doubtless be good for the soul as well as the planet!

In the hospitality industry where guest comfort is all important it is doubly hard to initiate a policy of ‘going beyond the hour’ but nevertheless there are measures that can be taken – recycling, switching of geezers when not in use, avoiding the tumble dryer on sunny days, requesting guests to use water conservatively and many other little actions that can all add up to a positive response to the global call by the people for the planet. So switch off your lights and switch on to the meaning of Earth Hour

yes, you!

Stonecutters Lodge near Dullstroom is implementing a          "Go Beyond" action plan to lower our carbon footprint and heed the call to save our planet. 

Earth hour and Stonecutters Lodge

Tags: Earth Hour, Mpumalanga, Stonecutters Lodge, Dullstroom

The Highlands Meander: Explore the Area & Stay near Dullstroom

Posted by Margi Butler on Nov 16, 2010 2:14:00 PM

River fishing, Dullstroom


The Mpumalanga Highlands Meander is situated only two to three hours from Gauteng in South Africa. The Highlands Meander has evolved into a 'must-visit' tourist destination in Mpumalanga, luring and enchanting nature lovers, fly-fishers, and adventure addicts to a multiplicity of Meander attractions. The Highlands Meander is set among majestic mountains that plummet to the famed bushveld, the rolling hills, pristine rivers, and spectacular kloofs of the Meander.

This dramatic setting is the backdrop to the towns and areas of Belfast, Dullstroom Lydenburg, Machadodorp, Waterval-Boven and the Kwena Basin, each with a plethora of accommodation options. Dullstroom is at the forefront of these towns with accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets. Major highlights of this quaint town include trout fishing waters, a wide choice of quality restaurants and pubs and a vibrant arts and crafts community.  Accommodation in Dullstroom affords visitors to this area an ideal springboard to activities such as rock climbing, abseiling, canoeing, hot air ballooning, mountain biking and paragliding.

Those jaded by the stresses of city life are just a drive away from the tranquility and drama of the spectacular Mpumalanga Highlands and an opportunity to nurture the soul.

Stonecutters Lodge, near Dullstroom lies between Dullstroom and Lydenburg in the heart of the Highlands Meander you can explore this region using the lodge as your base to travel from.

Tags: Dullstroom Accommodation, Mpumalanga, Highlands Meander, Dullstroom