About Highland Run Fly Fishing Estate
“I would say, without question, that the Spekboom is one of the finest trout streams I have fished – anywhere. Its attributes stand on par with many famous international streams, and those who fish it are privileged indeed.” Andrew Levy, President of The Federation of SA Flyfishers
The Spekboom Valley is home to Highland Run. Apart from being one of the best trout fishing destinations in the country, the Spekboom is a beautiful stream set amidst wild rugged scenery. A road near Lydenburg will bring you into the valley which is set in the Drakensberg Mountains of the Mpumalanga Province. The altitude on the estate ranges from 5300 ft to 7100 ft and Highland Run forms part of the Mount Anderson Water Catchment Reserve.
Self Catering accommodation
Nestled at the foot of the mountains you will feel at home in one of two charming, fully appointed, pine cottages. Large open-plan living areas with a cosy fireplace and DSTV as well as a well equipped kitchen with large fridge/ freezer make for a comfortable stay. Each cottage is able to accommodate eight people in four rooms, each with its own bathroom. All rooms are heated with panel heaters and each bed has an electric blanket. Highly trained house keepers are on hand to see to your comfort and assist guests with cooking. Should catering be required, quotes may be requested.
Doug Starling, the owner for nearly 30 years, has a vast knowledge of fish behaviour which has led him to create the perfect habitat for the trout and fishermen alike.
The Spekboom is one of the few streams in South Africa where trout do breed freely. Both banks of the stream offer varied fishing for five kilometres, in a series of rapids, riffles, runs, glides and pools. A beat system divides the stream in two, with four / five rods on each beat. At midday, the parties change beats, allowing fishermen the opportunity to fish the entire stream.
The average size of fish taken is 2-3lbs but the estate record stands at 8lb 8oz for a rainbow, and 11lb 15oz for a brown. Catch and release is encouraged, although fishing for the table is acceptable.
“Highland Run boasts some of the most delightful angling imaginable. The stream has been fashioned into a series of long runs and ponds, with such subtlety that often it is impossible to decide whether a particular run or small waterfall is the work of nature or man. And they teem with magnificent trout, visible at arm's length. If a prize were awarded for imagination and the will to bring dreams to reality, it should be given to a man named Doug Starling." Robert Brandon-Kirby, the playwright and novelist, was a fly fisherman for many years.
Around the stream, the cliffs are pock-marked with the burrowings of gold diggers and the crumbling remains of the gold-rush days. “For that peep into history alone the Spekboom is well worth visiting and when you combine it with the chance of meeting a fat gleaming rainbow you have, surely, the ideal river.” Freshwater Fish and Fishing in Africa (Nelson, 1963).
The Mount Anderson Reserve is home to a wide variety of fauna and flora. A list of over a hundred species of highveld avifauna includes the brilliant malachite sunbird and the Cape vulture. Africa's less famous antelope including eland, black wildebeest, blesbuck, mountain reedbuck and the very uncommon oribi are likely to be seen, as well as brief glimpses of predators such as the elusive leopard, brown hyena, jackal or caracal.
HIKING & BIKING:
The valley and mountains surrounding the cottages will provide family and friends with hours of hiking and mountain biking fun.
The remoteness of the destination allows for bright star lit skies rarely seen. The après fishing experience at Highland Run creates extra special memories.
The Kruger National Park, Pilgrim’s Rest, Blyde River Canyon, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, God’s Window and the Sudwala and Echo Caves are just some of the attractions that make for a spectacular day out.
“Highland Run on Mpumalanga’s Spekboom River sees off the opposition. A testing river, the browns and rainbows of Highland Run are easily seen, but far less easily hooked. An isolated valley with more than a touch of romantic history, a weekend at the Run is like a week on another planet. It is probably some of the most isolated fishing in the country, situated as it is away from pubs, shops and villages, and this in itself is a plus. But the clarity of the river, the variety it offers and the sporting nature of its challenge will make it hard to dislodge... As we drive out of the valley, there is almost a physical shock of re-entry as the spell is broken and the real world reasserts itself. I have a suspicion that you don't age when you are in the Spekboom Valley, but that's only one of the reasons why I'm going back again.” Andrew Levy
• There is a road levy of R75 payable at the gate
• No cell phone reception (land line available at gate for emergencies)
• Self Catering, nearest shop is nearly 30km’s away so stock up thoroughly!
• No rod’s for hire and no flies available, nearest fly fishing shop is in Dullstroom (90kms away)
• Only fly rods and fly reels may be used. Neither spinning reels nor standard hooks
may be used by any guest, including children
• There is no cost for fish but the bag limit is six fish and there are no rod fees
• Fishing guides and tuition can be arranged, on request
• On arrival, please familiarise yourself with the fishing rules, etiquette and guidelines
• Arrival from 13h00 – not earlier please. Departure by 09h00
• Lost property costs incurred in the recovery of lost items will be for your account and will be held for collection for 3 month maximum