I don’t know what the stats are for international visitors to the sleepy, misty town of Dullstroom, but I bet they’re low. After chatting to folks in Cape Town, I discovered many haven’t made the journey.
Dullstroom seems to appeal to a few groups of people:
Fishing enthusiasts that love (or want to try) fly fishing
Travellers on their way to or from the Kruger with time to kill
Joburgers needing to get out of the city for the weekend
The standard list of things to do in Dullstroom includes fly-fishing, pub crawling and perhaps a visit to the Birds of Prey Rehabilitation Centre located just outside the town.
But there’s more to do in Dullstroom. Indeed, even the planning triggers Pavlovian salvation for a walk around Dullstroom on the Dam and a visit to the charity bookstore.
Take a hike @ Dullstroom on the Dam
We discovered Dullstroom on the Dam a year ago and I fell in love instantly.
This municipal dam has five cottages (which are now listed on AirBNB), space for campers and RVers and catch-and-release trout dams. It’s also got a community hall that always prompts Dirty Dancing memories (the original, thank you) and a hiking trail which leads you up to a peaceful, leafy view of Dullstroom.
The latest Dullstroom on the Dam caretakers are pouring efforts into refurbing this municipal gem. It’s evident in the cleaned-up rec hall which was once overwhelmingly filled with excess furniture. It appears, at least from a distance, that the cottages are looking fresher and neater.
I’m not sure if they can claim it or not, but the world’s highest Park Run also happens here every Saturday morning. And, excitingly, they’ve even listed the first Dullstroom AirBNB experience – a guided horse ride to the top of the hill. If it didn’t mix my lack of riding ability with occasional vertigo, this is something I would sign on for in a heartbeat.
When I’m looking for things to do in Dullstroom, though, it’s all about the hike around the dam.
Dullstroom on the Dam hiking trail
If you’re a serious hiker, you’ll find this trail super easy. That’s good news for anyone visiting Dullstroom that isn’t into fly-fishing and doesn’t want to spend entire days moving from café to restaurant to pub.
The trail starts near the gated entrance to Dullstroom on the Dam and it’s clearly marked. Walking along the edge of one of the dams, you’ll cross through a small gate and begin the climb to the top. The trail is well-maintained and you shouldn’t find it too strenuous or uncomfortable – even without experience. Relax for a few minutes while taking in the view before following either the tire tracks or footpaths down into pasture land (where cows and horses are roaming).
It’s a relaxing walk and the Irish-countryside-esque views are likely to stir a strange romanticist sensation of peace. And, as you return to the rec hall, see if they’re open, pet the dogs and grab a cool drink before heading out.
It’s definitely worth it.
What you need to know about Dullstroom on the Dam
Entrance to Dullstroom on the Dam is free
If you’re intent on fly fishing (which I’m not), you can book a lesson here
Connect with Dullstroom on the Dam via:
Shop for books @ Dullstroom Heritage Society
You’ll find the Dullstroom Heritage Society housed in an old bank building.
Interestingly, the town doesn’t have a bank. It doesn’t really have an ATM. You’ll need to go to the second grocery store (which has a bit of everything) around the corner and ask at the kiosk counter whether they have any cash, then get a withdrawal slip from the FNB machine and then take that to the counter to get your cash. The system is small town genius, even if you need to be walked through it the first time.
In any case, there is a small museum here and there are some interesting things to see if you’re interested in South African history.
To get to the museum, you’ll pass through the charity bookshop. Proceeds, in case you’re wondering, appear to go to a Border Collie rescue organisation. And, it’s tiny. But there are some serious gems to be found – from history to trashy teen lit.
I’ll admit that I once picked up a Sweet Valley High book which I devoured in an hour or two, laughing all the way through. You’ll find it on the bookshelves at the Dullstroom on the Dam rec centre if you’re interested in terrible teen trash.
More recently, I found a writer’s resource book published in 1929. Of course, in following with the trash theme, I also grabbed a V.C. Andrews book.
If you think I can pass through Dullstroom without a stop at this charity bookstore, you’re wrong. I plan for it.
What you need to know about the Dullstroom charity book sale
It’s difficult to know when the shop and the museum are open, but Saturday mornings are a solid bet. You may want to reach out on Facebook to the Heritage Society if your stay doesn’t include a Saturday morning.
Eat and drink your way through town
You’ll find a few shops in town, including an awesome antique store next to the art gallery and a spot to pick up Dullstroom and Tonteldoos-branded gear (near the brewery). But, for the most part, if you’re in town, plan on eating and drinking your way through the day nestled in the mist.
If you’re after grog or trout dishes, you’ll find that just about anywhere. But, if you’re after vegan food in Dullstroom, you’ll need to work a little harder. Don’t worry, I’ve done that work for you – check out our guide to vegan food in Dullstroom.