Things to do in Dullstroom (that have nothing to do with fishing)

Dullstroom on the Dam Community Centre

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

Dullstroom on the Dam rec centre

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

View from Dullstroom on the Dam rec centre

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). 

Dullstroom view from hillside

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. 

Dullstroom on the Dam Community Centre

What you need to know about Dullstroom on the Dam

 

Connect with Dullstroom on the Dam via: 

 

Shop for books @ Dullstroom Heritage Society

Dullstroom bookstore and museum

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.

Charity book sale at Dullstroom Museum

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.

4 Replies to “Things to do in Dullstroom (that have nothing to do with fishing)”

  1. Just a couple of things on the Dullstroom Charity Book Store. Some proceeds go to Border Collie Rescue, but the majority are split between the Bird of Prey Centre and a local pet Charity PSILUVU, that pays for spaying, neutering and assistance with ill dogs/ cats, food for rescue animals and financial assistance towards mass spaying programmes and dipping days for local animals. All done on a voluntary basis and all books are donated. Open Friday thorugh Mondays, 10am to 2pm

    1. Hey Browen! Thanks so much for jumping with more info; that’s a big help. I’ll update the post to include your info.

      Cheers,
      Katie

  2. Thank you for your very informative article. The DULLSTROOM HERITAGE SOCIETY was founded in 2013 with the express purpose of preserving and recording the rich historical record of the town. We have collected artifacts and Heritage items from as way back as the earliest Settlers in 1884 through to present day and display these together with informative brochures and booklets which detail the formative years of the town and celebrate the cultural and ethnic diversity which nutured Dullstroom from times of yore. The Heritage Centre is completely reliant on private funding and is manned by enthusiastic volunteers on most weekends – Friday through to Sunday from 10h30 – 14h30, but will gladly open on request, at any reasonable hour, outside of the published open hours.

  3. Thanks Mike! There are indeed several interesting records and artefacts in the museum. When we visited the museum the first time, chatting with one of your volunteers helped us piece together Dullstroom stories. Knowing more is definitely one of the reasons we love this place so much!

    Cheers,
    Katie

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