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Why did we hand pick Birkhall Farm?

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  • Walking distance to Sterkspruit & Birkhall dam flyfishing
  • Tranquil rural setting in a mountainous valley
  • Easy road access

Birkhall Farm

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Price tier (pps): R200  R1500+

Child policy: All ages

40km from Barkly East


-30.9052, 27.7824


Providing an ideal refuge from the hustle and bustle of city life in an area renowned for its scenic landscapes, Birkhall Olde Shoppe is a basic, one-roomed open-plan cottage, ideal for the fly fisherman who wants to be within 200m walking distance of the lower reaches of the Sterkspruit River and Birkhall Dam, which harbours trout of up to 2kg and provides some of the best stillwater angling in the district.

Bedding is provided and the fully equipped kitchenette includes cooking utensils and cutlery. Guests need bring only food supplies, personal effects and fishing tackle. Housekeeping service can be arranged for an extra fee and, if arrangements are made in advance, catering may also be provided. In all, Birkhall and its neighbouring farm, Branksome, offer about 10km of river frontage which is more than sufficient for a good few days of fishing.

In contrast to the steep gradient of the nearby Bokspruit River with its small, rocky pools, the Sterkspruit, which runs past Birkhall, is bigger and slower and its fish are, on average, larger. The best angling months are March to early May. Small dry flies and nymphs work well and this is quintessential upstream, floating line, fast water fly fishing.

Please note that the owners live on a working farm, and are not always in a position to answer telephone calls or respond immediately to emails. So, if you struggle to get hold of them, please SMS their mobile numbers, and they will contact you as soon as they can.

Rates & Summary

Birkhall Olde Shoppe

Sleeps up to 3 in single beds 
One-roomed open plan cottage
Fully equipped kitchenette 
Front verandah, braai area
Overlooks nearby dam and river


  • R 250 pp


Catering can be provided, if arrangements are made in advance

Why Stay Here?

Birkhall provides an ideal refuge in an area renowned for its scenic landscapes, clean air, trout water, bird life, warm fireplaces and equally warm hospitality. Birkhall Farm is situated on the Sterkspruit - one of the premier fly fishing rivers in the area. The best angling months are March to early May. Small dry flies and nymphs work well and this is quintessential upstream, floating line, fast water fly fishing.


  • Walking distance to Sterkspruit & Birkhall dam flyfishing
  • Tranquil rural setting in a mountainous valley
  • Easy road access


The cottage offers privacy and peace. 

Things to consider Bringing

Birkhall is a little closer to town than some of the other properties in the area, but it is still best to check that you have loaded all your food supplies and essentials before you leave home.

Road Conditions

The local dirt roads are usually in reasonable condition.

Activities & Attractions

  • Fly fishing
  • Hiking
  • Mountain biking 
  • Birding
  • San rock art
  • Horse riding, including fly fishing excursions on horse back


Accommodation & Hospitality

  • Dining table
  • Verandah / patio
  • Bed linen supplied
  • Bathroom towels supplied
  • No laundry service available

Catering & Kitchen

  • Breakfast and dinner by arrangement
  • No Restaurant
  • Not licensed
  • Kitchenette
  • Braai area available
  • Microwave oven
  • Stove
  • Hot Plates
  • Fridge or minibar
  • Basic cleaning materials


  • Water supply good for drinking
  • Electric geysers
  • Eskom electricity

Leisure Amenities

  • No television

Business & Connectivity

  • Good cell phone reception

Access & Convenience

  • Nearest shops further than 50km
  • Nearest fuel further than 50km


  • Credit cards not accepted
  • EFT accepted




Friendly N6

Eastern Cape


The Friendly N6 route runs between Bloemfontein and East London, connecting the provinces of the Free State and the Eastern Cape. Aliwal North is at the border of the 2 provinces.

South Africa is famous for horizons that stretch for kilometres, so wide open spaces and endless skies are a traveller’s constant companions on the N6. The route takes one through about 600km of peaceful, diverse and beautiful land, giving one a sense of just how vast the country really is.

The N6’s attractions include everything from sea to snow, interspersed with charming towns. These are only slightly off the beaten highway, and are intriguing and pleasant places to explore. In the Free State, Bethulie and Zastron are within easy travelling distance of the N6, while Reddersburg, Smithfield and Rouxville are main stops along the route.

In the Eastern Cape the towns of Dordrecht, Molteno, Elliot, Rhodes, Burgersdorp, Barkly East and Lady Grey are all worthwhile diversions for curious travellers with time on their hands. For those sticking to the highway, Aliwal North, Jamestown, Queenstown, Cathcart and Stutterheim are along the route. These provide a sufficient diversity of interests and activities for guests. The highway is also relatively close to the Gariep Dam, Oviston and Hogsback Nature Reserves.

Sprawling sheep farms are probably the most obvious and frequent feature of the landscape, but the area is rich in cultural significance and interest. 

Apart from San (or Bushman) history and rock art, there are also interesting museums and art galleries, and fine local arts and crafts. The route’s proximity to the mountain kingdom of Lesotho means that Basotho culture is an important and unique influence on the culture of the area. Xhosa culture is proudly and strongly entrenched in the Eastern Cape.

The hills and towns of this area were witness to the Great Trek. This was the migration of the ‘Trekboers’ from the Eastern Cape across the Gariep River, (previously the Orange River) further into the central interior. It is often mentioned as an example of Afrikaner rebellion, perseverance and endurance. 

This same Afrikaner resilience cost Britain an unanticipated £190 million in the South African (or Anglo-Boer) War, which is commemorated at many sites and towns along the N6 route. 

Travelling south to East London from Aliwal North, tourists are afforded a majestic view of the Maluti mountains of Lesotho, as well as a sample of the Great Karoo in Stutterheim and Queenstown. East London itself is a lovely city which really lives up to the ‘friendly’ N6 brand. It has some interesting tangible links to prehistory: the East London Museum displays the last remaining dodo egg, as well as the body of a coelacanth, one of the oldest species on the planet. This fish was thought to be extinct until one was found alive on a fishing boat in the East London harbour in 1938.

Look out for

Relax and rejuvenate in Aliwal North’s hot springs and appreciate its beautiful old buildings. 

The Kologha Forest and the Kubisi Indigenous State Forests are less than 10km from Stutterheim. Large swathes of ancient indigenous forest are home to yellowwoods, ironwoods, white stinkwoods, Cape holly and Cape chestnuts with montane grassland cresting the slopes. Six well-marked forest trails, from 3-17km long, start and end at the Kologha Picnic site. They lead to waterfalls and good trout fishing and birdwatching spots. Rare birds found here include the endangered Cape parrot, grey-crowned crane and white-starred robin.  Mountain bik­ing and horse rid­ing are allowed on certain trails. Maps are avail­able at the forest kiosk. 

The Thomas River Historical Village is in the Amathole mountain region on the 31 000ha Thomas River Conservancy between Stutterheim and Cathcart on the N6 highway.  The area was named after Thomas Bentley, a deserter from the Van Der Kemps Missionary who was shot dead with an arrow while crossing the river. The conservancy offers a variety of outdoor activities including hunting, hiking, rock art talks and trails, fishing, birding, and paintball. The village dates back to the 1870s, has a popular restaurant and houses museums themed on wagons, rock art, pubs and vintage motor cars.

Mgwali Cultural Village near Stutterheim showcases Xhosa culture, with crafts and traditional food on sale. 

Tiffindell Ski and Alpine Resortnear the picturesque village of Rhodes is South Africa’s only ski resort. It offers snow adventures on the slopes of Ben McDhui, the tallest mountain in the Eastern Cape. 

Lady Grey and Cathcart are quaint, peaceful towns to visit. There is a Cape vulture sanctuary 12km from Lady Grey at the Karringmelkspruit gorge. Cathcart is known for its wildflowers, San rock art, excellent hang-gliding launch sites, fishing, birdwatching and adventure activities. 

Malaria-free game viewing is possible at the Lawrence De Lange Nature and the Longhill Nature Reserve near Queenstown, as well as at Tsolwana Game Reserve near Tarkastad. Big 5 game viewing is possible at the Mpongo and Inkwenkwezi Private Game Reserves, both within 35km of East London. 

At the N6 route’s end, East London, visit the Python Park and Lion Park, the Queen’s Park Zoo, the East London museum and the aquarium. Enjoy the shopping, restaurants and, of course, surf the waves. The Calgary Transport Museum (5km north of East London on the N6) has a quaint collection of carts, wagons and buggies. It is open daily from 09h00 to 16h30.

When to go

To Do

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