The Elandspad RiverEnquire Now
20 min from Paarl
+27 21 424 7725 www.piscator.co.za
Some of the finest trout rivers in the Cape are merely an hour’s drive from the city centre. The Elandspad in Du Toit’s Kloof is one of those mind-blowing rivers that will see you returning for more, again and again.
Populated only by rainbow trout, the extent of the water inhabited is phenomenal. The average size of fish ranges between 10 and 12 inches, depending on the beat, but fish longer than 20 inches have been taken as high as Beat Four. Less pressured trout in the higher reaches are understandably more gullible than those in the lower kloof area, where the rainbows are renowned for being very picky at times. The higher reaches are also more remote and attractive but demand fitness to reach and fish comfortably in a day. A variety of large pools, small- and large-pocket water and deep and shallow runs make up the entire stretch available to anglers.
Elandspad Beat Four
Beat Four is reached via a footpath that runs along the left bank (facing upstream) of the Elandspad River. Vehicles should be parked at the designated parking area (close to the weigh bridge) on the Worcester side of the Huguenot tunnel; the turnoff to the parking is marked with a fish sign next to the N1. Carefully make your way back to the tunnel entrance to find the path or take a stroll down to the Smalblaar River and walk up the Elandspad valley from the river junction. Follow this path to a cave (about 40 minutes’ walk or more) where the beat starts. Soon after this the kloof narrows and anglers are forced to wade through large sections of river.
When an impassable pool in the middle of the beat is reached, follow a footpath over the high ridge on the right-hand side of the pool (facing upstream) to carry on fishing the rest of the beat. A small tributary, the Kraalstroom, joins the Elandspad from the left (facing upstream) close to the end of the beat. There are several nice pools in the vicinity of the junction that should be approached carefully, since large trout take up refuge in the shaded gorge and fresh inflow of cold Kraalstroom water.
The first few pools of the Kraalstroom itself is also worth a cast before moving on towards the end of the beat below a small waterfall, about 350 metres beyond the Kraalstroom junction. This beat is idyllic for casting dry flies to sighted fish. Flies that work well are Ed’s Hopper, Elk Hair Caddis, Wolf Spiders and the Parachute Adams. Small Pheasant Tail Nymphs( #16-18) tied with brass beads or weightless and emerger patterns will do for fish feeding below the surface. The hike back is slow and long and enough daylight (anything from an hour to two hours) should be spared to reach the car park safely.
Elandspad Beat Three
Follow the same route as for Beat Four and access the start of Beat Three down a small, less-defined path that runs down a steep mountainside. This path is found after the catwalk (passed via a wooden ladder) and a steep section of wooden steps that lead to a high contour (about 30 minutes of walking). When you reach the river, start fishing the shallow pockets that lead to a long shallow pool. Several large pools may disrupt your fishing on this beat, especially when water levels are high. Pass them on the left (facing upstream) and continue upstream until you reach the Cave Pool of Beat Four. The hike back along the footpath may take more than 40 minutes, especially after a long day on the water, so take this into account when visiting this beat.
Elandspad Beat Two
Cross the catwalk via a wooden ladder high on the left bank of the river (facing upstream) and make your way down a steep drop in the path before turning right onto a smaller footpath leading to the river. Beat Two starts above a long pool that is the end of Beat One. From here you will find some of the best water on the entire river, which is made up of shallow runs and deep slots between biggish pools. The runs offer challenging drifts over skittish trout that can be frustratingly selective. Small dries (#16-18), including natural mayfly patterns, parachute micro caddis and the Parachute Adams and nymphs, including Pheasant Tail Nymphs, Zaks, CDC nymphs and hotspots, will yield the best results.
But fish delicately. Due to the wary nature of fish on this stretch (and most of the lower Elandspad for that matter) the best approach is to fish slowly and to cover the water well. After all, the beat is not long and can be covered comfortably in a day. If you get to the end of the beat in a couple of hours, you have fished too fast. The beat ends where the gorge narrows down steeply and the marker of Beat Three can be seen on the right-hand side of the river. Find the footpath that runs up the mountainside on the left of the river (facing upstream) to join the main hiking trail leading back to the N1.
Elandspad Beat One
The first beat of the Elandspad starts above the junction pool where the river joins the Smalblaar. Access the junction by walking down the footpath leading from the car park over the low-water bridge crossing the Smalblaar and follow the Smalblaar upstream to where it forks. The river entering the Smalblaar from the left (facing upstream) is the Elandspad. Fish the large pockets and shallow runs up to the high weir (second weir), then find the path on the left-hand side of the river (facing upstream) and commence fishing immediately above the weir until a very large pool is reached, with a marker indicating the start of Beat Two. The catwalk ladder can also be observed on the steep left bank of the river (facing upstream). This is the exit point for Beat One.
Elandspad Fly Fishing, Parking
Elandspad Fly Fishing, Start Beat 1
Elandspad Fly Fishing, Turn-off to Beat 2
Elandspad Fly Fishing, Start Beat 2
Elandspad Fly Fishing, Turn-off to Beat 3
Elandspad Fly Fishing, Start Beat 3
Elandspad Fly Fishing, Start Beat 4
Elandspad Fly Fishing, End Beat 4
As the name suggests, the Cape Winelands is an area of vines and vineyards; the berries of which are responsible for that most delicious fermented juice of the grape: wine. The region is well known for its proliferation of estates and cellars that continually create quality wines throughout the cultivar spectrum.
This is an area that encourages leisurely meanders along its various wine routes, absorbing the natural beauty of the rural surroundings.
The region stretches northwards from the eastern outskirts of Cape Town. In the south the popular and trendy towns of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek nestle in the shadow of the mountains that make up the Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve. To the west the popular tourist ‘Route 62’ follows the Breede River Valley. It takes in the town of Robertson, the quaint village of McGregor and continues to Worcester.
North, across the N1 highway, the historic towns of Paarl, Wellington and Tulbagh are strung out between a series of mountains. In the far north-east, the town of Ceres is a dot in a sweeping valley of fruit orchards.
Craggy mountains are a feature of the landscape, giving rise to the region also being called the Boland (High Land). The mountains include the ranges of the Groot Drakenstein, Langeberg, Hexrivier and Witzenberg. Their steep rocky peaks plunge to gentler gradients rich in fynbos and proteas, before levelling out in fertile valleys threaded with chortling streams.
In these low-lying areas, suspended between the slopes, vineyards stretch in patchwork patterns. Like an artist’s palette the area changes with the seasons - from subtle spring pastels, through lush summer greens, to the earthy shades of autumn.
Not only are the Cape Winelands a delight for connoisseurs of fine wines; the towns themselves are centres for a host of enjoyable pastimes. Many are steeped in history and have magnificent collections of traditional Cape Dutch and period architecture.
These are best viewed during a stroll along the leafy streets. The historic Church Street in Tulbagh has the largest concentration of provincial monuments in one street in South Africa. The university town of Stellenbosch, with its oak-lined boulevards, is the second-oldest town in the country, dating back to 1671. Today it is an important cultural centre with a host of galleries and museums, and the country’s oldest music school.
Franschhoek, reclining in a somnolent valley ambience, entices gourmets to sample its fare at some of South Africa’s top restaurants. McGregor is well known for its life-enriching tranquillity and Ceres for its fruit production and snow-covered mountains in winter. Besides their wineries, Robertson and Worcester are known for the production of some of South Africa’s best known brandies – Klipdrift and KWV, respectively.
The winelands is great country in which to enjoy a leisurely trip along minor roads that fade into the fynbos. They will take you into valleys and gorges, past barns stacked with bales of lucerne, and paddocks with grazing sheep and lazing cows. Around farmsteads and cottages, chickens strut their stuff and pigs wallow in slushy heaven. Dams mirror the sky and hillsides, their reflections rippled by drifting and preening waterbirds. Tractors till the land, and labourers and farmers wave to every passer-by.
For centuries the terroir here has been ideally suited to the production of great wine and today, more than ever before, it is also conducive to the making of good times and fond memories. The Cape Winelands is a region to relax in, whilst inhaling the warm, scented air and indulging in the finer things in life.
Look out for
Wine tasting – naturally this is a popular and pleasant pastime in the region. The Stellenbosch wine route, established in 1971, is the oldest in South Africa. Today other routes lead to the cellars and estates around virtually every town in the region. Many of the wineries offer tasting and sales from Monday to Saturday. Maps are available from the tourism office in each town.
Brandy tasting – this much-loved spirit is produced by a good number of cellars and specialist distillers throughout the region. There are 2 brandy routes in the region. The Western Cape Brandy Route winds through Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl and Wellington. The R62 Brandy Route goes through Robertson and Worcester. Many of these offer tasting, tours and sales from Monday to Friday.
Historical towns – the Cape Winelands is rich in history, with most towns and many of the wine estates having their own collections of historical buildings, museums and monuments. The region is synonymous with Cape Dutch and Victorian architecture. Highlights include Church Street in Tulbagh and the De Oude Drostdy Museum just outside the town. There are Zeederberg Square and the Paarl Museum in Paarl, and Klein Plasie open air Museum in Worcester. Twenty declared National Monuments are in Wellington and there is the Huguenot Memorial and Museum in Franschhoek.
Scenic drives – where there are mountains and valleys there are always scenic roads and passes to explore; here is no exception.
River rafting – the Breede River is the sixth largest river in South Africa and is a playground of fun and adventure.
Adrenalin - for lovers of the adrenalin rush, Ceres Zipslide Adventures offers 8 slides totalling 1.4km amongst the rock formations of the Skurweberg mountains near Ceres.
Art galleries – the towns are home to a host of artists and galleries. The Stellenbosch Gallery and Rupert Gallery in Stellenbosch are popular and showcase art through many mediums and genres.
Wildlife on display – the area has a number of parks that allow one to get close to a variety of wild creatures in captivity. Some of the better known ones include the Drankenstein Lion Park, Butterfly World, Paarl Bird Sanctuary and the Le Bonheur Crocodile Farm - all situated between Paarl and Stellenbosch.