Province & Region
Rhodes Village is in the magisterial district of Barkly East, and lies deep in the mountains of the Eastern Cape Highlands, close to the Lesotho border. It is best know for its fly fishing, but that just scratches the surface.
The village itself harks back to a uncomplicated era - some kids still ride to school on horseback - and the tranquility of the vilage is enough reason so spend a week here to recharge your batteries.
The village was established in 1891 and has been declared a National Monument and Conservation Area. Its Victorian charm has been preserved for over a century in its remote and picturesque setting. Rhodes and the surrounding highlands burgeon into a velvety green with the summer rains.
Its crystal clear and pure streams are a fly-fisherman’s dream, famous for their wild trout.
Splendid mountains form a breathtaking backdrop to the village’s timeless beauty, making this a special retreat for stress-frayed souls and adventure-lovers alike.
Rhodes also has wonderful opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, and horse riding, and has a wealth of Bushman paintings. Accommodation includes cosy resort lodging with necessary heating and warm fires, as well as camping and self-catering options.
Look out for
There is no shortage of running water in and around Rhodes. Fly-fishing for wild rainbow trout and indigenous smallmouth yellowfish can be arranged through the Wild Trout Association, which has a comprehensive website about fly-fishing in the Eastern Cape Highlands.
Wild Mountain Adventures operate slackpacking trails from the Wartrail District into Rhodes Village. The country roads in the area lean themselves perfectly to mountain biking.
Birdwatching: 236 species of birds, including bearded vulture, orange-breasted rockjumper and ground woodpecker.
The mountain passes of the area offer incredible views, and are all worth exploring if your vehicle is capable.
Articles & Blogs
Image of the weekTom Sutcliffe 6:05pm 24 Sep
This week, seeing as most of you are off on holiday and having too much fun to be reading blogs, I've decided to share Tom's Image of the Week. Do remember to click through to his site and subscribe to his fantastic weekly newsletter if you are an interested flyfisher... after all, the only thing that remotely compares to being out fishing is reading about fishing! ( - Erik)
Here are the photo details: Fishing a lake in the Eastern Cape Highlands at sunrise. Canon EOS 5D, ISO 400, f/11 at 1/500th, Canon 24-105 mm lens at 105 mm, hand held.
Deep In Wild Trout CountryValda 5:55am 13 Sep
Words and Pics by Peter Brigg
Tucked away in the folds of the most southerly region of the Drakensberg mountains, in the valley of the Bell River, the picturesque Victorian-era village of Rhodes was granted National Monument status in 1997. Now preserved for posterity, it is quiet and beautiful, and its characterful streetscapes and period architecture exude a timeless feel and ambience.
There are some 25 permanent residents in Rhodes, the rest of the...
The 8 passes of the Eastern Cape Highlandsshane 10:11am 8 May
The Drakensberg is one of those revered places in South Africa where real adventurers go to get their boots dirty, and are rewarded by scenery and natural splendour of legendary beauty. However, not every holiday can include a 5-day hike with a 1,500m climb, and for that reason the Eastern Cape Highlands merits a closer look. Here, from the comfort of your vehicle, you can enjoy mountain vistas that are often only accessible after a day’s hard walking on the KwaZulu Natal side. But with a sparse population and challenging topography, the road infrastructure can be hard...
Arriving at GatesheadErik Brits 10:32pm 8 Apr
It had been a long day's fishing, and despite being advised not to, we began the trek up the Bokspruit valley well after sunset. In the foothills there is an ever-present sense of remoteness, but trundling along the rough dirt road with not a single farm light or sign of life in sight, driving past dilapidated buildings with their window panes broken, we felt like we were on the furthest edge of civilisation... and it felt wonderful. The driver proceeded to look for an unlocked door into the cottage, and, as is the passenger's duty, I walked to the rear of the vehicle to begin the...
On top of the worldErik Brits 2:00pm 7 Apr
Those of you who've followed the blog this week will know that we had some good sport at the recently re-opened Tiffindell resort. Now, this being the highest resort in South Africa, you obviously have to get Up There... and what goes up must come down! I'll stop the philosophical rambling and get to the point. There are two passes that lead up to Tiffindell; one from Rhodes village and the other from the Wartrail valley. From Rhodes, you take the Carlisleshoek Pass up to Tiffindell, and can then go down to Wartrail via the Volunteershoek Pass (or vice versa, of course). Both passes offer...
Malpas beatErik Brits 10:24am 7 Apr
We have a family tradition that when we are in the Rhodes area, the Bell is running low. Despite this being correlation and not causation, our strike rate is still 100%. However, as most fishermen tend to be, we are a stubborn bunch, and insist on giving it a bash nonetheless. Usually, we have good sport with the finger fry, and this year was no different. Trout so small that it is feasible to retrieve the fish entirely through the air, thereby not disturbing the run for further fishing... not that these fingerlings are easily disturbed. In such thin...
Strange TroutTom Sutcliffe 8:36am 4 Apr
I chanced to spot this 10 inch trout from a bridge over the Bokspruit the other day. The current was flowing towards me and the fish was sitting on a shallow sandbar facing downstream, in other words looking straight at me! Don't worry trying to spot it. From this picture that's all but impossible, save to say he is in shallow water on the extreme right of the run.
At times he would move a meter or more right or left to intercept drifting nymphs. I was mildly amazed at how far he would travel to fetch food and how fast he was doing it....
Of men and monstersNightjar Travel 9:53pm 2 Apr
Those of you who like winter sports will probably have heard of Tiffindell, "South Africa's highest resort". During the winter months, lying at around 2750m, Tiffindell provides an excellent setup for learning to ski, and even a bit of entertainment for the more experienced skiers. During the summer, the challenging road lures bikers of the motorised and non variety, and the peaks are a hiker's playground. However, Tiffindell has a deep, dark secret... the fishy waters of Loch Ness. This Loch is a wee bit smaller than the famous lake in Scotland, but our...
RhodesTom Sutcliffe 11:30am 19 Jan
Rhodes is the epicentre of fine fly fishing in this country and the conduit for the aggregation of some of South Africa‘s finest anglers. It came as no surprise to hear from the laird of the town, Dave Walker, that the Wild Trout Festival held every year in this picturesque setting is already oversubscribed. Is this not our country’s most successful and prestigious fly fishing event?
- Tom Sutcliffe
Beautiful DancersNightjar Travel 3:40pm 12 Nov
Aren't these guys just the most beautiful dancers..? Although our Facebook commenters note that they pack quite the bite!
Grey Crowned Cranes at the top of Naude's Neck; Eastern Cape.
Image from the Nightjar Gallery