Delightful Dullstroom: On the trek from Gauteng to the Lowveld, at least in the direction of Hoedspruit, Dullstroom is a convenient halfway stopping point. Most who travel this route aim straight for Harrie’s Pancakes to refuel before hitting the road once more, and rightfully so, but those who stop a little longer will find that Dullstroom has much more to offer than South Africa’s most delicious pancakes.
For those who haven’t had the pleasure of indulging in a sweet or savoury delight from this famous little restaurant at the heart of Dullstroom, there’s a reason there’s often a queue at the door. Harrie’s pancakes are light and fluffy and stuffed with generous helpings of everything from bobotie or chicken livers to milk tart custard or the timeless favourite: caramel, banana and ice-cream. It’s worth sticking around for a while just to try another one.
Just before you enter Dullstroom from Belfast’s side, you’ll notice the Dullstroom Birds of Prey and Rehabilitation Centre on the right. Run by Mark Holder with help from international volunteers, this rehabilitation centre not only takes in all manner of injured birds from surrounding areas but also puts on a show you won’t forget in a hurry with some of the occupants who aren’t fit to go back to the wild. With the special talents of Colin the comical crow, Landy the leaky spotted eagle-owl, and Sam the Verreaux’s eagle, amongst others, the raptor show is both educational and entertaining and only R50 per person.
Wild about whisky
A fantasyland for anyone who really is wild about whisky, and for anyone who isn’t, it’s worth visiting just for the wow factor. Over 1000 different whiskies from 15 different countries line the walls of Dave Gunn’s little shop on the edge of town. And if you haven’t had too many pancakes by the time you get there, the whisky and Belgian chocolate pairing is a real treat.
The Clock Shop
It’s pointless going into the Clock Shop to get the time – with over 4000 clocks on display, every hour would be deafening if they were all set right! Not many people can say theyv’e been overwhelmed by clocks, but here there’s a timepiece for every taste and style; from authentic floor-standing, German grandfathers with swinging pendulums and intricate Japanese glass and steel pieces that spin apart and back together every hour, to happy Hello Kitty clocks and gimmicky themed clocks for golfers or wine-lovers.
The most impressive photographic opportunity is at the Birds of Prey Centre. During the shows, raptors fly up and down right in front of the onlookers, giving photographers with anything from a 300 mm telephoto lens upwards a great chance to get photos of the birds in flight. Because they fly from perches to the handlers and back, you have a great idea of exactly where they are going to fly, increasing your chances of getting the shots. Make sure you ask permission before you take up position away from the seating area.
If I want to go:
Approximately 230 km east of Pretoria, 36 km north of Belfast.
When? Dullstroom is lovely all year round, but can become very cold in winter (May – July)
Why we like it: Take a little Scottish Highlands chill and a big dollop of South African charm and you’ve got Dullstroom. It’s just the right size for a weekend of eating out, drinking up, reeling in (if you’re that way inclined) and quiet exploration.
There’s no shortage of places to stay in Dullstroom, but here are a couple of our favourites:
Cherry Grove: Mediterranean style self-catering accommodation on the edge of town overlooking a cobbled courtyard surrounded by galleries, craft shops, and quaint cafes.
Tel: 013 254 0421
Fox Hill guest house: Romantic cottages (B&B optional) nicely situated in the centre of town.
Tel: 013 254 0155
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