Come Fly with me . . .

Written by Richard Shaw in the Cathay Pacific online magazine of Sept 2012

South africa: Rhodes and Barkly East

The southern edge of the Drakensberg, South Africa’s highest mountain range, is home to the delightful areas of Rhodes and Barkly East and the Holy Grail for the nation’s fly-fishing fans. About 670km south of Johannesburg, the region is blessed with beautiful escarpments, rich alpine meadows, and a plethora of crystal-clear streams. Fred Steynberg has been a fly-fishing guide in the region for more than 20 years and says more than 700km of pristine rivers and streams here give anglers plenty of choice. Wild rainbow and brown trout up to 5kg are the popular quarry here during autumn (March to May) and spring (September to November). The warmer months (October to March) see the exciting native yellowfish bite, feeding on myriad insects and aquatic life. Steynberg rates the Bell and Kraai Rivers and their tributaries among his favourite fishing spots here. “This area yields good size trout and yellowfish and is one of the most spectacular areas in South Africa,” he says. “It’s sparsely populated here and fly rodders often won’t encounter another fly fisherman on-stream for days.”