The tiny hamlet of Rhodes lies in a remote northern corner of the Eastern Cape Highlands, in the Bell River valley among the foothills of the Southern Drakensberg. The village is perhaps best known as South Africa’s premier flyfishing destination, but there is much more to interest the visitor.
Words and Pictures: Peter Brigg
The area is rich in the history of its settlement for agriculture in the late 1800s, and the development of the village. Apart from quality flyfishing in more than 700km of local rivers and streams, the visitor can enjoy the area’s natural beauty, birdlife, wild flowers, hiking, trail running and horse riding. It’s also a place to relax away from the city and soak up the tranquillity as you do something or almost nothing.
7 Things to see and do while out and about in Rhodes Village
- A view of the beautiful Bell River valley approaching Rhodes in the far distance from Barkly East, from about 50km to the east. The village is amongst the trees in the far distance.
- The main street in Rhodes on an autumn morning. It is a good time of the year to visit the area with the weather more settled, before the harsh winter, and with the trees in their colourful autumn shades of yellows and reds.
- A typical Victorian cottage lines the streets of the village, which has been protected as a Conservation Area since 1997. Visitors are encouraged to walk around the village and soak up the ambience as they enjoy the feeling of stepping back in time.
- A lone flyfisher on a section of the Bokspruit Stream, just one of many streams in the area that are home to wild rainbow and brown trout as well as the indigenous smallmouth yellowfish.
- A beautiful rainbow trout caught and ready to be released.
- The area is rich in San rock art. To find the many sites where this precious heritage can be viewed, by arrangement with the landowners.
- Morning rush hour. About the only kind of holdup visitors are likely to encounter.
For more information on the area and events organised annually, like the Wild Trout Association Fly Fishing Festival, Stoepsitfees and the Rhodes Marathon, and to find out more of prevailing weather conditions, availability of fuel, food supplies and personal necessities, visit:
I have from an early age had an affinity for the outdoors, places where one can rekindle one’s relationship with the natural world. My passion for fly fishing for wild trout in high altitude mountain streams has allowed me to pursue my other interests of hiking, photography and art. I am a freelance writer and published author of two books titled, Call of the Stream and South African Fishing Flies. In a nutshell, a Backwoodsman and Trout Bum.