The Wild Trout Association (WTA) is based at Walkerbouts Inn Rhodes where beats can be booked and day permits purchased by visiting fly fishers, currently at R150,00/rod/day. Beats are sold on a first-come first-served basis but can also be booked in advance at the risk of inclement weather rendering the beat/s booked unfishable. The bottom-line is that one must be flexible and go where the water is fishable at the time.
Bokspruit / Riflespruit drive
- A morning drive up the Bokspruit or Riflespruit valleys is a feast for the eyes and is +-60km or two hours in duration excluding "Kodak moments".
- From Rhodes, +-8km on the road to Barkly East, the first turnoff to the right is the entrance to this special valley. Continue until reaching the bridge at the Bell River. Cross and continue until reaching the first gate that signifies the end of the public thoroughfare. Rock art sites can also be visited by prior arrangement.
Naudesnek Pass - Mooidraai
- 30km or an hour's drive from Rhodes, Mooidraai is located less than 1km from the top of Naudesnek Pass. On a clear day, the view is spectacular and legend has it that one can see the sea from there on a very clear day.
Rhodes Village Biking Trails: Stitching the Dragon's Tail
The advent of sophisticated and capable on/off road motorcycles has given rise to a new kind of traveller, the "adventure-tourist". Collecting mountain passes is an avid pursuit of these riders. A cursory glance at survey maps reveal that the Drakensberg range starts in the vicinity of the Barkly Pass on the R58 between Barkly East and Elliott. Making these (routes) passes even more attractive routes for the adventure tourer is the fact that only the Barkly and Kraai River Passes are tarred. Another positive for the city dweller is that these roads carry relatively little traffic.
Being located in the southernmost section of the Drakensberg range, Rhodes is central to a number of mountain passes and is 60km from the nearest asphalt surface. Other roads in the area are gravelled of which some are well maintained whilst others are more challenging. The Naudesnek Pass on the R396 between Rhodes and Maclear, at more than 2500m, is the highest altitude pass in South Africa . Some 50 km to the south of Rhodes is the lesser known " Bastervoetpad Pass ", an absolute gem.
Slightly further south one finds the Barkly Pass. Others within easy reach are the Carlisleshoek and Bidstone Passes which access the Tiffindell Ski Resort from the south and western sides. Slightly further to the west is the Lundeansnek Pass on the R393 to the Sterkspruit/Herschell district. The nearest border post into Lesotho at Telle Bridge is accessed along this road. Joubert's Pass, a detour from the R58 at Lady Grey joins the R58 again between Lady Grey and Barkly East shortly before the Kraai River Pass. Other less spectacular passes in the area are the Bottelnek and Espachsberg Passes . The scenery nevertheless makes any of these routes well worth travelling.
4 x 4 Trails of the Eastern Cape Highlands
There are a number of routes in the area that range from a few hours to full day outings on public thoroughfares that have gravel surfaces, the condition of which varies widely. Depending on the route taken, some can include short stretches of tar. The nature of the terrain is such that mountain passes abound, the most famous of which is the Naudesnek Pass , which, at 2500m above sea-level, is the highest in the country. Arguably the most scenic is the Bastervoetpad Pass which emerges onto tar near Ugie. From there, it's not too far to Elliot and the tarred Barkly Pass to Barkly East but en route to Barkly, take the "Bottlenek" turnoff and you'll find yourself in the Sterkspruit valley. Left to Moshesh's Ford and right to Rhodes, a night rest and set for the next days outing, perhaps to Lundeansnek via Tiffindell?
Rock art & Bushman Paintings
Rock art abounds in sandstone valleys of the Highlands and in the Bell River catchment some of the most well known and best preserved in Southern Africa are the images at Martindell in the Maartenshoek valley. The sites can be visited by prior arrangement with a guide as no-one allows unaccompanied visits. Detailed information on the sites can be obtained from a recent publication by David Lewis-Williams and Geoffrey Blundell entitled "Fragile Heritage" published by the Witwatersrand University Press.
Running: Rhodes Trail Race
The oldest of these is the Rhodes Trail Race. This is a 52km event held in the heart of winter which starts and ends in the village but in the course of which reaches an altitude of 2666m above sea-level!. Runners participate by invitation only and the field is limited to 300 entrants due to safety considerations due to the inhospitable terrain through which sections of the route pass. For a runners view of things this year, use the URL below!
MTB: Rhodes Mountain Bike Challenge
Billed as "The Most Extraordinary Mountain Biking Race in Africa ", the Rhodes Mountain Bike Challenge is an 80km grind that is usually completed in less than 4 hours by the front runners since 1974. It follows the road to Naudesnek and then off past the Tenahead Lodge and the Cairntoul Stock Theft Unit Police Station, the Tiffindell Ski Resort and back to Rhodes via the Carlisleshoek Pass. Other than during the race, the route can be partially or completely ridden by enthusiasts but who should consult local folk as to prevailing conditions, particularly concerning the weather. Part of the event is a 40km route. Before you start the route, known as the Rhodes Dragons Tail ride, purchase a R25,00 entry permit for the Glass Nevin Private Nature Reserve at Walkerbouts. This is a good ride, with lots of variety, and a little adventure - from hard-packed gravel, to trackless stone-riddled grass veld, to tractor-trails, to narrow meandering paths, to rocky drop-offs. There are some tricky sections where it will probably be wise to push your bike - unless you have lots of experience - and confidence! If you are alone, take very special care.
Under the watchful eye of old signs, resident potter, Irene Walker offers pottery and ceramic sculpture lesssons at Walkerbouts Inn - Rhodes
The cylindrical Raku kiln shown above in action with covered firing pit in the forground.
Redhot pottery articles being removed from the kiln and placed in the sawdust-lined firing pit
Finshed products with typical Raku "crazing" finish.
Walkerbouts Prairie Oysters
Walkerbouts Prairie oysters (aka lamb frys, lambs testicles, lambs balls) with samp
- One well disposed sheep farmer
- Flock of sheep
- Sharp lamb castrating knife
- Etc, etc
- Large packet of raw "oysters"
- Salt or Kikkoman soy sauce or Mutton cube/s or combination of all
- Black pepper
- Red wine – to be liberally tasted by the cook and used sparingly as an ingredient
- Italian flat leafed parsley