Doornkop Fish & Wildlife Reserve is a private 2,000 hectare conservation area nestled in the rolling foothills of the Drakensberg near Carolina on the Mpumalanga Highveld.
The undulating terrain of the reserve is covered by open grasslands and bushveld, with a wide variety of non-threatening indigenous mammals and more than a hundred kinds of birds to be seen.
Aside from several crystal-clear mountain streams the reserve is watered by the Komati and Swartwaterspruit Rivers, both home to healthy populations of indigenous yellowfish, while ten dams situated near the chalets are stocked with exotic trout, a magnet for fly fishermen. At night, the banks of the dams are alive with various kinds of toads and frogs.
The reserve’s game-viewing roads – a 4×4 vehicle is a definite advantage – stretches to almost every corner of it, while the more energetic visitors relish in the network of horse trails, hiking trails, running trails and cycling trails that traverse the valleys and hills.
This past weekend we had our first taste of this very beautiful destination and we’re quite certain we’ll be returning before too long. We were allocated one of the spacious chalets along the bank of the Swartwaterspruit for our two night stay and from our shady veranda could have spent hours taking in the vast hillside dotted with herds of grazing animals just beyond the stream or the regular visits from feathered friends – could have if there wasn’t so much else to do on the property, even with some very inclement weather from time to time. The resort offers 6, 8 and 10 sleeper chalets, all fully equipped with everything required for a comfortable self-catered stay. At the main building guests can make use of the swimming pools, games room, indoor and outdoor kids play areas, tennis court and little tuck shop and fly shop.
Doornkop is only about 2½ hours easy driving distance from Johannesburg and Pretoria.