One of the perks of living in the CRADLE OF HUMANKIND is that there are so many stunning places to visit that there really is no excuse to be bored or complain about not having enough content . One of these stunning places is Brookwood Estate Trout Farm www.brookwoodtroutfarm.co.za/
Having been there numerous times in spring time and summer, I thought it would be a great idea to visit in the middle of winter to see if it was just as spectacular. And I wasn’t far wrong. My photographer friend, Cindy, had told me that the best photos are taken at sunrise and sunset. With that in mind, I decided that an early morning visit would be the thing to do.
I got to Brookwood at round about 7am, only to be told by Ken, who is one of the owner’s and manager’s, that I was late! Late??? And it was minus 2 degrees! Apparently the mist starts lifting from the dams and river at round about 6.30am in winter and THAT is the best time to get the best photos.
Not to be deterred, I parked my car and went walk about. It really was so cold, but oh so beautiful. Frost had settled on the grass around the dams and icicles had formed on the long grass close to the river. Breathtaking is all I can say. Even at that time of the morning , in these temperatures, there were at least about 20 men, women and kiddies already hard at work trying to lure those fish. Chatting to one of the fishermen, Trevor, who was there with his young son, he told me that in winter, they like to get there at round about 5.30am, as this is the time they have the most bites. Having never tried fly fishing, I had no clue what he was talking about. He assured me that this is the ONLY WAY to relax and de-stress. (mmmmm….sounds like a plan, but will wait for summer)
Brookwood was started some 20 years ago by Stuart Bain, father of the now owners, Ken and David Bain. Sadly, Stuart passed away about 15 years ago. I have fond memories of Stuart digging the dams and building their beautiful home, which was originally a stunning sandstone house in Winterton. Stuart owned the house in Winterton and when he decided to move his family to Kromdraai, AKA – Cradle of Humankind, he brought the house with him. Breaking it down, he transported it, stone by stone and rebuilt the house where it presently stands. When I asked Ken how it all started, he related the following: Apparently Stuart and his neighbor, oom Thuys, had been having a couple of “dops” round oom Thuys’s kitchen table discussing the state of the world and how to make money farming, it was decided that fly fishing was the way to go. Once the bottle of brandy was finished, Stuart went back to his wife and announced that they were going to have a fly fishing farm, and that was that . At the time Stuart did not have the funds to build the dams, BUT he did have an almost new Range Rover 4×4! So he contacted the local dam digger/builder in the area, Divvie Hoffman. It was agreed that Stuart and Divvie would do a barter deal. Stuart’s 4×4 for the 5 dams. And so the dream of Stuart Bain and the story of Brookwood began.
Brookwood has five well stocked dams and at least 1km river frontage on the Blaaubank Spruit River. Three of the dams are only for fly fishermen. Excellent for trout and yellow fish fishing. I have it under good authority that their trout dams hold some of the biggest Rainbow Trout in Gauteng, the biggest trout weighing in at about 4kg. The largest of the five dams has a variety of fish including Bass, Yellows, Carp & Bream. (the largest Carp caught to date weighed in at 18kg…even as a “not-yet-fly-fisher-women”, that is BIG!) And a special dam, just for the children. Here they can fish with anything from spinners to bait (no earth worms allowed).
In this dam they have a multitude of fish ranging from Trout, Bass, Carp, Bream and Barble. As a strict rule, all fish EXCEPT TROUT must be released.
For those not wanting the schlepp of getting up so early in the morning, there is accommodation.Brookwood has 2 fully equipped chalets. With the Swartkops Mountains as their back-drop, each chalet is within 100m of the dams and has beautiful views of the river.
Both are 2 bedroom, two bathroom units with a kitchen and lounge. Each has an open fire places, especially for those chilly winter evenings and mornings. . Linen and towels are provided. There is a tackle shop o the premises to buy firewood and tackle.
A recent addition is the 3 “camper cabins” Each is equipped with 2 bunk beds, mattresses and sheets, table and chairs for 4 people and a fridge and kettle. Minimum stay of two nights for ALL accommodation.
Telephone: +27 (0)11 957 0126
Mobile: +27 (0)82 856 2448 (between 6am and 6pm only)
GPS Coordinates: S25′ 58.605 and E27′ 48.558