Most of us have a weakness for remote places, perhaps a product of the reckless pace of modern life, or maybe a throwback to distant times before the pace of life picked up and hit us all like a loose flying meteorite.
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Vrederus is a place from those gentler-paced times, a working guest farm in remote country filled with the thread and stitch of nature, full of fly fishing in stillwaters wild streams flowing in tall mountains and dramatic landscapes.
This is the kind of trout water you can relax in and just discover in your own good time. The main lake is one of those big but somehow pretty stretches of water, with a willow-lined bank winding into distant shallows. And as with all good lakes, the trout vary in size from ‘decent’ to pretty exceptional, at times ‘double-figure exceptional’. And there’re browns and rainbows, which is also nice, because so often browns are rare. I’ve taken most of my fish off the banks of this lake, but float-tubes make more sense. Or you can fish from an electric-motored boat that Vrederus provides to guests.
The lakes would make a visit to Vrederus worthwhile, but to my mind the nearby rivers make it even more worthwhile. Maybe even exceptional. I have waded more than a few of them around Vrederus, streams like the Swith, the Bradgate, upper Luzie, the Antelope, the Hawerspruit and a few more besides.
These are typically quick-flowing, tumbling, clear and slender dry fly streams and the trout are typical of high-mountain wild rainbows, rakish, plenty big enough and very pretty. Most of these streams don’t see more than a couple of anglers a year. Then there are more than just a light sprinkling of Bushman paintings in rocky overhangs. Raptors float the thermals – Black Eagles, Jackal Buzzards, Cape Vultures, Bearded Lammergeyers. You’ll also maybe come across rare birds, like Mountain and Yellow-Breasted Pipits, Buff-Streaked Chats or the Hottentot Button Quail, and you’ll see stacks of not so rare, but unusual birds, like Rockjumpers, Sentinel Rock Thrushes, and Ground Woodpeckers.
So this is Vrederus. It’s tempting to go on, but you probably have the picture by now. Perhaps I should just add that it’s one of those places where I consider the fly fishing to be as authentic as you get it. Come to think of it, it’s more than fly fishing actually. Fishing here is a whole experience. And if you do go, please do me a favour and fish the Swith Stream on John Jordaan’s farm whatever else you do.