The historic Mpumalanga town of Dullstroom is usually restful with the quiet sounds of the countryside, occasionally punctuated by fly-fishermen casting out onto gentle rivers and dams. Yet, over the weekend of 4-6 July, Dullstroom town will come alive with the excitement of the sights, sounds and smells of the Winter Festival.
Held annually, this much anticipated weekend is packed with family activities, and considered one of the must-attend social events on the region’s calendar. Partnered with Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky, the country’s first single-grain whisky, which was voted the World’s Best Grain Whisky at the 2013 World Whisky Awards, The Winter Festival bursts at the seams with visitors enjoying the revelries.
Naturally, being the site of some of the country’s best fly-fishing hotspots, the tagged trout event is a huge draw-card and is extremely well attended. Competition is fierce to catch “The Big One” and walk away with fun prizes and boasting rights for the rest of the festival. The dry northern winters mean conditions are usually perfect for the golf day, as well as the mountain bike race and trail run through country roads and rolling hills for outdoor enthusiasts.
For those who prefer to stay away from the frosty open-air activities, the whisky tasting is always guaranteed to warm you from the inside, as will the wine and artisan beer tastings. Delicious cheese and chocolate tastings held at various venues around the quaint town, offer decadent pauses between perusing the unique shops, boutiques and art exhibitions, but beware – it is difficult to tear yourself away from them!
Energy-filled younger family members are extremely well catered for, and there is plenty to keep little minds and bodies busy with designated children zones at each of the main events, so everyone can relax and immerse themselves in fun family atmosphere, not matter what the activity.
Historically known as a ‘Christmas in July’ festival, this tradition is continued through the many restaurants that offer special themed menus and events throughout the weekend.
The soundtrack to the Dullstroom Winter Festival is live music from South Africa’s top performing Roots, Blues and Folk musicians, who play at various venues and events throughout the town.