It is almost 3 months ago that I was in Wild Trout Country for the annual Rhodes Trout Festival and I’m already feeling that urge to return. Looking through my images today, I was transported back to the many pilgrimages I have made to the North Eastern Cape.
It is said a picture says a thousand words. I have put together a small selection of pictures from my recent visit together with some of my favourites from earlier trips. These pictures reflect my love of this part of our country.
But firstly. This years road trip, with Ian Cox, Jan Korrubel and Miles Divett for the annual Trout Festival, took just about 8 hours despite making use of a few dirt road shortcuts. We stopped only twice, once for a beer and Miles Divett’s gourmet cheese and salami sandwiches at our traditional spot for a break along the Pitseng road on the banks of the Luzi River and then at the top of Naudes Nek Pass for a drink to celebrate our arrival in wild trout country.
It’s here from our vantage point at 2590 m above sea level overlooking the vast expanse of the Bell River valley where my heart begins to beat a little faster as excitement mounts and the expectations grow for four days fishing in some of the finest trout waters South Africa has to offer – Each time I visit Rhodes something stirs inside me. It’s hard to put my finger on the reason, but I do know that it is more than the infectious charms of miles and miles of sparking waters and the trout that live in them. Maybe it is reuniting with the part of my soul I left on previous visits, or then maybe it’s the remoteness, the beauty and the ambiance the place exudes.
The dictionary says “ambiance” means it’s the character and atmosphere of a place, the aura, mood, feel, quality, complexion, impression, flavour, spirit; setting, backdrop, environment, conditions, circumstances, situation, context; vicinity, locality, habitat and someone suggested, unpretentious ….. that’s about it as far as words can convey the feelings I have. You really need to go there to understand.
This years Dirt Road Traders sponsored festival was a resounding success, the hospitality, friendship, fun, stories and laughter. Dave Walker and his staff at Walkerbouts ensured all were well fed, organised and entertained. The bar at the Centre of the Universe was a focal point, a hive of activity, a place where friendships were renewed and new ones formed, stories were related and where the length of personal bests tend to grow by an inch with every passing hour.
The fishing conditions were as close to perfect as we could ask for. The weather Gods were kind to us with rain before our visit and then four days of clear, sunny skies. The rivers and streams flowed quick, cool and clear with many hungry trout. Things have turned around in the North Eastern Cape after the devastating drought of 2 to 3 years ago – the countryside is looking better than I have seen in years, the streams are in prime condition and the trout population is back to normal. It bodes well for coming seasons.
Every time I leave Rhodes I leave behind a little of my soul and thoughts turn to the next opportunity to visit the area.
All images and copy in this post are copyright Peter Brigg Photography © 2019. All rights reserved