Travelling down the Cape’s west coast, thatched cottages and Christian mission stations soon give way to sandveld, whitewashed fishing villages, beaches, lagoons and bird colonies. All sure signs that South Africa is fading into its outback – the Cederberg. A rugged wilderness burnt orange by iron oxide that brims with wildlife, it’s a short drive from Bushman’s Kloof, a luxury retreat in the foothills of the Cederberg Mountains, where countless fishing spots pock the land. Here, we’ve compiled some of the best, from crystal clear mountain streams to saltwater sites.
Beautiful and bountiful, ocean-side Cederberg benefits from the nutrient-rich Benguela ocean current, which sustains plenty of sea life alongside thousands of birds. The best spots are usually given away by clusters of fishing villages and towns; places like Lambert’s Bay, Paternoster, Saldanha and Langebaan. And most of them are to be found trying their luck on the likes of snoek, kabeljou, elf and yellowtail – as well as sharks and rays if they’ve got a knack for it. But fish aside, this slice of coastline possesses spectacular dunes (carpeted by an array of wildflowers in spring) and dramatic rocky promontories.
The 13-mile long ClanWilliam Dam is famous for its bass fishing opportunities. With smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, carp and bluegill too, fishermen and women love its diverse terrain. This is a patch, after all, that includes boulders, drop-offs, gravel beds and reed bed – places that promise to keep everybody on their toes with different styles, routines and species.
At one stage Bushman’s Kloof benefited from the Olifants River system of the Cederberg mountains. However, since the introduction of smallmouth and largemouth bass from the United States (in order to boost sport fishing in the area) indigenous species (such as the ClanWilliam Yellowfish) have suffered tremendously. Therefore, while these fish are re-introduced, fishermen and women are asked to adhere to the catch-and-release policy of the area (which involves the removal of foreign species).
Three miles long and shimmering seductively at the bottom of the Cederberg, the Bulshoek dam is brilliant for fishing. In fact, visitors can just about fish from their front step. Read the water for ripples and visitors will soon spot largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, kurper, carp and yellowfish.
A nature-lover’s paradise, at Cedar Kloof fishermen and women have a choice of bass or yellow tail. And if there’s a preference for other species, angle a little nearer the farm dams. Lingering there are the “Rooivlerkie”, the ClanWilliam Sand Fish, and the Barnard’s “Klipbaber” – species rarely found anywhere else on earth.
If the thought of that perfect catch has you reaching for your line and reel, why not book a few nights at Bushman’s Kloof, a multi-award winning lodge in the Cederberg.