The native Zulus call the massive mountain range uKhahlamba, or the “Barrier of Spears”.  When seen from the Cathedral Peak Hotel in KwaZululand it is an easy image to formulate.  The 600-mile-long spine cuts across the throat of South Africa, but nowhere as dramatically as at Cathedral Peak Hotel. 




The Drakensburgs Moutains are laced
with clear running trout streams.

The pioneer Afrikaaner Voortrekkers gave the mountains the name Drakensburgs, or Dragon Mountains, because of the frequent lightning storms that often set the highveld grasslands on fire.  I experienced a five hour nighttime pyrotechnical show while staying at the hotel.  

In the 1830s the Voortrekkers slung their huge wagons over the edge of the plateau to get to the rolling grasslands below that were filled with eland, waterbuck, impala, and other antelope and game.

The trout in the Cathedral Peak Hotel trout farm are not endemic to the region, and if you don’t catch any, no worries, they are on the menu nightly at the hotel restaurant. If you do catch a lunker, Jorgen, the hotel chef, will filet it before your eyes and serve it to your table, and of course the staff can pair some wine from their expansive stock.




Cathedral Peak Hotel trout ponds.

Winter is the best time to catch the brown trout in the ponds, during the spawning season.  You don’t need a license to fish, just a daily permit that runs about $230 Rand or about $35 US that includes a fly pole and reel and a plastic bag of about five flies. Live bait is not allowed for any type of trout fishing in South Africa, but the lizards crawling around the trout pond shacks look like tempting trout appetizers.  The ponds are screened to keep out the otters and eagles and hawks and Lammergeyer vultures that would make quick work of the fish, especially the otters, which will kill voraciously, never stopping to digest their catch, but kill as if it is a blood sport to them.




The trout farm raceways.

The couple seen in the photo above caught one small trout. None get very big in the high altitude alpine atmosphere; the biggest is about three pounds. The best time to fish is in the morning using artificial egg batten, or as we call them in Wyoming, phony trout eggs.  Allow the batten to settle to the bottom of the pond and then raise the hook slowly.  Trout will eat the eggs thinking they are destroying a competitor’s future hatch.

There is also bass fishing in some higher lakes in the area, but they are quite small due to the over populated conditions.  If you fish the nearby Nmhlambonia River running past the Cathedral Peak Hotel you need a special license from a government authority that usually takes longer than your stay at the hotel.  The hotel is the only accommodations in the area, except for family chalets just down the road from the hotel’s dead end.  The hotel has been around as long as the trout farm, since the 1930s, and it is still owned by the same van der Riet family. 

If you hanker for Tiger fishing, the best place is on Jozini Lake backed up by the Pongola Gorge Dam on the Pongola River, near Mzkuse town.  The lake is the farthest south region for Tiger fish. They bite best in the hot summer, but I saw a ranger at the White Elephant Safari Lodge with a 4 kg Tiger Fish, and it was winter, and he caught it in the rain.  Always fish from a boat, Nile crocs are thrashing around in the lake and river.  The only accommodations in the area are the White Elephant Safari Lodge on the northern end of the 30 kilometer lake, and the Ghost Mountain Inn on the south end.  Keep your camera handy for sightings of hippos, crocs, and two large elephant herds, and the occasional rhino. Read the Jetsetters Magazine feature about The Cathedral Peak Hotel.

African Travel Inc. can plan any type of fishing expedition to select countries in Africa.  Their web address is www.africantravelinc.com or contact your professional travel agent that works closely with African Travel Inc.




The Executive/Honeymoon Suites at The Cathedral Peak Hotel.


Tangle Free Spinning Reels from WaveSpin


Hey Dad! Here’s that reeeeelly great tangle-free reel you wanted. Happy Father’s Day, now let’s go fishing!

WaveSpin, the reels with the tangle-free guarantee, now has eight models; two below $50

Okay, how many of you Dads (and Moms) out there get tangled-up every time you go fishing?  Come on, you can admit it; it’s happened to all of us. How many times have you been knitting your tangled fishing line when you should be casting and fishing it?

And isn’t it a real drag when your reel’s drag lets you down?

Plus in this recession you’ve put off buying that new reel that you reeeelllly need, right?

Well, WaveSpin has grown to a family of eight guaranteed tangle-free reel models the “Bass Professor” Doug Hannon invented launching longer tangle- and bird nest-free casts. They come in a variety of affordable price ranges all backed by tough multi-disc drags with more tension and smoother operation in fighting bigger game fish.

Five years ago Hannon introduced WaveSpin’s “radical” wave spool design, the antithesis of the spinning reel’s smooth face design everyone else builds. Since then WaveSpin’s popularity has spread with thousands upon thousands of “tangle-free” anglers making longer, effortless casts. They’ve received impressive awards and accolades from mainstream fishing media and fishing technicians alike plus they’re used extensively at Walt Disney World's Guided Fishing Excursions.




The Zero Tangle Reel.

There are four new models for 2011, two under $50.  Rare are quality reels under $50 but WaveSpin now has two in the most popular sizes in its 2011 model line. The new ZTR (Zero Tangle Reel) 1500 (8 oz priced at $45.95) and 3000 (10 oz at $49.95) models are built off the same award-winning engineered design utilizing the same high quality spool and drag system as WaveSpin’s more expensive models. Both new ZTR reels feature four stainless ball bearings, convertible left or right hand-retrieve folding soft grip paddle handles and come with a one-year 100% warranty.




The DH3000z.

WaveSpin has also introduced lighter weight versions of the original DH models in the all new DH3000z (9.5 oz) and DH4000z (11 oz); both great for a wide variety of fish species.  Those four models plus the DHxL sport a bold rich look plus WaveSpin’s unique feel and performance. All five are designed and protected with double shielded/sealed bearings and a new graphite composite body for added strength.  The lightweight bodies on all eight models (8 to 12.5 oz) have line capacities of 2 -14 lb mono and up to 60 lb braid. Internally each has a tough 10 to 14 disc front drag with Hannon’s secret lifetime lubricant for drag performance that exceeds that of reels costing $800 or more. “All WaveSpin reels have a simple, straightforward guaranteed promise,” says WaveSpin’s Russ Riley. “If an angler has problems with any form of tangling they can make a quick call to our warranty department. We’ll find out what’s causing the problem and after two contacts with the warranty department if they’re not happy we’ll refund the purchase price minus shipping.”

For more go to WaveSpin’s website at www.WaveSpinReel.com

Solartex Sun Gear - Designed in Australia - Now in the USA

Australia is one of the sunniest countries in the world.  With about 80 percent of the population living along a coastline, the ambient light reflecting off sand and water heightens the brightness of the sunlight.  Australia has one of the highest incidents of skin cancer cases in the world. For many years the Australian company Solartex Sun Gear has been addressing, or I should say dressing, the Australian sun problem with fashionable clothing that maximizes the SPF/UPF sun protections with 50+ outer-wear.




Canberra Wallaroo Hats.

Now Solartex Sun Gear is available in the United States with its colorfully designed rash shirts, swimsuits and hats with sizes from 0 to 8xl. Everyone from an infant to plus sizes get full protection with its private label products, and at reasonable prices. Their clothing is better than sunscreen and their lines are so stylish they have been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

The product lines include Cwear, Sun Emporium, Stingray, Sunbusters, My Pool Pal, and Iplay. Their Stingray products have the endorsement of the Skin & Cancer Foundation of Australia and their Sunbusters products have the seal of the U.S. Skin Cancer Foundation.

Sun protection is important because long-term exposure to the sun's UVA and UVB rays can lead to skin damage, skin cancer, and even melanoma, one of the deadliest forms of cancer. While sun protective clothing is relatively new to the U.S., it has prospered in Australia where manufacturers design items for Australia's blistering summers. This unique apparel complies with Australian/NZ and U.S standards and features a tightly woven, lightweight, chlorine-resistant fabric that is cool, comfortable, and chemical-free. The material is similar to that worn by long-distance bike riders and other athletes, except that it provides maximum sun protection.




Stingray Woven Long Sleeve Polo Shirts.

The American Cancer Society advises that "about 80% of skin cancers could be prevented by protecting [our] skin from the sun's rays." People in the U.S. now rely almost exclusively on sunscreen to protect their own and their children's skin. However, the American Academy of Dermatology recently stated that "sunscreen alone does not protect you from skin cancer." An alternative to sunscreen alone is sun protective clothing which offers one of the most effective and convenient methods of protecting the skin from exposure to sun rays. Many doctors, scientists, and health organizations, including the American Cancer Society, the American Academy of Dermatology, and The Skin Cancer Foundation, agree that wearing tightly woven protective clothing is one of the best ways to shield the skin from damaging UV rays.

So of course I was thrilled to wear my soft new Wallaroo while fly-fishing my favorite trout stream. My Wallaroo hat not only sounded adventurous, but it was practical as well because it has a broad brim to protect the neck and ears,  and it is crushable for easy packing but snaps back into form instantly.  The chic straw-colored hat is easily washable in mild detergent.  The Velcro adjustment band allows a one size fits all.  I now wear the hat to fashionable summer events and festivals, but it is always with me when fishing.  For more information on the Wallaroo Hat visit www.wallaroohats.com or call 888-925-2766.




Woven Full Zip Stingray
Long Sleeve Jackets.




Zippered Stingray Rash Guard Shirt.

The Stingray line of apparel from Solartex is chlorine resistant which has many fabric advantages.  Chorine normally kills the life of a garment, but with Stingray the fabric stays stretchable and the colors don’t fade, and they are so soft because of the high technology weave. 

Most people view rash guards as a product only for surfers, but I use them also in winter climes as an undergarment when skiing because of the warmth without sweating qualities. And they are so flexible for twists and turns for the skier or surfer.  

I enjoy my Stingray Woven Long Sleeve Polo and with its sky blue color I am not noticed as well by the fish when casting on a stream bank.

The problem with most rash guard shirts is that they cling too tightly to the skin, but my Zippered Stingray Rash Guard Shirt has a loose fit that makes it extremely comfortable.

During the light summer rain and thunderstorms in my part of the country the sun often ducks in and out of the clouds, but with my new, Woven Full Zip Stingray Long Sleeve Jacket I can fish in the wind and the rain and the sun and I am just like Goldilocks, never too hot or never too cold, but I am just right.

Solartex offers many other products including UV swim shirts, shorts, tights, swim sets, arm covers full coverage swimsuits, and other sun cap and hat styles, and chemical-free zinc oxide sunscreens, all providing the maximum in broad spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays.

Solartex Sun Gear, Inc.: info@solartex.com or call (877) 476-5789, or visit www.solartex.com



— Gear review and Zululand photos by Kriss Hammond, Editor, Jetsetters Magazine.