Fishing and birding bliss at Linger Longer near Dullstroom

The Prinsloo family have added five comfortable cottages to their working farm to provide a delightful getaway for city dwellers. Riaan Hattingh paid it a visit, and came away well rested and highly impressed.

Fishing and birding bliss at Linger Longer near Dullstroom
Farmer‘s Weekly was fortunate enough to stay in two of the five cottages on offer.
Photo: Riaan Hattingh
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Only 270km from Johannesburg, and just 13km north of Dullstroom in Mpumalanga, Linger Longer is easy enough to get to, but secluded enough to feel like a real escape. Only the last 6km is on gravel, and this is easily driven in an ordinary sedan.

On arrival, you’ll find you’ve escaped civilisation, but not civilised living: Linger Longer has earned itself four stars from the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa, so you can unwind in comfort and tranquillity.

The property, Palmietfontein, is a fully operational farm with a long history. The Prinsloos have been here since 1941, and a fourth generation is now living on the farm. Andries Prinsloo, father of the current owner, Tom, purchased the land in 1941. Tom took over farming in 1971, followed by his son, Hannes, in 2008.

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The Prinsloos farm Drakensberger and Beefmaster cattle and Merino sheep. About 50ha are planted to weeping lovegrass (Eragrostis curvula) to provide feed for the animals in winter.
Hannes recently expanded into hunting and blesbok, grey rhebok, zebra, red hartebeest, and gemsbok are on offer.

Trout fishing
In 1983, the Verloren Valei Nature Reserve was proclaimed in the area and the Prinsloos lost some land, now part of the nature reserve. Tom then started building trout dams on their remaining property with the idea of supplementing their income.

He also began purchasing additional land, and today the family owns 2 500ha and have 18 dams stocked with trout. Annual membership provides access to seven of these dams via two syndicates, namely Lunsklip 10 and Critchley Common.

Members of these syndicates all receive gate keys to their respective dams and can fish whenever they wish. Each syndicate enjoys the use of a lapa and toilet, and a rowing boat is also available on the dams serving Critchley Common.

Most of these dams are at an altitude of just below 2 100m above sea level, with pristine water not contaminated by any human settlements or pesticides from agricultural activities.
Three stocked dams are available to guests of Linger Longer who wish to fish without the need to join a syndicate.

Bottling fresh water
Hannes runs the farm’s primary source of income: a water filtering and bottling plant. Their brands include Seven Streams, the original bottling company that they bought, and Palmietfontein, named after the farm. The business supplies branded water to Alzu, Wiesenhof, Ford, Volvo and other big-name clients.

Hannes stresses the importance of water quality. The water is sourced from a local spring and then filtered in several ways before being bottled. Quality control tests are performed regularly to ensure that it is safe.

The final product is marketed in still and sparkling form, and in bottles of various shapes and sizes.

Fauna and flora
A number of rare bird species occur on the Verloren Valei Nature Reserve alongside the farm, including the blue, grey crowned, and wattled cranes.

The critically endangered white-winged flufftail has been spotted in the wetlands in the Verloren Valei wetlands, which are a recognised Ramsar site.

The reserve is also home to rare wild orchids. Gerrit van Ede, a member of Friends of Verloren Valei, tells Farmer’s Weekly that some of these orchids are reason enough for the existence of this reserve. We had the opportunity to spend a day with Van Ede, who recommends that visitors book a visit to the reserve with a knowledgeable member of Friends of Verloren Valei to make the most of the experience.

Hannes’s wife, Arina, runs the cottages at Linger Longer. Farmer’s Weekly stayed in two of the five cottages. Linger To is a self-catering cottage with a couple in mind. It has a king-size bed, an en-suite bathroom, and an outside shower. There is a fireplace inside and a braai outside. The stoep also has chairs and a table, and is a fine spot for meals and drinks, and soaking up the view of the adjacent reserve.

Linger Lo has one bedroom with a queen-sized bed and a second bedroom with two single beds.

Linger Lo is a self-catering cottage equipped for a family of four. It has one bedroom with a queen-sized bed, an adjacent bathroom on the ground floor, a second bedroom with two single beds, and an en-suite bathroom on the first floor. A fireplace in the lounge keeps the room cosy on cold evenings, and the stoep offers a view over one of the trout dams. A built-in braai is available on the stoep.

Other self-catering cottages include Linger Longer, the original farmhouse, which has been turned into a welcoming house for six guests. Two rooms each have a queen-size bed, and one bedroom has two single beds. There are two bathrooms.

Linger Hi is equipped for four people and has two bedrooms, each with a king-size bed, an en-suite bathroom, and an outside shower.

Linger View is also equipped for four persons in two bedrooms, each with a king-size bed and en-suite bathroom.
All units have a fireplace in the living area and a TV set with the DStv Hotel Bouquet.

Other activities
Sometimes a weekend break or holiday calls for catered meals. We ate at Mayfly Restaurant & Cocktail Lounge, The Rose Cottage, and Waffle & Co, all in Dullstroom.
While you are in town, be sure to pay a visit to the Clock Shop and the Dullstroom Bird of Prey & Rehabilitation Centre.

Visit, or phone Arina Prinsloo on 083 891 7360.