Activities on The Reserve
Tillietudlem Nature reserve and the surrounding midlands meander offer a myriad of activities for young and old. Alternatively, relax around the fireplace and absorb the peace and tranquility. To see some amazing gallery images, click here.
The Upper Dargle area is renowned for being one of the best trout fishing areas in South Africa due to the pristine waters and high altitude. Tillietudlem offers exceptional and exclusive fly fishing for Rainbow and Brown trout in 4 dams and the Eland’s river. The waters are managed for trophy fishing and fish in excess of 4 kg have been caught. Rod fee R200 per rod per day, catch and release only, float tubes welcome. Guided fishing and fly-fishing clinics are available by prior arrangement.
Experience the ecological splendors and tranquillity of Tillietudlem on foot. The reserve includes a diverse combination of mountain grassland, indigenous forest and wetlands which provide habitat for a great variety of animals. Game walks, bird watching and flora walks with our ranger are a great way to learn more about the flora and fauna of the area. Alternatively, self-guided walks are provided for those keen to explore the reserve on their own. The reserve has large herds and family groups of Eland, Wildebeest, Zebra, Waterbuck, Blesbuck, Oribi, Common reedbuck, Mountain reedbuck, Grey Rhebuck, Bushbuck and Duiker. You may even catch a glimpse of one of the many Otters that frequent our rivers.
The reserve has two very basic MTB trails – a fairly easy 6 km loop and a much more rigorous 12 km loop. The trails are designed to showcase the various habitats found on the reserve – mountain mist-belt grassland, indigenous forest and crystal clear streams.
The reserve is a birding paradise with regular sightings of the blue crane, secretary bird, orange breasted long-claw, yellow-breasted pipit, buff streaked chat and ground woodpecker to mention a few. Other birds that may be seen include the critically endangered blue swallow and Cape parrot.
As part of its ecological management plan the reserve also has a free roaming herd of Nguni cattle. These indigenous animals simulate the historical migratory movements large herds of antelope, and so promote the grassland ecology. The herd is a registered stud and breeds some of the country’s most sought after stock. Renowned for their ease in calving, disease resistance and wonderful temperament, every Nguni breeder will tell you that it soon becomes a love affair! The calves bring much joy to everyone who has the privilege of spending time with the herd. These beautiful animals have added a new dimension to Tillietudlem and many of our guests spend countless hours with the herd, photographing the tapestry of colours that make these beautiful animals so unique.
Tillietudlem is situated a mere 30 minutes from the heart of the Midlands Meander, well known for its arts and crafts, its stunning scenery and its fine dining experiences. This stunning stretch is about 80km’s long and brimming with amazing sights, sounds and activities. More than a 150 establishments welcome visitors to their stalls to view furniture, rugs, pottery, stained glass, leatherwork, kites, quilts, hammocks, ceramics, decor, wind chimes, weavers, bistros, breweries and restaurants.
Dargle Valley Pottery is the gallery of Ian Glenny – a potter held in high acclaim internationally for his unique and high-quality artworks. This pottery offers the largest collection of pottery on the Midland Meander. All of the pieces are locally produced – the clay is found and the stock produced on local farms. Items range from the purely aesthetic to the functional – glazed garden pots, terracotta garden pots, outdoor and indoor fireplaces, oven proof baking and roasting pots and dishes, kitchen crockery, vases, and some great gifts for all occasions. If you are looking for an interesting gift, something new for your home or somewhere interesting to walk around and browse, then look no further.
Excitement for young and old! The tour begins with a detailed safety briefing followed by a ‘Kitting up’ session where full body harness, pulleys and climbing equipment are put on and checked for safety. A short scenic 4×4 drive to the top of the Karkloof valley and it is time to monkey around! From the start, on the launch platform, a new world unfolds as one gently glides on a steel cable to the first platform. All groups are escorted through the forest canopy by a lead guide and a safety guide to ensure your safety as you slide from tree to tree. The platforms are built high up in the forest canopy and all offer different views of the surrounding forest, a magnificent 20m waterfall, clear sparkling forest stream and across the expansive Karkloof valley far below. Spend a couple of minutes relaxing on the platforms while your guides enthusiastically explain the ecology of the forest – pointing out different trees and the magnificent giant ferns way below. The bird life is incredible. This includes the opportunity of spotting Emerald Cuckoos, Knysna Loeries, a wide variety of raptors and if you are lucky, the elusive Narina Trogon or endangered Cape Parrots. The forest is also home to a variety of mammals, but it is the loud calls and fearsome tree swinging of the Samango monkeys that you will remember best. The Karkloof Canopy Tour consists of 12 platforms and 10 zip-line slides, the longest of which is over 200m! A tour lasts approximately two hours, this is a safe, fun adventure for people between the ages of 5 and 80+ and includes refreshments during the tour and a light lunch served at the end.
Come and enjoy a delightful morning in the conservation corridors of forestry and farmland areas. Here, guests are entertained to a lifestyle experience constituting an introduction to the horses of the hill, a hands-on grooming session and a guided ride in the surrounding areas. All our horses are well-tempered and each has its own personality, which is taken into account when matching horse to rider. We cater for small groups to increase your chances of seeing some of the exquisite wildlife, which may include bushbuck, duiker, porcupine, samango monkey, serval cat, lynx, jackal, reedbuck, otters and various bird species.