The growth of small South African towns in recent years is perhaps unsurprising, especially for the more established professionals, yearning for less urban density, work flexibility, and the enticing lifestyle and family benefits of smaller centres.
Dullstroom (also known as Emnothweni) in Mpumalanga is one such town that ticks all these boxes, a few of which I am sure had its founder, the Dutch merchant Wolterus Dull, settling in the area near the Crocodile River, from which the town derives the second half of its name (‘stroom’).
It is the highest town in South Africa − 2 100 metres above sea level − and this altitude draws wintry mists, a cool climate and clear air, while the summer sees grasslands transformed with floral colours. For many, it is a weekend getaway to rejuvenate and escape the Johannesburg hustle. For others, it’s a stopover town where travellers leave the beaten paths en route to the Kruger National Park to stay a night or more.
Only one year before the country locked down, Janine and Pieter Nienaber arrived and bought a smallholding called Olive Bumble on the northern fringes of Dullstroom overlooking the nature reserve. The allure was always there for them. ‘Dullstroom tries to keep a nice combo for the men and women,’ Janine explains. ‘The men go fishing while the women go shopping!’
It was disruptive for the family to move, and uncertainties were aplenty, yet the exciting opportunities outweighed: start a new business venture, home school the kids, and fishing on the doorstep for Pieter. And yet, to give the town a trout fishing tag would a misnomer; it would ignore the diversity outside of fishing that it offers.
The terrain around the town hosts 4×4, quad and biker trails, as well as many trails catering for cyclists. International triathletes come to train in its altitude, and there are lush world-class golf courses to boot. In the town there are a brewhouse, a whisky bar, coffee roasteries and chocolatiers, all scattered amongst interesting artisan shops. A live music scene thrives on many nights of the week.
Despite some recognisable business brands that creep onto the high street, for the most part Dullstroom rejects the large corporates, embracing the small business instead and so keeping its charm and originality for the flow of tourists.
The Nienaber’s Olive Bumble is one such small business. Its self-catering cottages look onto the farm animals, all gifts from the community, and now there to the benefit of city visitors and children to enjoy.
For more information visit: https://www.olivebumble.co.za / or contact Janine Nienaber: 071 606 2152.
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