Almost 20 years ago I spent a wonderful weekend at Critchley Hackle in Dullstroom. I have visited them again a few weeks ago and I am happy to report that Critchley Hackle still has that laid back feeling, which is now very accurately reflected in their slogan: Life unplugged! In spite of a change of ownership, economic slumps and a lot more competition in the area, Critchley Hackle has survived the past 20 years and is still a great lodge today.

Dullstroom is an easy 2 -2½ hour drive from Pretoria or Johannesburg on the N4 towards Nelspruit in an area referred to as the Mpumalanga Highlands. Spending a weekend or a couple of days in the area does much for refreshing body and soul before returning to the urban jungle. The small town offers a variety of restaurants, shops and other entertainment and off course: fly-fishing, their most important product.

Critchley Hackle is situated on the outskirts of town but still within easy walking distance of all that Dullstroom has on offer. Facilities include:

  • 9 Garden cottages sleeping 1-4 guests, 12 lake side cottages for 1-2 guests as well as 2 suites. In total accommodates 58 pax on a sharing basis
  • Most rooms feature a wood burning fireplace, a small patio and views of the lake with all the normal in-room conveniences
  • On-site restaurant overlooking the lake treats guests to hearty country cuisine including the local speciality: trout
  • The ‘Damn Bar’ is a favourite meeting spot for locals and visitors alike
  • Two conference rooms accommodating from 10-90 delegates
  • Public areas have high speed internet access
  • Swimming pool
  • Activities include fly fishing, fly fishing training, horse riding, clay pigeon shooting and whisky tasting

The food & beverage team is led by the executive chef, Jaco van Niekerk. The food is sourced from the area, preferably organic and free range. They offer an all day breakfast service and anything and everything in between. A small selected menu for dinner included for starters: red capsicum soup with homemade bread, crispy duck on a bed of greens with water chesnuts and brandy infused cranberries, alternatively a crepe with rocket, haloumi and onion marmalade or a country salad. Mains included chicken roulade, beef fillet, butternut risotto or the local speciality: Dullstroom Trout stuffed with green peppers, spring onion, lemon and parsley served with mash, seasonal vegetables and white wine butter sauce. Dessert consisted of chocolate fondant, citron tart, poached pears or a cheese platter followed by macadamia chocolate truffles and coffee / tea.

Leisure and conference rates are from R1 600 per room, bed & breakfast. Rates vary according to day of the week and season. Full day conference packages currently R300 per person. Current specials include: The weekend breakaway” as well as “The Young Executives Boot Camp which includes a 2 night package on a bed & breakfast basis, welcome drink, 1 x fly fishing lesson, whisky tasting and 3-course dinner.

Critchley Hackle has recently been taken over (managed) by Urban Hip Hotels. At present they are incorporating a number of soft refurbs and changes to the facilities, ensuring an even better product for their guests.

Critchley Hackle, Reservations: 0861 226 787 or contact Critchley Hackle direct on 013 254 0146 / 7 / 8 / 9,

The bottom line: Keep Critchley Hackle on your favourite list!

For more information & bookings for leisure or conference at Critchley Hackle as well as any other facility throughout South Africa contact me on