Highland Run accommodation

Two charming fully appointed cottages where highly trained housekeepers see to your comfort.  Thanks to its remote location and bright starlit skies, the après fishing experience at Highland Run creates many extra special memories.

Our Cottage accommodates 8-10 people. It has 5 bedrooms, 2 of which have en-suite bathrooms.  There are a further 3 bathrooms and an extra room outside which can be used as a fifth bedroom.  The living area is open plan kitchen/dining/lounge.  There is electricity, and a fully equipped kitchen.  Linen, towels and cleaning materials are supplied.  We have full DSTV, a fire place inside the house and a braai area outside.  Firewood is supplied, but not charcoal.


A beat system divides the stream in two, with four / five rods on each beat. At midday, the parties change beats, allowing fishermen the opportunity to fish the entire stream. There is a predominance of rainbow trout in the upper beat, and a predominance of browns in the lower beat. The average size of fish taken is 2-3lbs, but the farm record stands at 8lb 8oz for a rainbow, and 11lb 15oz for a brown. Catch & release is encouraged, although fishing for the table is acceptable. Fishing guides and tuition can be arranged, on request. Three to four weight rods are most suitable, depending on weather conditions. The stream is renowned for dry fly fishing, but there are times when nymphs are more successful. Certain areas cater for inexperienced fishermen and for the physically challenged.

Highland Run Fly Fishing

Highland Run on Mpumalanga’s Spekboom River sees off the opposition. A testing river, the browns and rainbows of Highland Run are easily seen, but far less easily hooked. An isolated valley with more than a touch of romantic history, a weekend at the Run is like a week on another planet. It is probably some of the most isolated fishing in the country, situated as it is away from pubs, shops and villages, and this in itself is a plus. But the clarity of the river, the variety it offers and the sporting nature of its challenge will make it hard to dislodge…

Andrew Levy*², THE TOP TEN, The Complete Fly Fisherman (October 2004)

Highland Run Fishing Estate River Map Download (PDF)

THE RIVER A meandering dirt and rocky road, 7 kilometres from Lydenburg and 17 kilometres long, runs in tight curves through green precipitous mountain sides and past multi-hued greens of indigenous bush. The glitter of a tumbling stream hints at your destination, the Spekboom Valley, the home of Highland Run Fly Fishing Estate. Apart from being one of the best trout fishing destinations in the country, the Spekboom is a beautiful stream set amidst the wildest of rugged scenery. In places the rock-crowned slopes rise almost sheer from the banks; in others, where the river curves and twists with the valley floor, there are krantz pools of deep green water. The Spekboom is one of the few streams where trout do breed freely in South Africa. Both banks of the stream offer varied fishing for five kilometres, in a series of rapids, riffles, runs, glides and pools. At the height of summer the stream runs full and fast. In the non-rainy season, the stream is more sedate and gin clear, testing the skill of even the best fishermen.

River Hills

DOUG STARLING The river, although managed, still presents a natural profile, and this is where the energy, understanding and vision of Doug Starling are displayed. The water on Highland Run is not weired, but by creating large banks of underwater rock, the water velocity is altered and this creates the perfect habitat for the fish and for the fly fisher as well. Doug has a vast practical knowledge of fish behaviour which has led him to a set of methods applicable to any small stream with the requisite parameters. “Highland Run boasts some of the most delightful angling imaginable. By the intelligent use of weirs, the stream has been fashioned into a series of long runs and ponds, with such subtlety that often it is impossible to decide whether a particular run or small waterfall is the work of nature or man. And they teem with magnificent trout, visible at arm’s length. If a prize were awarded for imagination and the will to bring dreams to reality, it should be given to a man named Doug Starling.” Robert Brandon-Kirby*¹, Fly-Fishing In Southern Africa (1993)