After many months in isolation, I’ve noticed my five senses have heightened significantly. The world is louder and brighter than it was before the pandemic. Flowers smell sweeter and food tastes better, especially when I’m out of the city (or even just out of my own house). And the colors. Colors in the world at the end of 2020 are nearly blinding.

I thought about colors a lot during my recent media stay at Walkersons in Dullstroom — especially green and blue.

Green and blue wonderland at Walkersons
This tree behind my chalet at Walkersons looked impossibly green, and the sky behind it impossibly blue. I gazed at it for hours.

I stayed at Walkersons once before in April 2016; it was the beginning of winter and the highveld was just transitioning from green to brown. It was beautiful then too, but nothing could have prepared me for the December 2020 version of Walkersons. After all the early summer rain we’ve had, the green grass and blue sky/water looked electric to my lockdown-starved eyes.

Horse pasture at Walkersons
Blue sky on hike in Dullstroom
Cloudy morning in Dullstroom
A moody, early-morning, but still electric version of Dullstroom green and blue.
Beautiful view outside Dullstroom
We had lunch in an incredible Walkersons villa at the top of a cliff. This was the view. (Photo: Sbahle from LetsGetLostInTheWald.

Two Days at Walkersons

In addition to the dazzling greens and blues, this trip was just a really fun way to spend two days. I appreciate opportunities like this — to get out of town and hang out with new and interesting people — so much more than I used to.

Ladies ready for a hike
My crew — Sbahle, Hanri, Laura, Theresa — ready for a hike. I had so much fun with these women.

Here are a few of the things we did together:

Cooking Class at Dullstroom Cultour Co.

Instead of having dinner at Walkersons on our first night, we drove into town and participated in a cooking class with the Dullstroom Cultour Co. I was a little wary of this idea — cooking my own food is a lot more work than just ordering from a restaurant menu — but it turned out to be incredibly fun and delicious.

We cooked two dishes: Bitterballen, or Dutch meatballs with chicken, and appelflappen, or Dutch apple fritters. (“Bitterballen and appelflappen“: I challenge you to say this five times fast.)

Chef Adri Van Wieringen
Adri van Wieringen, our charming Dullstroom Cultour chef and formerly the chef at Walkersons. Adri teaches classes on a variety of different cuisines, but our class was Dutch cooking.

Adri and his team made things so easy for us, chopping and measuring everything in advance and cleaning up all the dishes as we went. But I still felt like I accomplished something and this food tasted so freaking good.

Appelflappen
Appelflappen — essentially deep-fried apple slices — cooked with my own hands and devoured within 60 seconds of taking this photo. I intend to try this at home.
Completed bitterballen
Golden-brown bitterballen served with mustard-chili mayonnaise.
Heather eating bitterballen
My god, these tasted good. My tastebuds were exploding — pandemic sensory overload and all that. I can’t remember who took the picture because I was too busy having a foodgasm.

Hanging Around Walkersons

We spent a lot of time hanging around the lodge, lounging in our rooms, and gazing out at the green and blue. We took a leisurely hike around Walkersons, which is a sprawling lodge and spa and also an upscale housing estate. We crossed over a waterfall and admired all the beautiful mansions. We also went to the spa and had fantastic massages. (Tough life, I know.)

Chalet at Walkersons
My chalet.
Inside my chalet
This was a very comfortable bed.
Horses at Walkersons
Horsies.
Heather at the waterfall in Walkersons
Bridge over a waterfall. (Photo: Theresa Gibbon)

Dinner at Walkersons

We spent our second evening doing the whole Old-English-Manor-House dinner experience in the Walkersons restaurant and bar.

Lounge area at Walkersons
It was cold and rainy that night so there was a fire in the lounge — perfect.

I remember the Walkersons’ food being very good on my last trip. But this time I was blown away. Our four-course meal and wine pairing, created by new head chef Guy Nahman, was exquisite from start to finish. I felt like I could distinctly taste every flavorful ingredient in every dish (again, exploding pandemic taste buds).

First dinner course:
First course: Roast cauliflower soup with smoked chili, beans, and parmesan croutons.
Smoked trout tartare
Second course: Dullstroom trout tartare with browned nut butter, preserved lemon labneh, and homemade crackers. The third course, grilled dorado with crisp-fried masala potatoes, was also phenomenal.
Grilled nectarine panacota
Dessert: White chocolate and rum panna cotta with grilled nectarines and honeycomb. This course was my favorite — I was so full by the time it came but ate every bite anyway.

Fly Fishing

Dullstroom is known as a fly fishing destination. I don’t think I’d picked up a fishing pole of any sort since I was about seven years old, so I figured what better time than 2020 to take my first-ever fly fishing lesson?

The weather was appropriately misty. Hanri, Sbahle, and I followed Bongani, our fly fishing teacher, out to one of the dams and he demonstrated how to cast the line out and reel it back in.

Bongani, fly fishing instructor at Walkersons
Bongani shows us his colorful flies. (Wow, that sentence sounds weird.)
Fly fishing
Sbahle and Hanri hone their skills.

I didn’t really expect to get into fly fishing — I went for the photo-ops. But actually I really enjoyed the casting motion…It reminded me of throwing a softball. And while no one caught a fish, I actually felt a little bite on my line! I think it was a total coincidence but still quite exciting. I would try this again for sure.

Heather fly fishing
Photo by Laura from Laura’s World.

I pronounce Walkersons in the summer of 2020 to be a fabulous, electric-blue-and-green weekend getaway opportunity. Highly recommended.

My visit to Walkersons was a hosted media trip. Opinions expressed are my own.

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