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Thread: Manzini and Big Bend Swaziland

  1. #1
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    Default Manzini and Big Bend Swaziland

    Hi All

    I am heading down to Manzini (Malkerns) and Big Bend in Swaziland for the long weekend at the end of the month and I was wondering if anyone had any fishing experience in these areas.

    There is a fairly large dam (Hendrick Van Eck) near Big Bend that holds some Tigerfish that I know of and I should be able to get access to some farm dams around Malkerns for Bass but in general I am going in blind.

    Does anyone have any experience in these areas that would be able to give me some pointers.

  2. #2
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    sorry dude...no idea about the area, but good luck and give us a report on your return. would be nice to build up a repertoire of venues on here
    bushveld scalies - worth the blood, sweat and tears

  3. #3
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    I was there many many years back but have no Idea what its like nowadays. I hope you have a 4x4 if you are planning on adventuring those parts?
    ".....angling is a sport that requires as much enthusiasm as poetry, as much patience as mathematics and as much caution as housbreaking". - James Rennie 1883

  4. #4
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    I have a Freelander 2 so should be ok on most tracks, if not my cousin runs a farm and can just bring the tractor down

    Will definitely give a report back if I find anything worthwhile, they apparently catch tigers on live bait at Van Eck but I would prefer to see what I can get on fly.

  5. #5

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    Hi

    There are 12 stillwaters in the Usutu forest with trout - day permits used to be available from Les Deakin at Flyfishers/Swaziland Flooring in Mbabane but I am not sure if they are still available there as it has been over 7 years since I last fished those waters. From Malkerns the dams are roughly a 45 min drive away and are spread out over quite a large area. There are however two main areas (D section and B section) where there are a number of dams in close proximity to each other though. Day permits used to also be available from the Foresters Arm Hotel near Mhlambanyatsi. In fact, the easiest thing to do would probably be to give the hotel a call to see if they still sell day permits. Their telephone number will be on the net. They also have their own small dam with trout at the hotel and very nearby is the wonderful Enrich dam which is worth it just for the walk to the top of the waterfall and views of the dam and forest.

    Another venue for trout is Malolotja Nature Reserve which is about 20 mins north of Mbabane, just off the road to Oshoek. There is quite a large dam here, stocked with trout.

    There is a stretch of river in Ezulweni (very close to Malkerns) just below Mantenga Falls waterfall and near the cultural village which offers day permits for yellowfish. Watch out for the mambas and cobras in this area though!

    If you're going to be based in Malkerns why not give the Usutu River a go? It flows from Bhunya to Malkerns next to the road and has yellows in it. The pulp mill at Bhunya has stopped running so the water quality must at least have improved. Just be prepared to have a set or sets of eyes on you at all times with the occasional high pitched cry of "sweeeeeeeets" and "umluuuuuungu". I'd recommend giving it a try just upstream of the mill at a place called "Bhunya Beach" where the river is shrouded by pine trees and is a bit quieter.

    You've touched on the bass and tiger fishing down in Big Bend. I can't really help with these options as I tended to focus on the trout fishing up in the Usutu mountains when I was there.

    All the best and I look forwarded to reading your report.
    "The best way to shrink a fish is with with a ruler - the best way to grow a fish is with a beer."

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the awesome feedback Justin, I'll look up some of those venues and give them a go.

    Do you know if there are there crocodiles in the Usutu near Malkerns, I still remember the stories of my Grandfather having to shoot one near his butchery in that area back in the old days.

    Looking forward to this trip now

  7. #7

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    I haven't heard of any crocs in the Usutu as far upstream as Malkerns but I wouldn't be willing to say either way. I once swam in the river near Malkerns on a junior school trip... the whole class did! Having said that, there are a few crocs in the local agricultural dams (and hippo) and of course Mlilwane Game Reserve is just on the other side of the valley, so it is not beyond any stretch of the imagination that a wayward croc could get that far upriver. As you probably know there are a good number of crocs in the Usutu downstream of Manzini towards Big Bend and beyond...

    Better to be safe and focus your efforts higher upstream, near or past Bhunya is where I'd try (fly fished there once when I was a lot more clueless re river fishing and returned with a blank), where there are definitely no crocodiles. Definitely no crocs in the trout dams too.

    Good luck, and let us know how you get on!
    "The best way to shrink a fish is with with a ruler - the best way to grow a fish is with a beer."

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustinM View Post
    Hi

    There are 12 stillwaters in the Usutu forest with trout - day permits used to be available from Les Deakin at Flyfishers/Swaziland Flooring in Mbabane but I am not sure if they are still available there as it has been over 7 years since I last fished those waters. From Malkerns the dams are roughly a 45 min drive away and are spread out over quite a large area. There are however two main areas (D section and B section) where there are a number of dams in close proximity to each other though. Day permits used to also be available from the Foresters Arm Hotel near Mhlambanyatsi. In fact, the easiest thing to do would probably be to give the hotel a call to see if they still sell day permits. Their telephone number will be on the net. They also have their own small dam with trout at the hotel and very nearby is the wonderful Enrich dam which is worth it just for the walk to the top of the waterfall and views of the dam and forest.

    Another venue for trout is Malolotja Nature Reserve which is about 20 mins north of Mbabane, just off the road to Oshoek. There is quite a large dam here, stocked with trout.

    There is a stretch of river in Ezulweni (very close to Malkerns) just below Mantenga Falls waterfall and near the cultural village which offers day permits for yellowfish. Watch out for the mambas and cobras in this area though!

    If you're going to be based in Malkerns why not give the Usutu River a go? It flows from Bhunya to Malkerns next to the road and has yellows in it. The pulp mill at Bhunya has stopped running so the water quality must at least have improved. Just be prepared to have a set or sets of eyes on you at all times with the occasional high pitched cry of "sweeeeeeeets" and "umluuuuuungu". I'd recommend giving it a try just upstream of the mill at a place called "Bhunya Beach" where the river is shrouded by pine trees and is a bit quieter.

    You've touched on the bass and tiger fishing down in Big Bend. I can't really help with these options as I tended to focus on the trout fishing up in the Usutu mountains when I was there.

    All the best and I look forwarded to reading your report.
    Absolutely brilliant report back.

    Thank you.

    Phillip we need a "like button".
    It's not in the catching, it's in the learning something new.
    view albums at. http://www.flytalk.co.za/forum/album.php?u=659

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Gauteng
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    Report back time:

    Bearing in mind that this trip was to introduce my daughter to her aunt and great grandmother, I did not have as much fishing time as I could have had.

    All in all I have to say the fishing was pretty bad but the exploring and time spent with my dad in his old haunts was well worth it.

    First off I spent an afternoon at some of the Usutu forest dams, having got our day permits at R60pp from Ruth at the foresters arms we headed off to the B2 and B4 dams in the northwest corner of the forest. Although set amongst some stunning backdrops we did not see much fish activity despite phenomenal insect activity and the fishing was extremely slow with us only managing my one 5 inch Bass between 3 of us in about 2 hours of fishing. My cousin is a member of the fly fishing club and he confirmed that the dams have not been stocked in years when we saw him the following day.

    On Sunday we headed down to my cousin who stays next to Van Eck dam in big bend. We only got to the dam at about 16:30 and once we were out on the boat we had one take from a Tiger on the fly, unfortunately my cousin did not set the hook and as the sun was setting we headed back to shore. The following morning my father and I went to the dam at about 6:15 without the boat to try our luck from the shore. Again I had 1 take in about 2 hours of fishing and missed the hookup. We only stayed in Big Bend for the one afternoon and morning but I will definitely be going back in season to do more Tiger hunting on fly, the dam record is in the region of 7kg.

    No you are not wrong, as you might be thinking, I only caught the one bass the whole weekend

    The final bit of fishing that I had a chance to try was about an hour spent prospecting for yellows on the Usutu river just outside of Malkerns. Unfortunately I saw no fish activity and I am not the best of yardsticks when it comes to finding yellowfish on the best of days. Next time I go back I will definitely try and find some water about the mill at Bhunya to try my luck.

    I don't believe any of the fishing in swaziland is easy but it is a charming place to explore and listen to stories of historical family antics. Next time I will definitely spend more time fishing.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZorG View Post
    Report back time:


    First off I spent an afternoon at some of the Usutu forest dams, having got our day permits at R60pp from Ruth at the foresters arms we headed off to the B2 and B4 dams in the northwest corner of the forest. Although set amongst some stunning backdrops we did not see much fish activity despite phenomenal insect activity and the fishing was extremely slow with us only managing my one 5 inch Bass between 3 of us in about 2 hours of fishing. My cousin is a member of the fly fishing club and he confirmed that the dams have not been stocked in years when we saw him the following day.
    Thanks for reporting back. Hard luck on the fishing results but it sounds like you had a good time anyway.

    If the dams haven't been stocked in years I'm surprised there are still members and that day permits are still being sold. I did hear that the club chairman who has been instrumental in running the club over the last decade and a half, was in poor health and I suspect that no-one else has stepped up to the plate. The dams used to be stocked twice a year. The main stocking would precede the annual Bells Festival (which had recently been sponsored by MTN after Bells pulled out). I caught my first trout on a fly at B2 and have many great memories of fishing the evening rise from the dam wall. It seemed to suffer from sedimentation over the years though. B4 is one of the clearest dams in the forest and was always one of the most productive. There used to be a few escapees in the tiny stream flowing out of the dam. I wonder if their progeny are still there? Just around the corner is (what used to be) another good dam - B5 - despite this dam being full of leeches. They'd get on to the trout and your legs if wet wading and yet none of the other dams had them. The fly life in all these dams is exceptional as you noticed! My last visit to Swaziland was in 2009 and I caught a few fish in D13 and saw what must have been a 3.5 - 4kg trout following a fish I had on the end of my line! Things must have changed a lot with the club over the last 3 years if the dams are no longer being stocked.

    Cheers
    "The best way to shrink a fish is with with a ruler - the best way to grow a fish is with a beer."

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