We discovered the three self catering units,at Lake Gariep,when it wat still known as the H.F.Verwoerd dam,in the Apartheid Era…

Entrance to Lake Gariep self catering units in Free State Nature Reserve

Come to think of it,I did my in-service training as a nurse,at the Hospital known as H.F.Verwoerd Academic Hospital,during the Apartheid Era.It was a very prestigious Hospital and all medical staff,that did their training here,were admired and highly in demand,world wide.
We had very strict guidelines and were disciplined,with a “no nonsense” policy.You apply,you learn,you do good,you succeed,you repay them,by working the same amount of years,you needed to qualify….I had to work back 2 years,for instance.
Steve Bhiko Academic Hospital,previously named,after one of the Apartheid leaders,during the Apartheid Era,HF Verwoerd

We started out,going fishing,with thè minimal fishing equipment.2 rods and reels,some fishing line(gut)hooks,sinkers, small keep net….no chairs,umbrella,table/trays, cooler boxes,maizemeal porridge,knead and flavoured,to perfection,with curry powder and custard powder….just like I remembered,on the rocks as chairs,alongside the dam shore,under the smallest of bushes,with our beer tied with a rope,put a bit deeper in the water,to keep it cold.No sunscreen and didn’t learn from our mistakes,thàt quick!
We build up our equipment and when the bug bit,we went fullsteam ahead.It was a Gazebo,a 3 room tent,more rods and reels,better quality line,learning about different baits and a nice big box for all the different baits,hooks,sinkers,ect.

We advanced,to booking a self catering unit(one of only 3, back then)and later to the more luxurious and modern ones,overlooking the lake,from three sides.

One of the more modern self catering units,(still vèry affordable)overlooking 3 sides of the Lake.My favourite of course is no.6

The children started to join in,not vèry keen at first,as it was much nicer,to play in the water.Of my children,our oldest son caught his first fish,when he was in about Standard 3(Grade5)Tradition has it, that when someone catch his/her first fish,ge:she is responsible,to clean it self,braai(BBQ)it over the coles and eat it.

Two years or so later,my youngest son went along in the fishing trip….only, because he couldn’t find,something else to do and nowhere to go,that weekend….

He wasn’t rèàlly in the mood,but since his brother ànd youngest sister did,he decided to give it a try too.

He was the first to catch for the day and caught two small “pansize” Carps,about 15-20cm long.The other children were keen on him,to clean, braai and eat his catch.After a lot of motivation….
There are a few different species of fish in the Lake,but the most seeked after,are the King Carp,Carp and Yellow fish.

We heard the children shout and scream,from behind us.I felt the goosebumps on my hot, sunbathed and tingling skin,sending chills down my spine….only TWO dangerous situations….

Because all of them could swim,relatively well and they weren’t allowed to go in too deep…. SNAKES or SCORPIONS!!! We turned around…my youngest son stood in front of the fire… and on the grid,over the coles,were the poor fish jumping for life!!!He decided to not kill,
or clean them,as it would be “easier” to eat-as-is“We never took the time,to make sure he knew,how to clean and braai,as the other children already knew….

A few years later,he was still the keen fisherman and we were camping on the dam shore,at a vèry good spot,at the right time….we hit a school of good size fish,between 30-50cm.We caught much,that we threw the smallest back, with each bigger one we caught.
We took home about 25….and like àlways,I handed it out,to the absolute destitute people,in the local township.
My youngest son(cooking the live fish over the coles)with his 2 boys and a friend,having some fun time,fishing

ÀLL my children,are vèry keen fishermen/ladies and the tradition is rubbing off,on my grandchildren.

My grandson and a friend,having some “real fishermen” time with his brother and dad

They know to:

  • Only leave your footprints behind,when you leave…

    Clean up behind yourselves and if neccasary,after those before you
  • Don’t keep illegal sizing

    Remember,that we need some for tomorrow and so do our children

  • Don’t take more than you need,or more than you can feed.

    Don’t waste,because someone else could catch those yòù wasted, to feed a family

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