Dave Walker

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Susan Kolz

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Marieta Hechter

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Simphiwe Macupe

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Dave Walker is the proprietor who moved to the Bokspruit in the Barkly East district in 1990 and established Walkerbouts in 1996, converting a domestic dwelling into a glorified backpackers! A complete renovation in 1999 resulted in comfortable en suite accommodation followed by various structural improvements, the most recent of which was completed in 2018.

Susan Kólz is the general manager and catering director who ensures that guests will have a pleasant stay at Walkerbouts by way of attention to detail with Teutonic precision.

Marieta Hechter is the administrative manager whom guests will have met remotely while making enquiries and bookings.
Simphiwe Macupe is the “Purveyor of Libations” in the Thankshjalot Bar and “Fixer of Things” such as recalcitrant gas geysers. Curry the Cat is in charge of rodent control.

More on Dave Walker - by Ed Herbst

I met Dave Walker in April 1992 at the Spoornet Trout Expo he had organised based at the then-Drakensberg Hotel in Barkly East to announce the formation of the Barkly Wild Trout Association.
He had obtained sponsorship from Spoornet and invitations were sent out to Dr Willie van Niekerk, the chairman of the President’s Council, Tom Sutcliffe and I among others.
It was the culmination of conversations between himself and Martin Davies, an aquaculture scientist and keen fly angler who was based at what was then the Rhodes University in Grahamstown.
The idea was to give farmers 70% of the revenue derived from day ticket sales in the hopes of building a fishery which would increase tourist revenue to the region.
You can read my article on the 20th anniversary here.
Three decades later the subsequently re-named Wild Trout Association can provide visiting fly anglers with access to 200 Kms of river and stream most of which faces very little or no fishing pressure.
Dave has singlehandedly put Rhodes on the tourism map through promotion of the region at trade shows and through articles and televised interviews. Trade shows such as Hooked on Fishing, the Getaway Show and the SA Tourism Indaba amongst others, were regularly attended.
In 2013 he organised his first ‘Stoepsitfees’ roughly translated as verandah conversation festival. It gave visitors the opportunity to visit residents in their homes and learn more about country village living.
The benefits to the region, where most of the population lives on social grants, is significant. Unemployment has run at 70% in Rhodes but the gradual growth of the fly-fishing industry has alleviated this shocking statistic somewhat. In fact, there has been substantial growth in the number of guest houses and guest farms in the district since the early 90s, much of which can be attributed to Walker’s efforts.
In 1996 Dave started holding a two-day get-together for fly anglers in early December of each year. This, on account of summer rains arriving later and later each year, was subsequently moved to March. The event was also extended to three days at that time. In more recent years, due to popular demand, it was further extended to become a four days of fishing and five nights of talking about fishing plus much more! The event is based at his Walkerbouts Inn and it is now, in my opinion, the premier event on the South African freshwater fly angling calendar.
Most participants sign up for the following event at end of each festival, such is the enjoyment they derive from Dave’s finely-honed administration and the Walkerbouts Team..
I call Rhodes and Barkly East South Africa’s answer to Montana because of the wealth of fishing venues available to visiting fly anglers.
Tom Sutcliffe and I started making annual visits to the region some thirty years ago, staying first with the late Basie Vosloo and his wife Carien on the banks of the Sterkspruit River and then going on to stay with Dave.
Such was the graciousness of Dave as a host and the comfort and good food of Walkerbouts that we had no hesitation in recommending it as a place to visit to two elderly friends and keen fly anglers.
They were both conservative men of great accomplishment and piety, men to whom decorum was all important.
A few days before their arrival, Tom and I booked in.
The scene that greeted us filled us with alarm
The previously pristine walls of the bar area provided mute proof of a bacchanalian revel that would have made Caligula blush.
They were covered with some brazen ‘paintings’ which were the result of drunken revelers stripping off, daubing themselves with paint and then pressing their naughty bits against the walls and even the ceiling.  All this, mark you, with approval of the owner! We demanded that the bar be immediately repainted and Tom then painted a ‘Trout over pebbles’ with a permanent marker to assure our soon-to-arrive friends that this was a trout-angling hostelry of impeccable repute …
Over the decades Dave has constantly ploughed money back into Walkerbouts, increasing its area and made the rooms more luxurious.
Rhodes is sheep country and it goes without saying that the food is superb as are his oven-fired pizzas
A decade ago, the pub at Walkerbouts known as the “Thankshjalot Pub” was deemed to be worthy of inclusion in a publication by Chris Marais entitled “101 Beloved Bars of Southern Africa”. The publication proved to be so popular that it is now out of print.  The ambience of the pub has lost nothing since that time, however.
Walkerbouts is synonymous with the best that Rhodes has to offer to the visitor because Dave has made it so
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