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Dohne Agricultural Development Institute

Dohne Agricultural Development Institute

Döhne is a South African agricultural research station 6 kilometres north of Stutterheim in the Eastern Cape. It is noted for having developed the Döhne Merino from Peppin Merino ewes and German mutton merino sires in 1939. The program bred for high fertility, rapid lamb growth and fine wool production under pastoral conditions. The breed was introduced to Australia in 1998.

On 24 September 1834, the Berlin Missionary Society’s first South African mission station, Bethany, was founded on the Riet River between Edenburg and Trompsburg in the Orange Free State. With the arrival of more missionaries in 1837, the society expanded its work to the Eastern Cape and the Xhosa. Here Döhne played an important role in the founding of the stations Bethel and Itemba. These stations were abandoned during the Frontier War of 1846–47, when the missionaries found refuge in the neighbouring colony of Natal. With the closing of the Eastern Cape missions, the focus of the Berlin Missionary Society shifted to Natal and the Transvaal. Christianenberg, Emmaus and other mission stations were established there, and Döhne became a well-known figure among the Voortrekkers. In 1857 some German veterans of the Crimean War settled around Fort Döhne which had been built near the mission station. The Molteno government of the Cape Colony opened a railway station here in 1874, as part of its nationwide Cape Government Railways network.

Did you know? The dam is well endowed with rainbow and brown trout and has its own angling club, the Stutterheim Trout Fishing Club, which you can contact for a fishing permit

Gubu dam lies in an utterly romantic setting, towered over by both Mount Kubusie and Mount Thomas, between the towns of Keiskammahoek Hoek and Stutterheim, an hour’s drive from East London.

To reach it, one drives through hooded forest, surrounded by towering green trees, and often, early morning mist. The dam is flanked by the Kubusi Indigenous State Forest north of it, and Driebos State Forest on its south eastern edge. Further north west of Kubusi is the Kologha Forest Reserve (also sometimes spelt Xhologha).
The drive connecting the dam with the Kologha Forest is incredible. If you have the time, drive it, particularly as there are three walks through Kologha indigenous forest, the second largest natural forest in the country after the one in Knysna.

The dam is well endowed with rainbow and brown trout and has its own angling club, the Stutterheim Trout Fishing Club, which you can contact for a fishing permit. The dam permits only sail boats, which you can hire from a local boat provider, and no power boats sully the beauty with noise or pollution.

Gubu has its own campsite, on the north east of the dam, and picnic areas with braais and public ablutions set in amongst trees. On the edge of the indigenous forest is an adventure company offering forest walks, mountain bike trail (up to Mount Thomas and through indigenous forest for 25 km), kayaking, and guided forest walks in the area.
The campsite does not have formal ‘sites’, nor do you need to book ahead, allowing visitors to set up more or less as they like. You will need your own firewood and braai grid.