Drakensberg

As you all probably know by now, I work for Ezemvelo. I have recently been roped in to help update the website which is hopelessly out of date and horrible to navigate, even by most people's standards. Although there is a wealth of information there, not many people who visit the site have too much joy, given that recent stats indicate an average stay of only 5 minutes!

Some of the new changes that we will be implementing very soon, is online booking (incl caves to a certain extent) so keep your eyes peeled on this new development on the site.

On Sunday 2010/12/05 at 04:00 Louwtjie Van Straaten and myself Gavin Bazley left the Sentinal car park and started a 228km journey on foot. We were attempting the Grand Traverse Challenge.

Amafa, the provincial heritage body responsible for Drakensberg rock art, has closed the Lower Mushroom Cave Damaged rock art at Cathedral Peakin the Cathedral Peak area because it has been subjected to three attacks by vandals over the last three years.

The paintings in this cave, which are said to be about 5000 years old, were last vandalised in June by security gaurds from the Cathedral Peak Hotel. They were each fined R1500.

Two other rock art sites in the area remain open to the public and more are said to be opened in co-operation with the local community.

 

Source: The Witness

The Bannerman hut at the bottom of this pass makes this one of the very popular passes in the Drakensberg. It’s a very short pass and you’ll find yourself at the top in no time at all. Despite its relative ease, it is still quite a fun pass to do with the final section heading up a narrow rock-filled gully. No real scrambling is required to do this section and it is therefore a great pass to do when you are new to the Drakensberg.

If you're keen to start doing some rock passes in the berg, this is probably the pass to start with. It's relatively short and quite easy to access from both Injasuti and Giant's Castle in a day. The scrambles on the pass are fairly easy and there is no exposure to worry about at all. There is no path to speak of but the route finding is quite straightforward due to the narrow gully one has to follow. This is another great pass to use for an ascent of Mafadi and is much more interesting than it's neighbors (Bannerman and Langalibalele).

The South African Weather Service has issued a warning for strong winds, hail- storms and lightning strikes in areas such as Greytown, Ixopo, Pietermaritzburg, Giant Castle, Underberg and the Drakensberg in general.

Source: The Witness

Please take care in the Berg as we enter the thunderstorm season!

Leslie’s Pass is a pass which is very pleasant to hike. There are some great features in this pass like the Marble Baths and the huge cliffs of the Molar towering over you near the top of the pass. It is a fairly long pass but most of the distance is covered by bushwhacking and boulder-hopping up the river. This is also the most direct non-rock pass to access Mafadi which is about 6 km south of the top of Leslie’s Pass.

This is a very difficult pass which is notorious for rock falls which have killed hikers in the past. In good weather, there shouldn’t be too much of a problem (except for the fact that it’s very steep) in climbing up Ship’s Prow Pass. The impressive “Prow” itself towers over you as you climb higher up this long pass. The pass tops out at 3300m, giving it the highest summit of any pass in the Drakensberg.

If you’re looking for great views without too much strenuous hiking involved, Gray’s Pass is a must. This is probably the best pass to use for a weekend hike in the Drakensberg and it takes the hiker deep into the throat of the Mhlawazini Valley at the base of Cathkin, Champagne Castle and Monk’s Cowl. The pass itself is relatively short which allows for a lot of time to explore the many great escarpment features in the wide valley at the top of Gray’s Pass.

You are invited to attend a

PRESENTATION AND DISCUSSION ON

ROCK ART TOURISM IN THE DRAKENSBERG

Venue: Theatre, Queen Elizabeth Park, 1 Peter Brown Drive, Pietermaritzburg
Time: 08h45 for 09h00
Catering: Teas provided, not lunch

Programme:
08h40 Arrive and have tea & coffee
09h00 Welcome and introduction (Ian Rushworth)
09h10 Presentation by Dr Mélanie Duval-Massaloux on research findings in respect of Rock Art Tourism in the Drakensberg
10h30 Tea & Coffee
11h00 Facilitated discussion and review of findings; recommendations for improved management of rock art; and options for rock art tourism
13h30 Closure and way forward (Ian Rushworth)

Queries: Ian Rushworth 082 940 1462; Jean Wagner 033 239 1514

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