Tribute to Meridy of the Mountains
"Wilderness is like the Tao; it is the Way of no way… " Quote by Meridy Pfotenhauer, September 2016
Meridy Pfotenhauer passed away peacefully in Pietermaritzburg, on 4 September 2017, at the age of 67. Her life was dedicated to the Drakensberg mountains – a World Heritage Site of mountain wilderness, magnificent scenery, sparkling rivers, fascinating Bushmen rock art, and local communities who were mentors and friends.
A personal report back on the 2014 X-Berg Challenge
The X-Berg challenge is a fresh concept developed by Pierre Carter. It is a race that traverses the Drakensberg from the top of Oliviershoek Pass, through to Underberg, with six checkpoints along the way. A twist is that you can either go on foot, use a bicycle or a paraglider. Once you chose your means of transport, you are stuck with that for the rest of the race. It is a simple trade-off of going for a lightweight run, or taking the extra weight up the hills to go faster down them.
Treasure of the Nation under threat!
Our name for our mountains, and the culture of our communities who live in the valleys, is Amagug’esizwe (Treasure of the Nation). The mountains of the AmaZizi and the AmaNgwane lie between the two sections of the Maloti-Drakensberg World Heritage Site. One day we hope that our mountains can also be a world heritage site – A Living Cultural World Heritage Site. We have done a lot of work to help identify a Community Nature Reserve with a wilderness area. Our name for wilderness is ihlane .Now a cableway is being proposed for the AmaZizi Busingatha Valley. This is in the middle of the AmaZizi wilderness. Our traditional AmaZizi leadership and its people are much disturbed.
White Elephants Shouldn't Roam the Berg
The idea of a cable car in the Drakensberg is not new. It has however recently received fresh impetus and media attention. Various locations for the project have been considered, in particular the Mnweni area situated in the Northern Drakensberg. As a group of concerned people who are very familiar with the Mnweni, and who cumulatively have been exploring the Drakensberg for many decades, we are concerned that this project will become a white elephant should it go ahead. We believe the idea is particularly unsuited to the Mnweni and that it is neither sustainable nor desirable in the Berg as a whole.
Mont-Aux-Sources Challenge 2011
Every year, the 50km race to the top of Tugela Falls and back from Royal Natal National Park, takes place in September. The number of participants is limited and selected. The route ascends Gudu Pass to Witsieshoek, up to Sentinel Car Park along the road, after which the Falls are reached via the Chain Ladders. Descent is via The Gully and back along the same way. This year's event was held on the 10th and was won by Lance Chapman in a time of 05:04:59. For more information visit the official website. A personal account by one of the participants, with pictures, can be read on this blog.
Mnweni Marathon 2011
May the 14th 2011 saw the running of the annual Mnweni Marathon – that epic mountain race which pits body and mind against the Drakensberg terrain, the altitude, the weather, your training or lack thereof, your hidden masochistic tendencies, the clock, and above all, your desire to get high on life / endorphins / adrenalin / cataflam. The circular route is easily described in one sentence: run up the Mnweni valley and pass, run down Rockeries Pass and the Ntonjelane valley back home – overall distance 38Km, altitude gain to the summit 1600m (stats may vary, depending on how officially lost or found you were at any given moment of the self-navigated route). The trials and tribulations of the day, and each participant’s unique tale of conquering the Mnweni could fill a chapter.
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife Website
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.
Lightning hotspots warning
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!
Invitation to a Rock Art and Tourism Presentation
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
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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