An interesting alternative route if you've done the Organ Pipes thing too often. This route is well used by Basothos as can be seen by the eroded path but don't let this keep you away from checking it out. There are some impressive views of the Ndumeni Dome cliffs and the back of the Organ Pipes on offer and it is a very direct route to (or from) the Didima Gorge.


Rating:
* * * (5/10)
Difficulty of the pass is rated from 1-10 (10 being very difficult, only to be attempted by the fit and experienced). A subjective quality rating is indicated by the number of stars (1 being low, 5 being the highest). Factors such as scenic beauty and overall experience come into play here, which may differ from person to person.

Access:
Thuthumi Pass is most directly accessed from the top of Mike’s Pass. Follow the contour path to the Organ Pipes Pass junction (The Nek) and the Thuthumi Pass path branches off to the right, about 50m further on.

Details:
The distance from the contour path to the top of Thuthumi Pass is 7 km with an altitude gain of 1000m.

Route:
Note that the route marked on the official Natal Drakensberg Park Map No. 2 is incorrect. From just past "The Nek" on the contour path, the well-defined path contours towards the Thuthumi River  for 4km at an altitude of 2100m. Cross the river and then climb up the left-hand banks for most of the way up. Just after a small waterfall, the path veers back towards the river and then you'll find a maze of erosion heading upwards. The clear path heads off to the left at about 3000m. This route takes you to the escarpment South of Ndumeni Dome. If the top of Thuthumi Pass is your goal, aim directly for the grassy saddle between the Organ Pipes and Ndumeni Dome. Once this saddle is reached, you will see a descent, followed by a steep climb to the final saddle and the top of the pass. There is a vague path heading all the way through this dip, past the Ndumeni Caves to top out high on the slopes of Ndumeni Dome at 3100m.

Finding the pass from the escarpment:
From the river valley on the escarpment between Cleft Peak and Ndumeni Dome, you will see a smaller tributary coming from the escarpment edge, high up on the Ndumeni Dome, south of Windy Gap. Follow this tributary to the edge of the escarpment, where some cairns and a clear path will point you in the right direction.

Overnight Spots:
There are 3 caves near the top of the pass which offer good shelter. The best one by far is Roland's Cave which sleeps 8 and has a sunrise view which rivals Mponjwane Cave in the Mnweni Area. To find this cave, head straight up the slopes of Ndumeni Dome from the top of the pass, staying close to the edge of the escarpment. About 50 vertical metres above the top of the pass, there is a small ledge with a path heading off the escarpment edge. Follow this ledge (with care!) for about 50m to this perfect cave. If you fail to locate Roland's Cave, there are the Ndumeni Caves on the Thuthumi Pass Path, 50m before you reach the top. These are far smaller (sleeping 3 and 4 respectively) and can be quite exposed to the elements. Otherwise, just camp on the escarpment.

Water:
The path crosses the main river and some tributaries at regular intervals on the way up (up to 2700m in Summer) but these may be dry in other seasons. Water can also be found in the large river behind Windy Gap, 500m from the top of Thuthumi Pass.

 

Forum Topic:

More info can be found on the forum here:

http://www.vertical-endeavour.com/forum/11-drakensberg-passes/55505-thuthumi-pass.html

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