Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife would like to draw attention to the fact that conditions in the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site are extremely dry and that there is an extremely high risk of fires. Hikers are advised to contact the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife conservation staff in the area they wish to hike to get relevant information about existing conditions.
In addition all hikers are requested to be extremely cautious about the use of their camping stoves and the use of anything producing a naked flame such as matches or cigarette lighters. Under no circumstances are open fires permitted anywhere in the Park other than in demarcated areas such as picnic and camping sites. Visitors wishing to light braai-fires at picnic or camp-sites should consider the prevailing wind-strength before doing so as many runaway-fires have been started by braai-fires being lit in windy conditions. Cigarette butts should be properly extinguished and carried away with all other refuse. The burning of toilet paper is also discouraged at present.
Hikers are also cautioned to keep the possibility of runaway fires in mind when setting up their overnight camps and to choose a site that offers easy escape in the event of a fire. Camping near to already-burnt areas does offer a degree of safety.
Hikers are also cautioned to consider their own security measures when hiking in the High ‘Berg as it is impossible for Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife to ensure constant security throughout the 260 000 ha Park.
In addition to properly filling in the appropriate Mountain Rescue or Hiking Registers, overnight hikers should move in groups as large as possible - groups no smaller than four people are recommended - and should consider a night-watch.
Emergency telephone/cellular numbers are posted at the various Mountain Rescue Register points and these should be noted by all members of each party.
AJG/ Media Release No: 2010 - 06 15/09/201