Mlambonja Pass

02 Jun 2010 01:48 - 14 May 2015 19:31 #62414 by Stijn
Stijn created the topic: Mlambonja Pass

This pass is one of the more difficult passes in the Cathedral Peak area but is still used quite often. This is probably due to the fact that it is the most direct route to the escarpment from the hotel, has a large and comfortable cave at it s top (Twins cave) and is often used as the third day of a popular weekend route between Mlambonja Pass and Organ Pipes Pass.

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edit: Trip reports
www.vertical-endeavour.com/forum/drakensberg-trips/55791-organ-pipes-pass-mlambonja-pass-loop-trip-report.html
www.vertical-endeavour.com/forum/drakensberg-trips/55700-mlambonja-pass-elephant-gully-cockade-pass.html
Last Edit: 14 May 2015 19:31 by Smurfatefrog.

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03 Dec 2014 20:30 #62415 by ghaznavid
ghaznavid replied to: Mlambonja Pass
I am planning on doing Mlambonja and Cockade as a loop this weekend, should be awesome!

Re the approach to Mlambonja Pass: is there a route that follows the river up from the hotel? I have done One Tree Hill and the Neptune Pools route before, but I see what may be a trail in one of my photos. It looks overgrown in places, so if there isn't a decent trail, the routes on either side will probably be quicker.

Thanks in advance!

"Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory." - Ed Viesturs

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07 Dec 2014 21:17 - 07 Dec 2014 21:18 #62429 by ghaznavid
ghaznavid replied to: Mlambonja Pass
The simple answer is no - Neptune Pool route is the easiest walk in.

Hike report to follow. To be titled "Mist-taken Elephants".

Poem by JRR Tolkien "Oliphaunt" - kind of relevant here...

Grey as a mouse,
Big as a house,
Nose like a snake,
I make the earth shake,
As I tramp through the grass;
Trees crack as I pass.
With horns in my mouth
I walk in the South,
Flapping big ears.
Beyond count of years
I stump round and round,
Never lie on the ground,
Not even to die.
Oliphaunt am I,
Biggest of all,
Huge, old, and tall.
If ever you'd met me
You wouldn't forget me.
If you never do,
You won't think I'm true;
But old Oliphaunt am I,
And I never lie.


"Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory." - Ed Viesturs
Last Edit: 07 Dec 2014 21:18 by ghaznavid.

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08 Dec 2014 17:19 #62436 by kliktrak
kliktrak replied to: Mlambonja Pass
yeah, hectic thick mist this weekend, the impressive views from Ntunja were reduced to could-of-been-on-any-small-bump-did-you-really-summit...

Can you spot Cathkin Peak, Champagne Castle and Monks Cowl in this photo...


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03 Mar 2015 10:16 #62932 by Riaang
Riaang replied to: Mlambonja Pass
I'm planning on going up to Twins Cave next weekend, never been up Mlambonja pass before. Looking at the KZN maps there seems to be two ways to go, the first one stays closer to the river and goes pass the Xeni cave turnoff. The other is to the north of this valley and goes up One tree hill.

The plan is to take two collegues from work along who have never hiked in the Berg before. They are reasonably fit and have hiked before, just not in the Berg.

With the above in mind,I need advise on both routes. Just looking at the maps it looks like the Northern route could be the better one going up (you climb up to the lower Berg fairly quickly so get a big climb out of the way while it's not yet too hot, then you walk on around 2000 - 2100m for about 7km's till the lower path joins up with this one). Doesn't look like there is much water around though, that seems to be available only closer to the pass itself. The views from here should also be nice as you quickly gain ground.

The lower path will probably have more water but also probably more bundu bashing. Easy initial start then after about 4km's you climb up to the middle berg when the sun is already high in the sky.

Any advice and possibly photos will be much appreciated.

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03 Mar 2015 11:51 #62933 by Sabine
Sabine replied to: Mlambonja Pass
Hi Riaan,

I have a track for Mlambonja Pass, that I will send you later, when I'm at home. Not sure which route that would be though. Its the path more used.
I did the Bell Traverse last weekend and the Berg is very dry. There was no water at Twins cave or anywhere close by. The closest water is over the escarpment in the river.

Not sure how far down Mlambonja the last water is as we went down the Camel.

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03 Mar 2015 16:55 #62935 by Smurfatefrog
Smurfatefrog replied to: Mlambonja Pass
The southern route doesn't have any water from the Xeni river to the contour path, but this isn't too far (about 6km). The southern route is the more well used, in December we wanted to take the northern route but didn't even see the path.
There should be water until about half way up the pass, to maybe 2400m.

This thread will also be helpful www.vertical-endeavour.com/forum/drakensberg-trips/55659-didima-day-hiking.html

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04 Mar 2015 08:34 #62938 by Riaang
Riaang replied to: Mlambonja Pass
Thanks for the replies, think we will go up the Northern route and descend via the Southern route.

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04 Mar 2015 09:13 #62939 by intrepid
intrepid replied to: Mlambonja Pass
Hi Riaang, I have walked both approach options and I'd say the C5 route is more expedient. One Tree Hill itself can be a fairly strenuous ascent, though after you get onto the Little Berg the going is easier and the path is good - except the last descent into the Mlambonja Valley - this is steep and the path is difficult to follow in places. For the Southern option the last bit is also steep and bushy, but the path is definitely there.

Views on the One Tree Hill option are very nice for the Inner and Outer Horns. But if you want classic options looking all the way up Mlambonja Pass, once again the C5 route is better.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.

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06 Mar 2015 14:34 #62972 by Riaang
Riaang replied to: Mlambonja Pass
Looking at the terrain in Google Earth it looks like, if I take the Northern route, that you start dropping altitude at one point on the contour path as you go down to Mlambonja river. From what I can see you then drop down by basically about 200m, then you get a stretch of bundu bashing after which you arrive at the base of the pass.

I was wondering, at the point where the path turns around and starts descending, is it possible to keep going straight up along this river? (see my red line indicating the proposed route) The terrain doesn't look too difficult on the map, and at the top you link up with the Bell Traverse route. Right at the top there seems to be a path (game or human?) going in the same direction.

Anyone done this route before?

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