Xeni Cave

15 Apr 2009 09:04 #412 by bergbees
bergbees created the topic: Xeni Cave
Hiked the Cathederal Contour Path this weekend from Orange Peal Gap all the way to Ribbon Falls. We tented all the way.

I did not see Xeni Cave for myself but 2 of our party dropped down the contour to check it out.

Sad to say hikers where using it and making a mess and they where using the secondary cave as a toilet.

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15 Apr 2009 15:18 #413 by intrepid
intrepid replied to: Re:Xeni Cave
I recall that Xeni Cave has suffered that abuse for many years already, in particular the "toilet cave". The organisation Bergwatch had a cave-monitoring programme running, which included on-site visits to the caves while hikers were staying in them. I'm not sure if this is still running. KZN Wildlife are conducting a systematic evaluation of the condition of caves and trails. This can in some cases lead to temporary closing of caves and trails in order to let the area recuperate. I'm not sure if they would ever close Xeni Cave though.

Not sure what the best solution would be in cases such as these: does one close the cave, or launch an education campaign aimed at hikers setting out to use it, or does one police those already using it? Thoughts anyone?

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

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16 Apr 2009 15:32 #414 by Kerri
Kerri replied to: Re:Xeni Cave
Stun gun and a black list for such hikers.

I encountered a scribble in the rock at marble baths that someone had written telling a fellow hiker that they were "at cave".

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17 Apr 2009 19:55 - 17 Apr 2009 19:57 #416 by ClimbyKel
ClimbyKel replied to: Re:Xeni Cave
Are there stiff fines for littering, or for abuse of the area and/or caves? In Canada, fines for such environmental abuse are very severe, and although it serves as an unlikey solution without the true threat of enforcement, it is certainly a deterrent. If busted for this kind of activity by a park ranger here, fines could be in the thousands of dollars (which is a lot in Canadian funds), or you can be criminally charged.

:unsure:
Last Edit: 17 Apr 2009 19:57 by ClimbyKel.

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18 Apr 2009 19:49 #417 by intrepid
intrepid replied to: Re:Xeni Cave
Theoretically such fines could be imposed since there are laws and acts in place which would empower KZN Wildlife to do that. I've never heard of it happening though.

There used to be a system whereby people from Bergwatch would check up on certain caves after hikers had been there. If there was a mess, the hikers would be contacted (details taken from the rescue register), and asked to return and clean the cave. I've also seen a "name and shame" system some years back, whereby pictures of the mess would be posted on the notice boards, along with the names of those who made it. If I remember correctly, I've even seen this in connection with Xeni Cave before.

I have no idea how effective this was. Obviously it required active policing and manpower, and unfortunately the authorities seem to have their hands full chasing the smugglers these days. Though, I think a short list of popular caves which are easy to walk to, could be checked on regularly by patrols. I will look into the matter a little more and see what systems are in place (other than the systematic evaluation of trails and caves already taking place).

A lot can be also said about concerned hikers, such as we are, taking ownership and doing whatever we can about the problem. This includes things such cleaning up caves ourselves, reporting it to the authorities (and following it up), talking to other hikers about it, and even confronting culprits at times.

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

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28 Apr 2016 16:38 #68080 by Dave
Dave replied to: Xeni Cave
Does anyone know what the condition of Xeni Cave is nowadays? Planning on sleeping there tomorrow night.

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28 Apr 2016 16:49 #68081 by tonymarshall
tonymarshall replied to: Xeni Cave
I passed through the cave and had lunch there about a month ago, and it was clean and usable, although people had been using the path as a toilet judging by the toilet paper lying around.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Dave

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28 Apr 2016 17:06 #68082 by Dave
Dave replied to: Xeni Cave
Thanks Tony. Much appreciated.

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29 Apr 2016 06:35 #68093 by Richard Hunt
Richard Hunt replied to: Xeni Cave
@ Tony: hi Tony, was there water flowing over the cave, when we passed there earlier this year there was no water, and those staying there would have to have hauled it up the hill from the river below!!

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29 Apr 2016 08:01 #68097 by tonymarshall
tonymarshall replied to: Xeni Cave
Hi Richard, yes, the waterfall was flowing, not strongly but quite enough for me to have a hand wash just downstream of the cave, and fill a water bottle without any hassle.

I didn't mention in the earlier post, although the cave is clean and usable, there is a huge pile of ashes at the front, so many people are making fires again, totally against the rules (this was also discussed on another thread), and I was very annoyed to see lots of candle smoke soot all over the back of the cave from people burning candles on the rock ledges at the sleeping area.

Something else that surprised me was how infested the valley downstream of the cave to the Mlambonja path is with blackjacks. Thank goodness for shorts and gaiters.

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