Xeni Cave

15 May 2016 20:34 - 15 May 2016 22:05 #68459 by TheRealDave
Replied by TheRealDave on topic Xeni Cave
Just a little update on Xeni Cave. The water was flowing quite strongly when I was there (29 - 30 April), strongly enough for a shower. I had quite a late start on the Friday with a pregnant partner in tow, so progress was not rapid. And in the end we only reached the start of the Xeni Valley at dusk. Not to worry, I thought, we'll just follow the path, not knowing that it was a boulder hop for most of the way. So, in case anyone hadn't already supposed that taking a pregnant woman up Xeni Valley in the dark wouldn't be a good idea, I can now confirm that it is not. :blush: Thank goodness for cairns.

Anyhow, we made it. I also noticed the soot that Tony mentioned; thought it was some kind of fungus at first; but yes, burning candles doesn't seem respectful of the cave. The smaller cave round the corner is still littered with faeces, sadly. But, as Tony said, the main cave is clean and very spacious. If anyone is thinking of visiting soon, some more hay would significantly increase the comfortable sleeping area.





Out of curiosity, Tony, I notice that you mentioned that you stopped by the cave after your epic False Tseketseke descent. How did you approach: was it via the riverbed, or from the ridge above?

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Last edit: 15 May 2016 22:05 by TheRealDave.
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15 May 2016 20:54 #68462 by tonymarshall
Replied by tonymarshall on topic Xeni Cave
I followed the (unnamed) riverbed down from the descent of False Tseketseke Pass, and exited onto the Contour Path where the Contour Path crosses the river, upstream of it's junction with the Xeni River. I thus approached Xeni Cave from the ridge above, down the steep path from the Contour Path to the Cave. I had thought about following the valley the whole way back to the Mlambonja Path, but wasn't sure what obstacles there might be between the Contour Path and Xeni Cave, and had had more than enough other obstacles for the day already, so went with the path and descent down the ridge.

Guess you found lots of blackjacks in the dark Dave :(
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15 May 2016 21:10 #68463 by TheRealDave
Replied by TheRealDave on topic Xeni Cave
Haha. No, the blackjacks were more noticeable on the way out, ironically enough, but I didn't find them to be too much of a bother.

Interesting. So where exactly does the path from above enter the cave - by the smaller cave? I tried to follow that path out to see if it went up, but it just seemed to disappear into the bush. Or is it the other path going out to the left (if you're looking out from the main cave), which also just seemed to peter out after a while?

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16 May 2016 07:15 #68464 by tonymarshall
Replied by tonymarshall on topic Xeni Cave
The path up to the Contour Path leaves the cave to the left, or upstream, and the first part is the same as the path coming up to the cave from the Xeni River. It forks off left from the Xeni River path, and contours a while along the ridge before turning sharply left and going steeply up the ridge to the Contour Path, with the junction at the Contour Path not that obvious although there is a small cairn there. I think this is because different groups use different approaches to/from the Contour Path, and there is no distinct trail joining/leaving the Contour Path.
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16 May 2016 23:09 #68478 by TheRealDave
Replied by TheRealDave on topic Xeni Cave
Ah. Thanks. I was wondering because I thought that that might be a nice alternative route to and from Xeni and Cockade passes. But I guess it would only really be on the way if you were ascending or descending False Tseketseke Pass, which I gather is not about to become a regular route. Anyhow, good to know it's there in case of late starts or storms, etc.

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03 Aug 2021 10:00 #77075 by Walkfree
Replied by Walkfree on topic Xeni Cave
I am planning a lower berg hike with the Xeni Cave in mind. I see on the map that the approach from the top is marked as dangerous. I am taking my 12 year old daughter so safety is a concern. I have done solo trips on other paths marked as dangerous and I realise that the 'dangerous' sections are subjective, for example I dont consider the 'dangerous' section on the Camel to be bad at all. However, I dont want to get into a situation that will be treacherous while hiking with my daughter. Any advice will greatly appreciated!

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03 Aug 2021 10:21 #77076 by Smurfatefrog
Replied by Smurfatefrog on topic Xeni Cave
nah, its not bad at all compared to passes. I remember one really minor scramble which is more like a few rock steps on eroded ground.
This is looking down it. You'll have more issues with the contour path between there and the base of Cockade pass

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03 Aug 2021 10:31 #77077 by Walkfree
Replied by Walkfree on topic Xeni Cave
It does not look bad, thank you for attaching the photo!

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13 Aug 2021 13:17 - 13 Aug 2021 13:23 #77085 by Riaang
Replied by Riaang on topic Xeni Cave
@Walkfree,

The walk-in from the hotel is ok. Note that in wet conditions the walk up the riverbed section could be slippery, depending on how full the river is. I've done it in both the dry (walk n the park) and the wet. If you don't mind getting your boots wet then it's no problem, but if you want to keep your feet dry, be careful of slippery rocks that could be spaced rather far apart in places.

The climb up to the cave itself is fairly steep on small rocks so could be slippery, just stay with your daughter on this section as this could be unsettling to some people.

The one dodgy section is the climb out of the cave to the contour path, should you want to enter or exit this way. The dodgy section is only for a 20m stretch or so, but it is properly steep. When I took my kids up here they found it a bit unstelling and as it was wet they couldn't get up one or two rocky sections so I had to assist them at this section. It's quite a distance from here to the bottom of the riverbed should you slip and slide here. As always, conditions on the day would determine the degree of difficulty, just be aware of this. To take the section on the Camel as an example. In the dry it's a walk in the park - I've even hopped over it on one leg just to prove my point to a scared hiker. On the other hand, I've had it iced up and caked in mud, in which case I had to upclimb the little hilly section above it to get past the obstacle.

Here's my kids just past the really steep section, which basically ended at the tree to the left of the blue arrow. 
Enjoy!!!
 

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Last edit: 13 Aug 2021 13:23 by Riaang.

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20 Aug 2021 17:47 #77106 by Walkfree
Replied by Walkfree on topic Xeni Cave
Thanks Riaang , all points noted , great to see your photos with youngsters enjoying the best part of our country

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