Water Watch 2021

14 Feb 2021 07:33 #76504 by cameroninggs
Hey VE.
It has been a while!

Im coming up from Cape Town for a 3 day in the Cobham area.
I have been watching the rainfall closely, seems like you guys up north should start hiking with snorkles instead of trekking poles!

Has anyone got some info regarding the rivers in Cobham? In particular wanting to get to Pholela Cave/ Pholela River.

thanks so much

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14 Feb 2021 08:47 #76505 by elinda
Replied by elinda on topic Water Watch 2021
Hello cameroninggs

I was in the Cobham area a week ago and the rivers were very full. As we were going to Lakes Cave we did not have to cross the Pholela, but here is a photo to give you an idea.

I think the best is to prepare for lots of water , be safe and enjoy!

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15 Feb 2021 15:47 #76508 by cameroninggs
Replied by cameroninggs on topic Water Watch 2021
Thanks so much.
Rivers look full but crossing should be fine, may just need to look for a spot.
Will give some feedback when we get back on the state of the litter mentioned in the comments

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18 Feb 2021 21:41 - 24 Feb 2021 18:44 #76527 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Water Watch 2021
The aim of Water Watch is to help in the planning of hiking trips to the Drakensberg, based on water availability along trails and at caves and camp spots. This becomes particularly relevant some time during the winter, and water-scarce conditions often persist through to November.

The main use of these threads has been question-based, i.e. people ask what the known water availability is when planning an upcoming trip. To a lesser extent people have proactively posted observations from trips they have just done. This is something that is encouraged as it would be great to see more of this proactive approach. It will reduce the need to ask questions and it will also help us develop a general awareness for given locations. It may be viable to formulate a list of critical locations (for example Bell Cave and Twins Cave) which people can then very quickly report back on if they have been there recently.

Lastly, these threads have at times been used for discussion on rainfall amounts, and the threads have seen active discussions during the rainy months. This is another area of growth that is encouraged. We have seen this with the Snow Watch threads and it is nice to see an interest and awareness of weather-related knowledge on this forum.

Historical Water Watch threads:
Water Watch 2015
Water Watch 2016
Water Watch 2017
Water Watch 2018
Water Watch 2019
Water Watch 2020

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 24 Feb 2021 18:44 by intrepid. Reason: typo

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23 Feb 2021 10:03 #76549 by Serious tribe
Replied by Serious tribe on topic Water Watch 2021
Right now, the whole place seems to be streaming with water, which bodes well for the water supply for the entire year.

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23 Feb 2021 12:16 #76551 by MikeLima
Replied by MikeLima on topic Water Watch 2021
Hi All,

A mate and myself went to Cobham during the last weekend in Jan21 (it still is my favourite spot).

Rivers and bush were insane... stayed at Spectacle and wouldn't recommend it in the current state.
Everything was soaked, apart from space for us two, and even then; we had to put a tarp up to stop the spray from getting our sleeping bags damp.

The waterfall is so incredibly loud and full, we couldn't hear ourselves think, let alone shout.
We ended up using the lower level to cook etc, but it really wasn't pleasant.

River crossings were up to mid-thigh, except where the river splits towards pholela/lakes...most others were boots-off situations.
Some of the trail sections are very overgrown with Ouhoud etc, but not impossible.

Enjoy ;)
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27 Feb 2021 20:41 #76566 by tonymarshall
Replied by tonymarshall on topic Water Watch 2021
Early in February Christinejvr and tonymarshall went up the road from Mnweni along the Ntonjelane River, and then along the lower path section of Rockeries Pass, before going up a sidestream to Mnweni Needles Pass.

From the road we could see that there had been a lot of water down the river after the rains, but it was quite a shock to get to the river crossing (the one when coming down from Rockeries Pass where you cross from the right to the left of the Ntonjelane River) and see the changes. All the trees and bush in the river area have been washed away, and it is just a vast area of boulders with the river course now changed from before.

I don't have good photos showing what this area looked like previously, but these two photos from a hike in the area in 2014 with Sabine and Cathy show the general amount of bush and trees at this area of the Ntonjelane River.




Photos below show the river crossing area now.







We had lunch at the river crossing, and a large group going up Rockeries Pass came past us, which gives some impression of the scale in the photos with people in them. It was quite difficult to cross the river which was quite full, although there is hardly any water visible in the photos, and it is scary to imagine the amount of water and height of the water that passed here during the flood.

When we got back to MCC after our hike, Leonard told us that the flood occurred one night in the first week of February, and that the noise of the boulders in the river being moved around by the floodwaters could be heard from the Cultural Centre. Although we did not get very close to the upper Mnweni River on our hike, it was evident from a distance that the Mnweni valley had experienced similar flooding to what we had seen close up in the Ntonjelane and Nceda valleys, and all of the sidestreams we passed by.

Sabine also told me that she observed severe flooding in the Mlambonja River at the Contour Path during a hike at Didima in February, so it seems that the Mnweni/Didima areas in general experienced this abnormal flooding.

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01 Mar 2021 08:43 #76569 by Smurfatefrog
Replied by Smurfatefrog on topic Water Watch 2021
We did the Bell Traverse and Mlambonja this weekend, similar experience.
Quite a few washaways, and water everywhere! Will post info in the Bell traverse thread

We had no chance of crossing the Mlambonja river by the hotel.
The Xeni and Tseke rivers yesterday were tricky enough, having to walk a bit to find suitable crossing spots. Evidence of destroyed trees and the water level being unbelievably high!

Mlambonja at the contour path


A bit further down by the zigzags

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Yesterday 19:14 #76573 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Water Watch 2021
If anyone has been to Tseketseke Hut recently, or is going there, please post some photos here. I hope the undermining of the hut hasn't been worsened by these high water levels!

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

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