Grand Traverse Permits

26 Nov 2008 15:41 #239 by 1/2pint
Hi Guys

Could anybody please help me with organising permits and park fees for a grand traverse? This seemingly simple task has got me pulling my hair out:angry: It seems the three parks you traverse are all operated independently, and KZN Wildlife isn't even aware that you are able to walk from one side of the Berg to the other!

Does anybody know what the adventure racing guys did in this regard earlier this month?

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26 Nov 2008 22:05 #240 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Grand Traverse Permits
Currently there is not much of a permit system. Technically most of the traverse is right on the border, or in Lesotho, so even though the managing authorities are aware of the GT, they currently don't and can't regulate it.

You can expect to pay in the region of R75 or a little more at Sentinel Car Park, which is what they charge for GT's, mini-traverses to Cathedral Peak / Monk's Cowl, or if you head north towards Golden Gate. The money collected at Sentinel currently goes to a local chief. This is a bit of an issue since the top of the Amphitheatre is managed by KZN Wildlife and anyone needing rescue there is not refused it, even though none of the permit money currently goes towards this.

The guys who did the race did not tie up with KZN Wildlife, as far as I know. KZN Wildlife only got to hear about them as a result of all the phone calls that went around when people started dropping out.

I can suggest that you submit a mountain rescue register to KZN Wildlife just before you do it. A good person to speak to would be Eduard Goosen (036-4386423), who manages the northern Berg. If you are really troubled about the permit issue you could bounce it off him too.

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

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27 Nov 2008 12:58 #241 by Stijn
Replied by Stijn on topic Grand Traverse Permits
As far as I know, the participants of the recent race sent Gary (who lives nearby) to go pay their R30pppn to KZN Wildlife at Giant's Castle Main Camp so that they would officially be covered in the case of rescue.

However, I believe the staff there were not very flexible with the payment and would not grant permits to hikers who weren't starting their hikes at Giant's Castle Main Camp.

Thanks for that contact - will come in handy for future traverses... I've always just paid my R75 at the Sentinel, blissfully unaware that my money was not going towards the rescue fund :blush:

1/2pint - please let us know what you manage to arrange.

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27 Nov 2008 14:14 - 27 Nov 2008 14:30 #242 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Grand Traverse Permits
Oh, I must have missed that in the blog, Stijn. At least it was an honest attempt to contribute to the rescue fund. In a way I can understand why the staff didn't know what to do with it. The GT is not regulated in any way. And with a lot of it being in Lesotho it's not a straightforward issue.

I think the channel through which this may one day be addressed would be the Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Project, as it would involve both countries.

From what I understand, between KZN Wildlife and Mountain Rescue, there will always be some kind of assistance offered, even if you are "in" Lesotho, on a GT, and where you've only paid the guys at Sentinel.

It's always good to leave the rescue register with someone other than the guys at Sentinel. I once finished a GT and tried to phone but couldn't get through. No-one ever tried to get hold of me. The guys change shifts and after a week or two the register easily gets buried among the others.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 27 Nov 2008 14:30 by intrepid.

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27 Nov 2008 15:42 #243 by 1/2pint
Replied by 1/2pint on topic Grand Traverse Permits
Thanks guys that explains alot. Intrepid I will definately give that number a call. I will also give KZN wildlife a call and see what i can organise for my back up crew at the other two entrances. Will keep you posted.B)

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10 Apr 2012 09:02 #53471 by mountain bear
hi guys - the last posts i read on permit fees for a grand traverse were in 2008 - has anything changed ? should one pay at the sentinal for the whole hike or do you have to pay per area you go through ?

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10 Apr 2012 10:41 #53474 by Geordie
Replied by Geordie on topic Grand Traverse Permits
Wow, you are going to spark off a lot of debate on this one.

Firstly a very senior member of mountain rescue advised me against paying for the entire hike at Sentinel. Firstly you are only in their territory for about half a day, then there is the question of where the money actually goes (They are not KZN parks board). At times they did not even issue recites.
They do however have two rates, one for day trippers and one for camping, regardless of the number of nights, so just pay the camping.

OK, so now you are out of the Sentinel territory, KZN has no way of knowing that you are up there and, I am not 100% sure of your situation should a rescue need to be called for. Oh, they will come and rescue you for sure, but who pays if you did not pay you mountain fees??? And where would you pay them, Cathedral peak? Giants?

Also, you will spend 95% of your walk in Lesotho anyway, so again, who do you pay and who rescues you??

What I would do.
Declare you entire journey in the book at Sentinel, pay their camping fee per person (If he asks just say 1 night), then make Mountain Rescue aware of your route and departure and arrival dates and let them know when you have finished. Then collect the fees that you would have paid and send them to Mountain Rescue as a donation.

Carry you passports.

I am not sure what happens if you start at Bushmen’s.

Let hear what others have to say.

Regards
G

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11 Apr 2012 07:50 #53497 by mountain bear
thank you geordie - yes it does seem strange - i know that the money collected at sentinal goes to a chief - well that is what i have been told - i wish they would give one fee divided up by the powers that be for a grand traverse - its such a amazing hike and should be suported by all involved - perhaps we should try to get this hike on the map as a route or set path - for those who want to do it - any thoughts ?
The following user(s) said Thank You: Geordie

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11 Apr 2012 09:08 #53501 by Geordie
Replied by Geordie on topic Grand Traverse Permits
To tell the truth, I like keeping the GT well "Under the radar", the thought of unprepared, ill disciplined folk attempting this just because it sounds like a joll, leaves me a little cold.
Being a bit of an old fart I like the “exclusive club" aspect to the GT, with those wanting entry to pay in blood and sweat. Ok, don't take me too seriously.
As a veteran of two successful Gt's, I remain available to advise those who really want to do this amazing trip.
Regarding permits, then I'll stick my neck out and say that they not required except for the first and last km or two. In fact you will probably (technically) be illegally in Lesotho anyway. Another good reason not to formalise the GT, can you imagine the authorities on that one!
I would really like to hear your thoughts on”Perhaps we should try to get this hike on the map as a route or set path - for those who want to do it" once you have done your trip. I suspect that you may have a different opinion, but I may be wrong .
If the rescue and or permit thing bothers you then have a chat to the mountain rescue chaps to see where you stand should an evacuation be needed anywhere along the route. See PM.
If you need advice or GPS tracks, please don't hesitate to ask
Regards
G
G

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11 Apr 2012 09:21 #53503 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Grand Traverse Permits
10 days till I do the GT for the first time (with Mountain Backpackers) :woohoo: any last minute tips? :)

Anyone have an idea how many people have done a full GT? I can't see how it could even be as much as 3000 people, if roughly 60 people do it each year and 2 out of 3 have done it before, thats 20 first timers a year and it has only been done in the last 100 years (with nowhere near 20 first timers per year in the early days).

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