Berg Alert 2011

13 Apr 2011 19:18 - 13 Apr 2011 19:48 #2699 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Re: Berg Alert 2011
In Feb 2011 I was climbing up Langalibalele Pass. There was cloud cover around 50m above us, as we went up the pass, the mist also moved up. On the last easy strech of the pass the mist lifted completely and we could see the top. Shortly after that some rocks were thrown at us (the first one hit my back pack resulting in me almost falling over), we prayed for protection and it stopped immediately. On reaching the top the mist came down and we could see some Basotho horses and 1 rider, so we thought after the rocks being thrown at us we thought it is best to turn back (I didn't know you can do this pass in 1 day!).
Last edit: 13 Apr 2011 19:48 by intrepid.

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13 Apr 2011 19:56 #2703 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Re: Berg Alert 2011
Thanks ghaznavid, this is a very important update! This kind of thing happens on Bannerman Pass too. Everything I've said about Giant's Castle area being quiet the last while...so much for that! Did you report this to anyone at KZN Wildlife?

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

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18 Apr 2011 19:57 #2736 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Re: Berg Alert 2011
i wasn't sure who to report it to, what do you normally do after these situations? I am hoping to climb langalibilele (or bannerman if the weather isn't looking good) this weekend, i have been trying to climb popple peak and on my last 2 attempts weather/rocks thrown at us has stopped me from achieving this.

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23 Apr 2011 16:59 #2760 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Re: Berg Alert 2011
Always report this to the Conservation Manager (officer in charge) of the area you are in and preferably even the Senior Conservation Manager for that area. See link below for all relevant contact details:
www.vertical-endeavour.com/blog/33-drakensberg/general/170-contact-details-for-the-ukhahlamba-drakensberg-park.html

You can contact them telephonically (even while you are on the scene), or ask to speak to them directly after the hike. Do not simply report things to the receptionist or similar. And report things on this site too - this keeps the rest of us informed, and things reported and discussed here do get forwarded to the relevant people sometimes (as it will in this particular case).

If a criminal offence has been committed, you should also report it to the police and open up a case. Even if it is something small, I believe this is vital. Too many things happen ongoingly (like the theft at the Amphitheatre) and not much gets done about it because the right people are never informed.

For everyone reading this, be encouraged to get involved by actively reporting things you see and encounter (and it doesn't just have to be security incidents). Contact the relevant authorities, report things, ask questions and be interested - not in a critical manner but in a concerned and co-operative manner.

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

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01 Aug 2011 06:41 - 01 Aug 2011 13:12 #3481 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Re: Berg Alert 2011
There has been an incident at Cathedral Peak. This is third-hand information, but the details I have currently where that 3 hikers were camping at the summit of Organ Pipes Pass on Sunday, July 17th. It appears they were close to the trail since there was lots of smuggler-traffic that evening but the interactions were friendly. During the night 2 of their packs were stolen from the tent. The hikers appear not to have been wakened. One of the packs had their car keys which caused further complications.

If anyone has more information about this incident, please let us know! Again a reminder to everyone, please report this kind of thing both to KZN Wildlife and the police (for this incident a case should be opened). Even if you think they don't care, it is imperative that the reports and statistics for this problem are officially recorded, else we can never properly do anything about it.

I also appeal to everyone NOT to camp directly at the summit of Organ Pipes Pass, the Thuthumi Lookout Hut, The Neck, nor the campsite at junction C12 (bottom of Phillip's Folly). The smuggler-traffic is very high along this route.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 01 Aug 2011 13:12 by intrepid.

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09 Jan 2012 20:25 - 09 Jan 2012 20:48 #5242 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Re: Berg Alert 2011
Herewith ends this thread. Please only post new messages here if it relates to incidents which occurred in 2011. A new thread for 2012 has been created here .

The beginning of 2011 saw much heated debate in some circles over an incident which took place in December 2010. A group of hikers were allegedly harassed by some Basothos at the top of Mashai Pass, on the way to The Rhino. There were different stories on what exactly happened up there. There was also some intense discussion on whether or not the Basothos up there should be seen as a threat, and what should be done about it. Since then, things appear to be have been quiet on that front. I have heard no further reports. A warning still stands, in my opinion, that anyone heading up there should be aware that the shepherds there anticipate the visits, and that the manner in which they attempt to get something from you may come across as aggressive and threatening. I think it best to avoid going up there alone, and if you really insist on camping near the pass, that you take all your gear into your tent with you at night.

Giant's Castle had another case of stone-throwing at hikers coming up one of the passes. This is the third case I have heard of, two of which are now documented on this site by people that were there. Two of the cases have been on Bannerman Pass, and this recent one in Langalibalele. Thankfully though we have seen another year free of violent ambush and serious robbery/theft in this area since the bleak period a few years back. The writing is still on the wall however, given 2 cases of stone-throwing in 3 years (in addition to the fact that security problems have a long history in this area), and I maintain a call for full and sober caution in this area. Do not hike alone there. Be informed, alert, prepared.

Smuggling across the entire Berg continues, and encounters with smugglers is nothing unusual. Given the popularity of the Organ Pipes area among hikers and smugglers alike, it is inevitable that problems arise there from time to time, as was the case again in 2011 (backpacks being stolen from a tent at the top of the pass). Be advised to rather avoid camping near the top of the pass and anywhere along the route, even all the way through Ndedema Gorge. And it is very risky leaving gear unattended.

Tugela Falls: as usual, no concrete reports or statistics but business as usual! I'm pretty sure that 2011 saw the usual offerings of gear, boots and backpacks. Throw in a tent-slashing or two. The warning stays, and I think the area still remains the No. 1 hotspot in the Berg!

In comparison to the troubling incidents on Table Mountain and in the Magaliesberg, the Berg seems less of a problem right now. Lets hope 2012 confirms this.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 09 Jan 2012 20:48 by intrepid.

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09 Jan 2012 20:33 #5244 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Re: Berg Alert 2011
On the Mashai Pass topic - on a trip that included a sick Ghaznavid causing his Garden Castle success rate to drop even further, the rest of the group made it to the summit of Mashai Pass (it was October 2011), no Basotho's where spotted at the top. Although this may have been due to the ridiculous wind on the day...

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09 Jan 2012 20:54 #5245 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Re: Berg Alert 2011
Was up there in April and also didn't see any Basuths. They are not always around, but can be expected at any time. The weather seems to bother us more than it does them.

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

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