Berg Alert 2012

09 Jan 2012 19:36 - 10 Jan 2012 19:35 #5238 by intrepid
Berg Alert 2012 was created by intrepid
This is the place for all updates, incidents and observations relating to security issues in the Drakensberg in 2012.

The kind of thing which should be reported here:
* new incidents of theft, mugging or any kind of verbal or physical intimidation (whether it is experienced first-hand, seen in the media, or heard through the grape vine)
* new observations of the activities of shepherds, smugglers and other parties, especially as it concerns the safety of hikers and climbers.
* any other snippet of information or comment about the current state of affairs relating to security.

The purpose of this thread is to maintain a true picture of what is happening in the Berg currently, to keep a concerned Berg community informed, and to create a healthy awareness of security issues which will help others avoid problems. It is not the intention to create a media hype or undue negative publicity for the Berg, nor to harm tourism in the area, and definitely not to create prejudice against the Basotho and other locals living there.

Historical threads:
* Berg Alert 2010
* Berg Alert 2011

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 10 Jan 2012 19:35 by intrepid. Reason: changed topic icon

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10 Jan 2012 09:02 - 10 Jan 2012 09:04 #5252 by Klipspringer
Replied by Klipspringer on topic Berg Alert 2012
When we climbed Injasuthi pass and approached the chimney, there was a Basotho shepard sitting right on the very edge of the drop-off on top (when we got out I went to have a look and realised that precarious position is the only way to have a view on climbers in the gully) and he was constantly and without end blowing repetitive long wistkes. On a mountaineering wistle, which I presume he picked up somewhere - maybe somebody unknowingly dropped it. During the night. Maybe even near his tent.

However, apart from being very annoying and not responding to our friendly gestures, or even a reply whistle - this guy caused us no harm. When we exited the pass however, there was no sight of him. Much to the dismay of one of our members, who (to my great amusement) wanted to buy the whistle from him. "but how?", I asked, "We've got no money here." I received the solumn response with thousand yard stare searching the escarpment for the shepard: "Met 'n PK!!"

It was strange that he was following all our moves in the gully, not responding to us, whistling constantly and as soon as we exited the chimney and started to coil the rope he vanished.

Is this normal?

Date of incident 21 December 2011

Regards
Last edit: 10 Jan 2012 09:04 by Klipspringer.

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10 Jan 2012 12:39 - 10 Jan 2012 12:40 #5254 by SeriousTribe2
Replied by SeriousTribe2 on topic Berg Alert 2012
Yes. Positive view there Klipspringer. He 'found' the whistle. :laugh:

If you define 'normal', then I think we can help. ;)

Just think of it from the aspect of a lonely shepherd, in a vast range, with very little to do. I think 'finding' a whistle would have been a major hilight for him.

However. I do agree that the constant blowing of a whistle :pinch: whilst trying to enjoy an ascent would have elicited a 'PK' from me if I had managed to reach him... ;)
Last edit: 10 Jan 2012 12:40 by SeriousTribe2.

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10 Jan 2012 18:23 #5258 by Beuler
Replied by Beuler on topic Berg Alert 2012
Mind you at one stage it did sound like the poor deprived soul was whistling a SOS call which caused a lot of concern for the lad......until he was spotted. So the herders are being taught safe mountaineering and call signs by their cows now? :blink:

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11 Jan 2012 06:10 - 11 Jan 2012 06:12 #5260 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Berg Alert 2012
I would consider that pretty normal Klipspringer. I have been watched by Basothos while plodding up various passes many times. Often they just sit and watch. Sometimes they sing and I've had times were they were yelling something at us but have never really understood what thats about. Quite often they are just curious and hang around when you summit the pass to simply observe what you do. And of course some of the beg for sweets and food. I agree with ST2 that the whistle blowing was simply just for entertainment.

This reminds me of a time when domsmooth and I had just finished a summit traverse of all 3 of the Devils Knuckles and a subsidiary summit on the North side. We were high up on the slopes still when we observed 2 shepherds below us that hadn't seen us yet. They were in a playful mood, singing loudly, flipping cartwheels and then flopping onto the grass. They had all the time in the world and didn't seem to have a care. It was an entertaining experience that also left insights and impressions of their world and lifestyle.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 11 Jan 2012 06:12 by intrepid.

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11 Jan 2012 17:31 #5268 by Beuler
Replied by Beuler on topic Berg Alert 2012
Certainly sometimes seem like all the hussle and bussle for that car and absorbitant amounts for DSTV etc. is not worth it compared to mostly carefree life's of some existence farmers

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28 Mar 2012 08:56 #53337 by Balthazar1
Replied by Balthazar1 on topic Berg Alert 2012
Just heard on East Coast radio of an incident somewhere in the berg- party robbed of shoes/backpacks... will try get update. i missed the most of the story... anyone have more info or facts?

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28 Mar 2012 09:28 #53338 by diverian
Replied by diverian on topic Berg Alert 2012
Heard the same report, I think they mentioned the Amphitheatre, which is usually a "hot spot" for this type of crime.

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28 Mar 2012 10:04 #53339 by Mattalica
Replied by Mattalica on topic Berg Alert 2012
My friend just called me to tell me about it as I was reading this forum. He told me that an ezimvelo representative said that they are going to be doing patrols on the amphitheatre from now on. I hope they do as I am going up there just before the end of April.

The carte blanche story on livestock theft was pretty upsetting because of the threat from these criminals and now another incident with hikers.....not great.

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28 Mar 2012 10:40 - 28 Mar 2012 10:45 #53341 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Berg Alert 2012
Very interesting, I was literally just on the phone about this incident so I've also just heard about it. A couple was camping on the Amphitheatre during a heavy thunderstorm when their tent was slashed open and their boots and packs were taken. Gumboots from KZN Wildlife were carried up to them so that they could walk down. The story was also reported in Beeld over the weekend.

KZN Wildlife asks that these kinds of incidents should always please be reported to them. If they are not reported then nothing can ever be done about it. They also urge hikers to be informed and to take all precautions they can to prevent this kind of problem.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 28 Mar 2012 10:45 by intrepid.

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