Berg Alert 2014

08 Jan 2014 18:09 #59345 by intrepid
Berg Alert 2014 was created by intrepid
This is the place for all updates, incidents and observations relating to security issues in the Drakensberg in 2014.

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
* Berg Alert 2012
* Berg Alert 2013

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

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08 Jan 2014 20:14 #59350 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Berg Alert 2014
On Thursday night and Friday night last week, myself, Firephish and Hobbit camped in the Langies and Jarateng valleys in Lesotho (we camped near the confluence of the Langies and Jarateng rivers on the 1st night). Locals had become aware of our position on both occasions having come and visited us near our tents. We also encountered many locals along the way. No troubles at all, well aside from some of their dogs threatening us as we walked past empty homes whose owners would have been off looking after their livestock. Standing in a group and threatening to throw rocks at the dogs did the trick on those occasions.

We did hear dogs on Friday night throughout the night - but overall no troubles.

It was nice to spend time in these notorious valleys without issue!

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09 Jan 2014 05:46 #59352 by Viking
Replied by Viking on topic Berg Alert 2014
I camped near the river in the narrow valley behind Erskine (Not the wisest choice I realise) on the night of 27 Dec last. We saw numerous animals and at least two shepherds. There were three of us and one tent.
At about 12:45am, I woke (I am a very light sleeper) to the sound of a low whistle which seemed close to the tent considering how narrow that little valley is. This was almost immediately followed by an answering whistle, different in tone and length to the first, on the other side of the tent.

This got me feeling a little uncomfortable, so two of us got out the tent and shone our head-lamps around. We saw nothing. It was still very dark with the moon only rising at around 2am, which made visibility a lot better. Still feeling slightly unnerved we then took turns on watch for an hour at a time each until sunrise. There were no further incidents.

What the intentions of said whistlers were, I'll never know, perhaps an attempt at opportunistic theft or plain old adventurous curiosity. I'd like to think the latter. That being said, we had no gear outside the tent and our wet packs and jackets were roped together in the bell and we were all cuddling our boots inside!!

“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!”

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13 Jan 2014 02:01 #59373 by Serious tribe
Replied by Serious tribe on topic Berg Alert 2014
Animal calls perhaps?

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13 Jan 2014 05:52 #59379 by Viking
Replied by Viking on topic Berg Alert 2014
@ Serious Tribe - no they were most definitely human.

“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!”

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21 Jan 2014 13:49 #59484 by 5haunporter
Replied by 5haunporter on topic Berg Alert 2014
Myself and a friend decided to do the Amphitheatre via the chain ladder.

We made in up from the Sentinel car park to the top on the first day and made our way to the Tugela Falls. We pitched camp right by the falls on the right of the river. We saw 3 Basotho's on the Amphitheatre around dusk but had no trouble that night. On the second night, we pitched camp far right of the Amphithreatre near Ribon Falls. Just before dusk, same story as the night before. As we were having dinner, we noticed 3 Basotho males again walking towards the edge about 500m from us, roughly the same spot they went to the day before. 15 min later they moved back inland and we didnt have any incident that night too.

Next day we packed up and walked further South before heading back to Tugela falls area for our last night. On the way back from the lookout point at around 3PM, we stopped over at Ribon Falls to clean up and cool down in the water for about an hour. We left our bags in a shallow gully and covered them while we were further down by the waterfall. Up to that time, we had not seen the Basotho's again. Once we came back up from the falls, I spotted 3 Basotho's about 100m from me walking away inland quite briskly. I immediately ran over to our bags and saw both our bags had been opened, as our kit was spread all around. After finding out they took all our food and nothing else, my friend stayed with our bags while I ran after them as it was too late to make it down to the car park and we had no other food for the night.

As they saw me chasing after them, they started running too. They ran around a small koppie and split up, 2 stuck together and the 1 headed up the koppie. As I made it to where I spotted them last, I could see nothing but their livestock. After looking in the grass and the area for half an hour I gave up. It was getting dark quickly so I made my way back, but went back over the same koppie I saw the one Basotho run up when they split. As I climbed further up I reached a rocky area and as I searched between the rocks I saw our 2 packets of food. They probably couldnt run quick enough and gave the packets to the one to hide and then go back later to feach them. I carried on walking back to our bags, camped that night at Tugela Falls and didnt see them again. The next day we made our way back down to the car park with no further incidents.

Its sad really that all they were looking for was food, as they couldve easilly taken alot more than just food. Its not like our food was the first thing as they opened our bags, as it below our clothing and some cooking/lighting equipment.
The following user(s) said Thank You: ghaznavid

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21 Jan 2014 15:31 #59486 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Berg Alert 2014
Thanks for this report. When did it happen exactly?

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

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22 Jan 2014 09:09 #59493 by 5haunporter
Replied by 5haunporter on topic Berg Alert 2014
We did the hike during the 9th - 12th January 2014, this incident happened on the Saturday, 11th January 2014.

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23 Jan 2014 08:57 #59495 by Guardian
Replied by Guardian on topic Berg Alert 2014
This reminded me of an incident that happened to us in 2012 on the amphitheatre.
We were about 12 people and after camping on top we climbed Mount Aux Source before descending the ladders. We left our packs just a bit up in the valley (Think the Tugela's original valley) relatively hidden. After about two hours we came back to find our packs raided. Only food was taken, even in zip pockets. We never suspected basotho's and never saw them the weekend, we actually expected baboons but later decided it was probably those smart crows.
In hindsight it could have been Basotho's. We definitely did not need the food as badly as whomever took it from us though...

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01 Feb 2014 10:56 #59587 by Spykid
Replied by Spykid on topic Berg Alert 2014
Read this article this morning about a rape and kidnapping in the Drakensberg ???
"A British woman was repeatedly raped at gunpoint during a horrific 14-hour
ordeal after she and her boyfriend were kidnapped from a South African romantic
"picnic spot" in the Drakensberg Mountains."

www.europeanknightsproject.org/#!south-african-gang-rapes-british-tourist/cxl3

Is this just bad propaganda or is there truth in the matter ?

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