Berg Alert 2015

01 Feb 2015 14:57 #62754 by intrepid
Berg Alert 2015 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
* Berg Alert 2014

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

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02 Feb 2015 19:18 - 02 Feb 2015 19:19 #62762 by Richard Hunt
Replied by Richard Hunt on topic Berg Alert 2015

Hi All, there is a possibility of a rabies outbreak in the KZN Midlands area, spilling over even into the Drakensberg Park. Be aware especially in areas where there are local dogs (Mnweni etc)even baboons and Jackal can be a problem. See attached document

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Last edit: 02 Feb 2015 19:19 by Richard Hunt.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Serious tribe, andrew r

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28 Apr 2015 08:02 - 28 Apr 2015 09:20 #63532 by Serious tribe
Replied by Serious tribe on topic Berg Alert 2015
Just heard a disturbing account of a mugging in the pass over the weekend, would have been sunday night i think.

I heard it third hand from Bigsnake (on this forum), so the info is a bit hazy.

It appears that two Basotho males attacked the two hikers with rocks at about 5pm somewhere near the base of the pass, and then after subduing them tied them up with their hiking shoe laces. They then proceeded to steal their food, batteries and whatever money that they had. The hikers eventually got free, and managed to get away.

They only told the story to Bigsnake when they managed to get to Polela Cave the following day.

Hopefully the full story will come out in the next few days.
Last edit: 28 Apr 2015 09:20 by Serious tribe.
The following user(s) said Thank You: JonWells, Bigsnake, ghaznavid, Smurfatefrog, Captain

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28 Apr 2015 08:29 #63535 by Viking
Replied by Viking on topic Berg Alert 2015
This is not cool at all. I hope the authorities take swift and strong action.

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

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28 Apr 2015 08:29 #63536 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Berg Alert 2015
That's horrible :sick:

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28 Apr 2015 08:33 #63537 by Smurfatefrog
Replied by Smurfatefrog on topic Berg Alert 2015
Especially worrying that it was at the base of the pass!

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28 Apr 2015 10:17 - 28 Apr 2015 10:28 #63544 by Dillon
Replied by Dillon on topic Berg Alert 2015
This is especially worrying. A group of 4 of us made a mission for this pass back in March. While climbing up to the contour path past Fingall's Rock from Spectacle Cave, it became clear to me that the fitness of this particular group wasn't going to make it up to stay on top for the night with full packs, so we made alternate plans to rather head down to Gxalingenwa for the night.

3 of us still wanted to have a crack at the pass, so we left our packs with the 4th member and headed off. When we got to the final steep ascent, 1 of the guys decided to rather wait there at the bottom, leaving 2 of us to head for the summit.

We set off at a good pace and were probably about 100-200m from the top when we rounded a corner and bumped into 3 dodgy guys coming down the pass. We had very little with us, basically just shell jackets and water, so there wouldn't have been much to take, but something about these guys didn't look right. I've walked right past smugglers and herdsmen before and have mostly only had friendly encounters, but these guys were different and left me with a very uneasy feeling.

Anyway, we passed them and carried on up the pass, we hadn't gone far when I suddenly thought of our 4th team member sitting with our backpacks down the contour path almost 4km away. These guys hadn't given us any trouble other than some very suspicious looks, but I couldn't help but think they would have been very tempted to relieve us of our gear had there only been 1 guy defending all 4 bags.

We decided there and then to abandon our mission for the top (with literally less than 100m to go :( ) and leg it back down the pass to our packs. On heading back down, we soon caught up to them; they were sitting behind a rock, peering down at our 3rd team member waiting at the junction of the pass and contour path. They did seem a bit surprised to see us - probably thought we would be up on top for some time. We passed them and headed on down to Gxalingenwa with no further incident. Who knows what they we thinking or planning, but something about the whole encounter did not sit well with me.

Over the last couple of weeks, I've thought about it a few times and wondered if I had overreacted or been a bit too suspicious. But after reading this report, I can't help but think we may have narrowly avoided a similar incident.

"Mountains are not fair or unfair, they are just dangerous."
Last edit: 28 Apr 2015 10:28 by Dillon.
The following user(s) said Thank You: JonWells, Bigsnake, draconia, Captain, Viking, AdrianT

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28 Apr 2015 12:50 - 28 Apr 2015 12:51 #63545 by HFc
Replied by HFc on topic Berg Alert 2015
Thanks Dillon. I think you and your friend made the right decision that day. Well done. :thumbsup:

It is most likely the same individuals that committed the recent robbery. Any chance you would be able to recognize any of them, or assist in any way with the investigation that will (hopefully) ensue now.

Just asking, it is none of my business really, but would off course like to see them caught and prosecuted.
Last edit: 28 Apr 2015 12:51 by HFc.

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28 Apr 2015 13:08 #63546 by Viking
Replied by Viking on topic Berg Alert 2015
This should probably be merged into the berg alert 2015 topic.

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

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28 Apr 2015 15:09 #63550 by Dillon
Replied by Dillon on topic Berg Alert 2015

Highlands Fanatic wrote: Any chance you would be able to recognize any of them, or assist in any way with the investigation that will (hopefully) ensue now.


Hmmm, not likely. I remember the situation like it was yesterday, but faces are a bit blurry.

"Mountains are not fair or unfair, they are just dangerous."

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