Berg Alert 2016

26 Jan 2016 09:17 - 26 Apr 2016 20:31 #66682 by Smurfatefrog
Berg Alert 2016 was created by Smurfatefrog
This is the place for all updates, incidents and observations relating to security issues in the Drakensberg in 2016.

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
* Berg Alert 2015

General Security Precautions

Current areas of concern
Amphitheatre: The odd incident of bags and tents being raided when camping in the main valley around the Tugela river, see this thread for suggestions on other camping areas.

Rhino Peak / Mashai Pass: There have been a few reports of intimidation and rock throwing by shepherds.

Hodgesons / Masubasuba Pass / Sani: There was a mugging in 2015 on the pass, and apparently various cases of tourists being pestered around the top of Sani Pass. See Berg Alert 2015 for more details.
Last edit: 26 Apr 2016 20:31 by Smurfatefrog.
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26 Jan 2016 09:20 - 26 Jan 2016 09:21 #66683 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Berg Alert 2016
Incident on GT on 1 January 2016:

In the escarpment valley behind Masubasuba Pass we heard gun shots and saw people walking towards the pass with large white bags on their backs. The local shepherds were running downstream, so we did the same. We waited out half an hour or so sitting in a concealed gully on the river. All blew over without trouble to us, but it was rather scary.

The guns were very loud, the bullets could be heard in the air, presumably resonance off the cliffs - but it was most certainly a high power gun. We heard 3 or 4 shots the first time, and I seem to recall 2 the second time (about 30 minutes later - we heard the first while on North Hodgesons Peak, the subsequent ones came as we were heading towards the middle of the valley before climbing the ridge).

@Mods: I suspect I should have posted this on the Berg Alert thread. Feel free to move it :thumbsup:
Last edit: 26 Jan 2016 09:21 by ghaznavid.

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01 Feb 2016 11:15 #66770 by ruthtbl
Replied by ruthtbl on topic Berg Alert 2016
So this is about incidents in the Cape, not the Drakensberg, but I wasn't sure where else to put it:

www.iol.co.za/capetimes/body-of-hiker-found-on-mountain-trail-1977936

Really scary :(

'Please accept the stimulation'
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01 Feb 2016 12:23 #66773 by Stijn
Replied by Stijn on topic Berg Alert 2016
Not downplaying the crime issue on Table Mountain right now, but it seems this incident was reported incorrectly at first. Apparently the trail runner died as a result of a fall and there was no attack involved. Also, he was in his 50s rather than his 30s. I find it quite annoying that such factually-incorrect stories make it to the media sometimes...

ewn.co.za/2016/02/01/Police-investigate-after-hiker-was-fatally-stabbed-in-Table-Mountain
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23 Apr 2016 09:19 #67949 by AdrianT
Replied by AdrianT on topic Berg Alert 2016

Stijn wrote: Not downplaying the crime issue on Table Mountain right now, but it seems this incident was reported incorrectly at first. Apparently the trail runner died as a result of a fall and there was no attack involved. Also, he was in his 50s rather than his 30s. I find it quite annoying that such factually-incorrect stories make it to the media sometimes...

ewn.co.za/2016/02/01/Police-investigate-after-hiker-was-fatally-stabbed-in-Table-Mountain


This is possibly a bit off topic, but two days after the incident above, I hiked up Woody Ravine and down Kasteelspoort alone. There wasn't a single person around and not a breath of wind - creepy. It was reported that the man had fallen and cut his throat on barbed wire and that he was found at breakfast rock. Another report said he was found on the contour path. There are a few barbed wire areas, most of which would are not inline with the path which could arrest a fall. Many of them have plain "blou-draad" as the top two strands too. There was no blood or anything on any fences nor at Breakfast rock and I looked everywhere. The reports were in my opinion inaccurate and nothing has ever been mentioned since. I don't think what they say happened, actually happened. I hold the belief that the western side around Camps Bay is rather safe, having never even come across anyone who "looked" like a mugger.

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25 Apr 2016 08:04 #67966 by Herman
Replied by Herman on topic Berg Alert 2016
We camped at Bilinjal Falls on the Amphitheatre this weekend. Coming down yesterday we heard that three guys were attacked while camping at Ribbon Falls. They had to cut short their mini-traverse attempt - apparently it was quite vicious and the hikers who saw them afterward were shocked. Anyone know more about it?
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25 Apr 2016 08:44 - 25 Apr 2016 09:19 #67968 by Viking
Replied by Viking on topic Berg Alert 2016
I heard recently from a reliable source that incidents are escalating in frequency and hostility up on the Amphitheatre. Large groups of around 12, shots exchanged with rangers and people getting harassed right at the chain ladders are some of the things he mentioned.

“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!”
Last edit: 25 Apr 2016 09:19 by Viking.

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25 Apr 2016 08:48 - 25 Apr 2016 09:42 #67970 by AdrianT
Replied by AdrianT on topic Berg Alert 2016

Herman wrote: We camped at Bilinjal Falls on the Amphitheatre this weekend. Coming down yesterday we heard that three guys were attacked while camping at Ribbon Falls. They had to cut short their mini-traverse attempt - apparently it was quite vicious and the hikers who saw them afterward were shocked. Anyone know more about it?


This is terrible news. I was about to book flights for a traverse from Sentinel to Cathedral Peak I am planning on doing in less than 2 weeks time. We even got someone from Jhb to drive down a week later to pick us up. Now I'm wondering if I should just go or not.
Last edit: 25 Apr 2016 09:42 by AdrianT.

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25 Apr 2016 09:36 #67971 by supertramp
Replied by supertramp on topic Berg Alert 2016
That is really concerning. I camped at the base of Mount Amery only 2 weekends ago and didnt meet a Basotho or anyone else for that matter.

I am taking a large group of inexperienced people up the chain ladders this coming weekend - plan on camping in the same area.

If this is true, I might need to reconsider :sick:

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25 Apr 2016 10:10 #67973 by Herman
Replied by Herman on topic Berg Alert 2016
We heard it from people who saw the hikers, but we didn't see them ourselves, so I'd like to hear the true story first - just hearsay at the moment.

When we topped out at the chain ladders on Saturday, three Basothos were sitting there at the tripod looking at everyone coming and going. We also saw a group of three with five dogs close to Sentinel cave on the contour path heading toward the car park. Would be quite normal if there was no incident.

@AdrianT and @supertramp, it might be a good idea to chat to the rangers before changing your plans - they would probably have better info and helped the group down, apparently.
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