Berg Alert 2016

27 Apr 2016 07:46 #68016 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Berg Alert 2016
@Jody: thanks for sharing what happened, I think we all find it very helpful to know what happened so that we can be better prepared in future. It is really unfortunate that this happened. Wishing you and the others a speedy recovery.

I remember that Chris Keit also said they got angry with them for not carrying cash when they got attacked last year. He suggested carrying a small amount of money to make them happy - no clue if that would actually help, though.

@ST: I also found that confusing - at first I thought they were 2 different incidents. Thanks for compiling that table - sad to see how many incidents are around RNNP. I most certainly won't stop hiking at full moon - there are more significant dangers in the Berg than attacks by people when your hiking includes pre-first light and post-last light. Hiking in thick mist at new moon last year taught me that!

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27 Apr 2016 08:32 #68017 by Serious tribe
Replied by Serious tribe on topic Berg Alert 2016
I hear you, full moon hiking is one of my favourite ways of getting into an area. I think though that this particular area in conjunction with a full or partial moon seems to be more risky than other areas.

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27 Apr 2016 09:05 #68018 by Jody MB
Replied by Jody MB on topic Berg Alert 2016
It's was in the valley before fangs pass.we all had hiking poles, we all had headlamps but really didn't have time to get them. We just had the one bottle of pepper spray, being weight conscious, and not thinking we would need it. With the moon as bright as it was they could probably see us from miles away. We have been hiking as a group together for over 8 years so we have a fair bit of knowledge of the mountain, we have always had a plan before going to sleep what we would do if something happens. And im glad we did. We acted in the right way and definitely surprised them. Dont think the expected us to be on form and that's probably why it was so violent as they had to go to the extreme to push us off.
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27 Apr 2016 09:29 - 27 Apr 2016 10:14 #68019 by Richard Hunt
Replied by Richard Hunt on topic Berg Alert 2016
@Karl: yes full moon can be a problem time. In the KZN Midlands most of the cattle theft from farms by the Basutos happens during the period of full moon as this gives them extra visibility. But this is not always the case....During February 2016 the 15/16th a hiking party near Madonna & Her Worshippers also had their flysheet ripped off, mesh cut open and an attempt to roll tent with goods stolen....this happened during the first quarter moon so probably light enough for them to see. Really these guys can attack at any time as they know the mountain terrain very well!
Last edit: 27 Apr 2016 10:14 by Richard Hunt.
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27 Apr 2016 11:28 #68021 by Ranger
Replied by Ranger on topic Berg Alert 2016
I would like to thank Intrepid for his comments. Reporting of incidents is of vital importance, because in legal circles, unless there is a case opened or a formal complaint laid, the incident never happened. Timeous reporting is also vital. I often hear of people saying: "ya I was accosted at the Chain ladders but I gave them money and we turned around and fled". Yes it is a mission but we need those reports. Ideally cases need to be opened at Bergville Charge office in Bergville, KZN, as the area falls under their jurisdiction. Major Mtshali (Station Commander) can be contacted directly on 0824181601 if you have any problems opening a case. Then please do follow up on the case and keep the presssure on.
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27 Apr 2016 11:32 #68022 by Ranger
Replied by Ranger on topic Berg Alert 2016
@gaznavid:

I dont know about carrying money to give to the locals when threatened...I can only see that as encouraging crime to continue.
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27 Apr 2016 11:36 - 27 Apr 2016 11:40 #68023 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Berg Alert 2016

Ranger wrote: @gaznavid:

I dont know about carrying money to give to the locals when threatened...I can only see that as encouraging crime to continue.

That's what I was wondering as well. They didn't say you should give them money, but the muggers did a body search on them and got angry when they couldn't find any money. Their report on their mugging last year is somewhere on the Berg Watch 2015 thread .

I imagine that fighting back makes things worse, but if you don't fight back, they realise that these attacks are easy and will keep doing them. But if you do fight back, they may get more violent and even start carrying firearms. Kind of a catch-22. I guess, at the end of the day, the only way to fix it is by getting prosecutions or getting the local chiefs to do something about it.

chriskeit wrote: My suggestions from this experience…
1. If attacked and you don’t have the upper hand to do anything, lie on the ground, face down, covering your head from rocks.
2. Be submissive as these guys were really very aggressive especially before we were tied up.
3. It might sound strange, but carry some cash with you. They were searching us hard for money (even our socks and jocks) and threatening when my mate didn’t have any cash with him. They didn’t quite understand that he had left his money back at the vehicle.
4. With regards to the path from Gxalingenwa and “the hub”, this junction is difficult to find which is why we carried on to the Pass where the incident happened. Apparently there is a cairn to mark the turn but with no trail (make sure you take this trail down to Gorge and Pholela.)

Last edit: 27 Apr 2016 11:40 by ghaznavid.

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27 Apr 2016 12:32 #68024 by Ranger
Replied by Ranger on topic Berg Alert 2016
Thank you Jody for your comments. We wish you and the others a speedy recovery and can assure you that all relevant stakeholders are being engaged on the matter. I wish I could share my personal feelings but I am responding in an official capacity. I will leave it at that...
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27 Apr 2016 12:35 #68025 by Captain
Replied by Captain on topic Berg Alert 2016
Hi Jody, thank you for taking the time to interact with the VE Forum with this. I'm sorry that you had to go through this and I can only hope that this doesn't put you guys off hiking! There is a lesson in your unfortunate experience for us all to learn from.

You had said that you feel you guys were prepared to react and feel that you reacted correctly, but do you feel you could have done anything differently?

1. What would you do differently to prevent being targeted and

2. What would you do differently should you have taken all precautions and still come under attack?

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27 Apr 2016 15:49 #68028 by tiska
Replied by tiska on topic Berg Alert 2016
I am very sorry to hear this news and do hope that the three of you recover fast.
It's interesting that the attack happened so far from the amphitheatre. I would guess that this was a deliberate decision because the remoteness buys time for the attackers. Also I would expect these guys to repeat their tactics. In the passed attacks in a particular area went on for a few years. As long as these bad apples are around, they will try it on.

There's no way I would sleep in a tent in this broad region. The tactics are geared to tents.

Finally, as those involved have already noted, only chance meant that this attack was not murder. An incredibly similar incident near Ntonjelane pass about 30 years ago did end in death.

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