Berg Alert 2018

10 Apr 2018 15:25 #73152 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Berg Alert 2018
Surprised they had a problem there - but since the military started patrolling the top, a lot of kraals have sprung up around there.

While very few shepherds are generally troublesome, I suspect they aren't happy that they have been forced to relocate and no doubt are angry with hikers as a result.

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10 Apr 2018 17:22 - 10 Apr 2018 17:29 #73153 by tiska
Replied by tiska on topic Berg Alert 2018
Note the similarity of this incident of April 2018 to the April 2016 attack (www.vertical-endeavour.com/forum/2-drakensberg-security/55995-berg-alert-2016.html?start=10):
a) same time of year - both April, just a few weeks apart
b) very similar region - earlier one inland of Fangs Pass, this about 6 km away (direct line) near Fangs Pass
c) very similar sequence of attack
d) seemingly attackers after kit/money.

I wouldn't be surprised if it involved the very same attackers.

What is it about April? My suspicion is that the Basuthos are still near the escarpment edge at this time and haven't yet gone further down the valleys into Lesotho for winter. They know that i) winter is imminent and that b) the April period brings a number of hikers to the region from whom they can steal equipment for the forthcoming winter months.

Best advice would be not to tent anywhere in this region. An attack is yet to take place in the Berg on hikers in a cave. There have been dozens of attacks on tents in the Berg - across the length of the escarpment. You stand little chance of defending yourself in a tent - something these guys know all too well.
Last edit: 10 Apr 2018 17:29 by tiska.
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10 Apr 2018 17:29 #73154 by firephish
Replied by firephish on topic Berg Alert 2018
good observations, agreed likely the same guys.

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10 Apr 2018 21:42 #73159 by Jim
Replied by Jim on topic Berg Alert 2018
Hey Everyone

Quite worrying, all these attacks.

5 of us are going down the last weekend in April and staying both nights in Keith's bush camp. Anything to worry about?

Thanks

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10 Apr 2018 21:51 #73160 by Papa Dragon
Replied by Papa Dragon on topic Berg Alert 2018
Keith Bush Camp. Named after Keth Bush,,,

Shouldn't be a problem, but we live in Africa, so never can say for sure..
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11 Apr 2018 06:20 #73161 by Richard Hunt
Replied by Richard Hunt on topic Berg Alert 2018
@tiska......you are correct, I have mentioned it on VE before, it is safer in a cave....in other words you are open to see your attackers with your back to the wall. What might work with 2 or 3 tents is to keep the tent doors open at night with each tent door facing a different direction (A type of tent Larger) An element of surprise will always have the upper hand. The attacker's would know how your tents are placed before planning an attack and the Larger system may deter them as they would not have the upper hand. Unfortunately in the Berg these days one has to expect the worse and be alert and prepared. I live in a farming area and since Dec there have been a couple of armed attacks every week on the homesteads around me....we are constantly upgrading our safety measures and keeping the upper hand. It is now a fact of life in SA and we cannot allow these rogues to take away our freedom of the Berg!!!!!
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11 Apr 2018 08:41 #73162 by dangerdave
Replied by dangerdave on topic Berg Alert 2018
I think something that we need to also realise and I should have maybe mentioned this in the original thread is that although the top area from Mount Aux Sources towards Royal Natal is a protected area, and from just South along from Nguza Pass is protected there is that massive gap in the world heritage sight which happens to be where most of the informal traffic(not hikers) is moving up and down the berg. I think it is no coincidence that this is where the crime is.

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11 Apr 2018 09:19 #73163 by Viking
Replied by Viking on topic Berg Alert 2018
It is interesting that it has happened twice in a very similar area, at the same time of the year and within two years. Perhaps the MO is to strike just before they move away for winter?

I think it is also worth noting that there are many people that camp on the escarpment every year, especially along the northern traverse and so the number of attacks vs number of hikers moving through that area is very small. However, I think we all feel that one incident in the berg is one too many.

It is difficult to know why a particular group has been attacked but I find it interesting that none of the commercial guides or very experienced 'regulars' have had incidents despite their probability of incident occurrence being obviously higher. That said, I think it is worth reemphasising the caveats that go with camping on the escarpment. This knowledge is what I personally feel gives you a big advantage in safe camping. These can be read here . Take note especially the part about where to set up camp and to not be seen! Also consider that if you are seen earlier in the day, then don't go somewhere obvious for that night.
Be safe out there!

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

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11 Apr 2018 09:32 #73164 by tonymarshall
Replied by tonymarshall on topic Berg Alert 2018
Hi ghaznavid,

Can you just explain your post in a bit more detail please. What Military is patrolling where, and where have kraals sprung up, and why are these related issues? Why and where were shepherds forced to relocate?
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11 Apr 2018 09:38 #73166 by TheRealDave
Replied by TheRealDave on topic Berg Alert 2018

5 of us are going down the last weekend in April and staying both nights in Keith's bush camp. Anything to worry about?


Jim, Gray's is a smuggling route and is used by migrants, and there have been regular reports of passing traffic over the years. Papa D and I were there this time last year, and we saw headlamps coming down during the night and about four more people in the early morning. The locals seem to be using an alternative route that drops down behind the ridge, so that they mostly remain out of sight from Keith Bush until the they re-enter the riverbed, which may suggest that they aren't interested in contact. As always, take precautions, but I don't remember there being any incidents over the past few years in which hikers were targeted. Last year, some hikers were reportedly caught in crossfire between smugglers and the Lesotho army on the pass ( see here ), but this is very unusual. Statistically, incidents are relatively rare, and you will encounter many very friendly Basothos up there; just be aware that there is a risk.
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