Berg Alert 2018

13 Apr 2018 11:21 #73201 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Berg Alert 2018
Thanks for sharing UDI, scary indeed!

That's an interesting thought. I guess the likelihood of being followed also depends on distance and speed of the team.

Regarding throwing of rocks - on the first of the double GT, when we were in what we termed "Baaaad Cave" (due to sharing it with about 20 goats - about 5km south of Thabana Ntlenyana), we had a chat with some locals. We were there for a few hours anticipating a storm and later waiting for it to pass. They were messing around quite a bit and eventually took turns going to the top of the cave and throwing rocks down - not large ones, roughly cricket ball sized ones. One of them was always with us, and they weren't throwing them towards us, or anything - so I imagine they were just having some fun. But I was horrified at the speed they managed to achieve on those rocks. I don't even want to imagine what it must be like when significantly larger rocks are being aimed at you. I have had rocks thrown at me before (on Swartkop just outside Howick), but that was by kids with bad aim and relatively small rocks (they had tried to stalk us, but weren't doing a very good job of hiding in the grass whenever we turned around - in retrospect we should have just run at them rather than ignoring them).

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18 Apr 2018 16:21 #73243 by MAJ Joubert
Replied by MAJ Joubert on topic Berg Alert 2018
I am planning hiking 3 days 2 nights from Sentinel car park in the Amphitheatre area coming long weekend sleeping first night just over a small ridge towards the Bilanjil River (one river south of the Tugela), as seen in a other thread and then second night in Ifidi cave and the back to Sentinel Car park.

We will be 7 people.
Do you guys think it will be ok security wise as I see there have been a few incidents the last few years.

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18 Apr 2018 19:43 #73245 by Richard Hunt
Replied by Richard Hunt on topic Berg Alert 2018
@MAJ Joubert.... At the moment in SA there is no such thing as "ok security wise" whether in the Berg or in any other place in SA. You have the advantage of 7 hikers in your group, although bigger groups have been robbed. Just as you may be hijacked at a busy robot on your way to the Berg, so you may be robbed in the Berg wilderness. I suppose in a city you must be street wise and in the Berg mountain wise. I remember speaking to some KZN Wildlife rangers once in a certain area of the Berg and they said to me that it was difficult to catch the Basotho poachers as their magic was too strong....makes on think?? The best thing is not to fear and be wise!
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18 Apr 2018 22:00 #73246 by tiska
Replied by tiska on topic Berg Alert 2018
Hi MAJ
If I were you I would get to Ifidi cave on night one and spend two nights there. Spread disinformation as you pass the shepherds. Tell them you will have seven tents near Fangs pass. Photograph the guys you meet. Try to slip into Ifidi cave unnoticed even if it means hanging around on the south side of a spur for 30 minutes.
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19 Apr 2018 12:14 #73248 by Grandeur
Replied by Grandeur on topic Berg Alert 2018
We did almost that exact route last week and everything was fine. We didn’t even see one shepherd / Basotho.

We did night 1 at Bilanjil, night 2 at Madonna, night 3 at Icidi and then back to Tugela.

There were 7 of us in total. 5 hikers and 2 porters. We all stayed in tents and yes, we were aware of the recent events.
We always kept an eye out for “locals” and tried to camp out of sight.

I agree that you need to be “streetwise” and take the necessary precautions
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20 Apr 2018 09:13 - 20 Apr 2018 09:23 #73249 by tonymarshall
Replied by tonymarshall on topic Berg Alert 2018
Grandeur, just out of curiosity, I'm interested to hear your thoughts on whether having porters with you may have had any influence on your security situation.

You also presumably followed the escarpment, and I think the people using the Khubedu River are being followed, which is likely a key factor in the attacks.
Last edit: 20 Apr 2018 09:23 by tonymarshall.

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20 Apr 2018 09:29 #73250 by WKR
Replied by WKR on topic Berg Alert 2018
Hi, first time using this forum.
I’ve planned a hike up to Giants peak starting at Giants castle camp, along giants ridge and up giants pass. Does anyone know what security status is like in this area and perhaps have some guidelines. We’ll be 6 men, and I had in mind a rotation for a night watch. Would a night watch be necessary or is that a bit extreme. Also is it safe to camp on the escarpment around giants peak? I’ve found a coordinate for a cave on giants pass which I thought of looking for if the escarpment isn’t safe.

Hope someone can help, sorry if others have already asked these questions.

Thanks

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20 Apr 2018 14:22 #73251 by JamesSenior
Replied by JamesSenior on topic Berg Alert 2018
No security issues in that area. Giants Castle pass and the surrounding area of the escarpment is pretty safe and I've never experienced any trouble there on several hikes. Further north at Langalibelele Pass, however, I have experienced theft from tents at night. But that's quite far from where you'll be.
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20 Apr 2018 20:33 - 20 Apr 2018 20:39 #73252 by Grandeur
Replied by Grandeur on topic Berg Alert 2018

Grandeur, just out of curiosity, I'm interested to hear your thoughts on whether having porters with you may have had any influence on your security situation.

You also presumably followed the escarpment, and I think the people using the Khubedu River are being followed, which is likely a key factor in the attacks.

Hi Tony

Actually we did walk down the Khubedu River from Bilanjil and turned left up the side valley roughly following the record speed GT route and once we crested the ridge we kept further left of the record route to head more towards the Madonna.
We did find an old bent hiking stick and gum boots outside one of the Motibo’s after we turned left up the valley heading to the left away from the Khubedu River. I assume the hiking the stick wasn’t one of the stolen items from the attack a week before we hiked.

Edit: I don’t think the porters had much to do with our safety. They generally left the previous camp about 30-45 mins after we all left and didn’t walk with us to the next camping spot.
I was being very observant on the walks between the camps and I can say that the whole area just seemed very quiet compared to previous hikes I have done in the area. I don’t think there are any / many locals there currently.
Last edit: 20 Apr 2018 20:39 by Grandeur. Reason: Added info
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20 Apr 2018 21:58 #73254 by tiska
Replied by tiska on topic Berg Alert 2018

I was being very observant on the walks between the camps and I can say that the whole area just seemed very quiet compared to previous hikes I have done in the area. I don’t think there are any / many locals there currently.


Thanks for the info Grandeur.
I'm wondering if the 'April' hits on tents in the area mark the night/days before the shepherds clear out. It's their last chance to score kit and they don't want to be seen after the incident either.

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