Berg Alert 2020

14 Jan 2020 15:49 - Yesterday 10:02 #75602 by Viking
Berg Alert 2020 was created by Viking
This is the place for all updates, incidents and observations relating to security issues in the Drakensberg in 2020.

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 visitors to the Berg.
* 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, 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 the area, and definitely not to create prejudice against the Basotho and other locals living in the area. The traits that lead to crime and other security- related incidents in the Berg are traits that are common to human nature in general and are not tied to a specific culture or nation.

We advise visitors to the Berg to take the security issues seriously - but rather than being alarmed and avoiding going there, we want people to be informed on what the issues are exactly and how they occur - and to make decisions accordingly. We want people to keep hiking in the Berg.

We also encourage people to appreciate the cultures of the local people that can be encountered in the Berg and even to learn some local words and phrases. Wherever possible let your encounters with the locals be friendly and interactive. Many encounters can be very rewarding. If you do find yourself in a tense situation, do your utmost to maintain respect and stay calm.  Some helpful notes on Basotho culture have been written for hikers and travelers  .

Historical threads:
Berg Alert 2010
Berg Alert 2011
Berg Alert 2012
Berg Alert 2013
Berg Alert 2014
Berg Alert 2015
Berg Alert 2016
Berg Alert 2017
Berg Alert 2018
Berg Ale rt  2019


The known issues during the last 5 years are as follows:
Amphitheatre and Khubedu Valley: Raiding of tents at the Tugela Falls and surrounds in an old issue which is ongoing. Intimidation for handouts also occurs in the area, including the Chain Ladders, which has been known to result in stone-throwing. There was a nasty incident in the Khubedu Valley in 2016 which received a lot of publicity - the details of this incident can be read on this thread  his thread  . There have been reports of hikers encountering individuals from the Lesotho Defence Force in the area, who sometimes ask to see passports, and there have also been cases where the hikers were harassed by them. Hikers venturing onto the escarpment should carry their passports on them.

Mbundini area
: tented camps have been attacked and raided at night, particularly at the unmarked pass overlooking Madonna And Her Worshippers, near Rat Hole Cave.

Ntonjelana Pass: during the December 2018-January 2019 period two different hiking groups encountered a group of 3 armed individuals claiming to be from the Lesotho Defence Force in the general escarpment area near the top of Ntonjelana Pass. The encounters were tense - the details of which can be read on this same thread.

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 pressured for handouts around the top of Sani Pass.

For more information read through  General Security Precautions  , and also read  this post   on the security issues around the Amphitheatre as well as the Mbundini area - included is a map indicating where the problems are occurring.

“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!”
Last edit: Yesterday 10:02 by Viking.

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