Solo hiking in the Berg

12 Jul 2012 19:36 #54621 by Selous
Replied by Selous on topic Solo hiking in the Berg
Sorry last sentence was meant to read "...noticed on SOLO walks...."
Selous

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13 Jul 2012 03:38 #54623 by Fitness
Replied by Fitness on topic Solo hiking in the Berg
Firstly thanks for the advice/tips, I was honestly thinking of heading off tomorrow (Saturday 14/7) as I need a bit of time out to do some thinking, looking at the snow forecasts it could be rather interesting :huh:
My thoughts were up thru the valley toward sleeping beauty cave then from there up towards Bollard, head across the escarpment towards Mashai and then head down the Mashai Pass and finish back at Garden Castle.
I don't want to camp on the escarpment as it will be bitterly cold up there so I'd head for the refuge of a cave.
My concern was not of safety from the Basothu people more of injuring myself, however I do agree when you hike on your own your senses are heightened.
@smurfatefrog, my plan was tomorrow but I'm always keen to do hikes anytime.
@Ghaz, last weekend was great, very different when you with your family, took my son and nephew up to sleeping beauty cave then had to head back quite soon after arrival as it was getting late, both boys wanted to spend the night in the cave my wife wasn't that keen, so I promised my son that we'll do it soon and I'll take him to stay at Pillar Cave. There was not much snow until Sunday morning, rained all night at Garden Castle campsite, Sunday was a cracker of a day though.

Thanks guys for the replies, I will plan the route then put it onto here later if I do go.

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13 Jul 2012 04:54 #54624 by Smurfatefrog
Cool enjoy. I'll be at the Garden Castle camp site from tomorrow morning until Sunday, will probably head up to Sleeping Beauty with my wife so might see you on the way, although I guess you'll be leaving a bit earlier than us ;)

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13 Jul 2012 05:14 #54625 by Fitness
Replied by Fitness on topic Solo hiking in the Berg
Enjoy, we had the campsite all to ourselves last weekend, if I go I will leave around 9 from Garden Castle.

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13 Jul 2012 16:05 #54634 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Solo hiking in the Berg
Hi Fitness

I don't think Garden Castle is any different to other parts of the Berg in terms of safety for solo hiking, so the question is really applicable to solo hiking the Berg (and other mountains) in general. I see it all as a mind-set. The general advice is don't do it. But if you've already thought about it and can live with the risks, then do it. :)

I've done some solo hiking in the Berg and found it very lonely. I'll probably do it again but more in the form of long day trips.

For these solo questions my mind thinks more about security than safety however. Do be alert for people around Mashai Pass. They are accustomed to tourists coming up there and have been known to be a bit too demanding for handouts.

Enjoy and let us know how it goes!

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.

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13 Jul 2012 16:19 #54635 by Fitness
Replied by Fitness on topic Solo hiking in the Berg
@Intrepid, thanks im still undecided, the weather this weekend is looking a bit dodgy,
in the times i have hiked Masahi i am yet to see a Basothu person there.
if i go i'll let you all know.

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13 Jul 2012 20:52 #54637 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Solo hiking in the Berg
Yes, based on what I've seen of the weather reports, it doesn't seem to be the best weekend to try it.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.

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13 Jun 2016 09:14 #68769 by GriffBaker
Replied by GriffBaker on topic Solo hiking in the Berg
This weekend I headed up to Vergelegen to do my first solo hike.

My plan was to camp on the contour path so I headed up onto the ridgeline directly behind the office ascending at Plumb Pudding and following the burn line on the ridge all the way to the escarpment at Ngaqamadola pass. I set up my tent at 2:30pm on a spur just south of the eQalweni river and slightly above the contour.

At this point, I heard a lot of aggressive shouting and rocks tumbling. I looked up to the escarpment south of Ngaqamadola pass and could see about 5 or 6 guys(probably a km away as the crow flies and 500metres up). They continued shouting and hurling rocks. They did not seem friendly at all. This is not the first time I have heard people calling from the escarpment but this is the first time it has seemed aggressive to me. They must have been pushing massive rocks off because when they smashed the floor it sounded like an explosion.

At this point I weighed up the situation:

-These guys were unlikely to be shepherds due to the time of the year
-Ngaqamadola pass was relatively easy to descend so if they wanted to rob me they could.
-Would I have stayed there if I was not alone - nope.
-Am I just being paranoid? Probably a little bit.
-Is the risk worth the reward. nope.

I packed up my tent and all my kit in record time(the shouting and rock hurling did not stop) and descended the same ridge line I came up and about 1/3 of the way dropped straight down the river to the river that goes down to Rooibessiehoek camp and made my camp there and walked out in the morning.

I keep trying to weigh up if I was just being a little paranoid because I was solo but I still don't think I have experienced that level of aggression on any of the hikes I have ever done.

Better safe than sorry. Pretty sad that a person cannot enjoy the solitude of the wilderness without harassment these days.
The following user(s) said Thank You: JonWells, ghaznavid, Sabine, Macc

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13 Jun 2016 10:01 #68774 by AdrianT
Replied by AdrianT on topic Solo hiking in the Berg
Getting injured can be a problem, but as was already mentioned, take the safety precautions and you tend to be somewhat more careful when alone anyway.

I generally do all my day hikes alone. I've not done any overnight hikes alone but definitely will in the future. To me, I really like being alone. I enjoy my own company (sounds weird doesn't it?) and the solitude it affords me, and the time to think. It's also far simpler to go hiking alone as it requires zero organisation :hike:

I also enjoy kayaking alone, the longest of which was a relaxed 68km, 4 day paddle down a section I had never done. I had an alarming experience with a horse on evening three which you may find rather amusing. Horses are flight animals, but not so much when you're camped on their lawn :) Have a read if you're curious. This was also the best trip I ever did. No one around, only one small lodge near the end, otherwise no people. Pure bliss.
adrian.playak.com/sa-western-cape-mainmenu-16/105-the-doring-river-alone--day-3-wild-horsesa-close-call-with-satan
The following user(s) said Thank You: GriffBaker

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13 Jun 2016 11:39 #68781 by Biomech
Replied by Biomech on topic Solo hiking in the Berg
Sorry to hear about the bad experience, GriffBaker. Not very fun at all. I wonder what they were up to?

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