General ideas for Berg hikes

28 May 2010 21:35 - 28 May 2010 21:35 #1322 by burl
Need some ideas for a 3 /4 day hike in The Drakensberg for +- 12 people.
Last edit: 28 May 2010 21:35 by intrepid.

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30 May 2010 07:33 #1323 by Frosty Ice
Great idea!

What dificulty?
What time would you start and finish on the first and fourth day?
How much climbing (Meters up) would you want to do?
Caves and or tents?

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28 May 2011 14:04 #3001 by Kenskind
Hi Guys

I need some advice on possible alternatives in the berg in case a severe storm prohibits us from going up.

We are a group of about 40 students from the university of stellenbosch 's mountain club also know as the BTK the plan is to first do a day hike up to the top of the tugela falls via sentinel car park and chain ladders and back down again on the 8th of jun. The following day (9th) we leave from mnweni cultural center heading towards shepards cave and sleep nearby the evening. The following day (10th) ascend up mnweni pass and camp on top. The following day (11th) stay on top and explore ledgers and mponjwane caves and maybe go up the mountain above mponjawane caves. The following day (12th) descend via rockeries and camp near U19 where the rivers join. Following day trek back to the cultural center.

The group is made up of some very experienced hikers and is led by someone who has been up in the berg a couple of times in winter and summer. So this is a non issue. We also know how cold it can get and we won't allow anyone to ascend the berg with is if they don't have the correct kit. A minus 8 rated sleeping bag, a proper tent and a decent jacket was a requirement for even applying to join the group.

My question is that if a storm passes and we decide not to go up. What day trips or alternatives would you recommend in the area. And any tips would greatly be appreciated. O and a little useless info the BTK is one the oldest student societies is SA and has actively been touring, hiking and climbing since 1928.


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29 May 2011 14:46 #3005 by anthony
Hi the trip you have planed sounds very good and all doable, but if you decide not to go up i would go and stay at the natal royal national park at mahai as there are a number of excellent day walks on offer there.

Just a quick one, a -7 sleeping bag at that time of year is the bare minimum ,and that's saying you will probably still be cold,i find with my -15 it can still be nippy.


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31 May 2011 08:28 #3019 by intrepid
Welcome to the forum Kenskind.

You have built a lot of time and room into your itinerary - this is good. Should there be heavy snow you actually have some room to wait things out a day or so, since your route can be done in 3 days without being overly hectic. The bulk of the snow normally melts rapidly within a day or so (unless there is a significant freeze directly after). Also, the two passes in question are not narrow gullies that get heavily blocked up with snow and ice.

As a back-up, staying with the Mnweni, you could go up the Icidi valley and stay in Jubilee or Grasscutter's Cave - this valley is a personal favourite. From there you could also walk to the Shepherd's Cave area and spend a night there too.

Another option is the Cathedral Peak area - the contour path is extensive and well established, with lots of combinations possible. Spectacular views and good camping options. You could start at Sherman's Cave for example and work your away under the Cathedral Range, and then all the way round to Xeni Cave or The Camel/Ribbon Falls.

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

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19 Jun 2015 13:52 #64319 by Riaang
Replied by Riaang on topic General ideas for Berg hikes
I need some help in deciding on a lekker weekend hike (drive down Friday night, start hiking early Sat morning and drive back to Joburg on Sunday). I've gone up Mlambonja pass to Twins cave before, any other similar hikes not further South than Moncs Cowl area? I'll be taking a newbie along so preferably a route that isn't too long in distance. Would appreciate your suggestions. Please state wether there are caves to sleep in at the top, would prefer this to carrying a tent along.

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19 Jun 2015 19:44 #64322 by ghaznavid
Cathedral Peak is a good one - roughly 20km and earns you some worthwhile views.

Organ Pipes Pass is also possible - I guess it can be looped with Thuthumi Pass or the Camel Approach.

I am guessing you have already exhausted the chain ladder/Beacon Buttress routes :laugh:

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22 Mar 2016 13:53 #67425 by JBBest
Replied by JBBest on topic General ideas for Berg hikes
Hi Guys,

I apologise in advance for the last-minute nature of this post, but I would sincerely appreciate any input you would be willing to provide.

A couple of friends and I moved up to Johannesburg recently and decided (even more recently) that we would really like to explore the famed Drakensberg over the coming long weekend. I've been trawling through these forums for information, but have found it to be a bit chicken-before-the-egg for someone who doesn't know the Drakensberg in the sense that it's difficult to plan the hike without maps for certain areas to check hiking distances,landmarks, etc. but at the same time the maps available (I checked at CityRock) are split into different sections and so you need to buy one for the area in which you'd like to hike before having this detail available.. We're also just not sure which routes fall into which experience/difficulty bands.

With this in mind, I thought it best to ask the community for suggestions and take it from there. :)

In a nutshell, we're looking to do an easy/moderate, 3 day/2 night unguided hike on the South African side of the Drakensberg. We're all moderately experienced hikers and quite fit, but we don't know the Drakensberg and so would need to use maps & trails to navigate around. We're keen to camp out and area planning to take tents - we thus won't need a cave, but would prefer a route with decent camping terrain, water, etc.

With the above in mind, does anyone have any recommendations for a route/s we could try out? Again, I appreciate that this is very last-minute and our options might be more limited, but we're all just very excited to get out and experience the place and would thus sincerely appreciate any input from you guys. If there's any more information required, please let me know and I'll provide it as quickly as possible.

Thank you all for your time and consideration!

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22 Mar 2016 14:20 #67429 by Smurfatefrog
Welcome Jan

Some suggestions based on being closer to JHB
Park at Cathedral Peak hotel
Day 1: 11km to the base of Mlambonja Pass. There is a campsite there for about 4 tents
Day 2: 12km to Tseketseke Hut (or camp at the contour path at the river)
Day 3: 9km walk out via Ribbon Falls

This route will give amazing views of peaks very close up. Just note that the area will be quite popular over Easter and campspots can't be booked, the hut can though

Park at Monks Cowl
Day 1: 14km to Keith Bush camp - space for maybe 12 tents
Day 2: 8km Head back down river & camp next to the Mhlwazini river just after it bends to the north
Day 3: 13km walk out the same way

If you're feeling energetic this route also has some nice free standing peaks to climb, Intunja / Gatberg, and Sterkhorn
The following user(s) said Thank You: Redshift3

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23 Mar 2016 09:14 #67446 by Riaang
Replied by Riaang on topic General ideas for Berg hikes
Hi JBBest,

The drive in from Joburg will more than likely limit the areas you can explore, unless you don't mind a realy long drive if you want to go south of Giants Castle area. For easy walking with nice trails and lots of water I can recommend the Giants Castle area. We did a hike there last weekend (took the kids along, 9 year old girl and 1 year old boy with their own backpacks).
Day 1 we went up from Giants Castle restcamp to Bannermans hut,
Day 2 we went up Judges pass, back South accross the escarpment and then down Bannermans pass
Day 3 we took the contour path South until the Langabalile (spelling?) Ridge and then back down to the camp.

Nice trails, lots of water, lots of open areas where tenting is possible. Just plan a bit of time for the descent of Bannermans pass as it took us about 3 hours to get down it, very rocky the first half of the pass as you descend.

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