Escarpment Routes In Mnweni Area

19 Mar 2020 11:53 - 19 Mar 2020 13:50 #75780 by Beard
Hi Mweni hikers…
I am looking to hike in April in Mweni area. It has beensome time and I would love some input as I have routes that we have not done
If these conversations have been had, apologies.  And any input on these routes is appreciated.
Route 1
We would like to go up Ntonjelana Pass and come down NquzaPass. Has anyone done this, Im looking specifically at the access across the
escarpment. Is there a route across the top?
Route 2
Going up Rockeries and down Nquza – same question as above,is there access/route across escarpment?
Route 3
Going up Pins pass and down Rwanqa Pass – same questions, isthere access/route across escarpment?
Route 4
Going up Pins Pass and down Mweni Pass, same question, goingaround Mweni Cutback, is there route across the top?
Has anyone been to Chichi Bush camp recently?
Thanks all for any input!
Last edit: 19 Mar 2020 13:50 by Smurfatefrog. Reason: Removed CAPS from title

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19 Mar 2020 13:52 - 19 Mar 2020 13:53 #75781 by Smurfatefrog
I'm not quite sure what you mean by is there a route across the top?
There is always a route across the top of the escarpment, just go up and down ridges and the odd very minor rock band. Look at a Grand Traverse track if it helps.
There are generally no proper paths, but the terrain is easy enough to walk on
Last edit: 19 Mar 2020 13:53 by Smurfatefrog.

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19 Mar 2020 15:24 #75782 by Beard
Hey thanks,
yeah getting across is generally 'easy' but just seeing if anyone responds saying any real serious NO GOEs.
Otherwise these routes look doable

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19 Mar 2020 16:11 #75783 by Riaang

Regarding routes on the escarpment, all I'll add to what's already been said is that there is often sheep tracks one can follow. A bit difficult walking in them if they are deep, and they are narrow. Otherwise, the terrain is generally easy to traverse.

Route 1: Ntonjelana pass has a path most of the way, but Nguza pass not. Only once you join the Rockeries section at the bottom will you find a path. The two passes are fairly close to one another on the escrpment

Route 2: Nice path all the way to the top of Rockeries, then traverse a ridge or two and you can go down Nguza pass. Oh, the top part of Nguza pass can be trickey if you don't know the route. Don't go down the waterfall, unless you have ropes. You have to go right for about 250m, then around a rock section, accross the sloping side slope and down the steep gully. There are pics on VE of all the tricky bits.

Route 3: Mmhhh, jy sien kans vir baie! Especially if you haven;t walked in the berg for a while. Pins has no path. Stay high, closer to the rockband. Did it in Nov 2019 and the soil was very loose. You go through a number of shallow (up to 5m deep) ditches, and the ground gave way under me on one of these. Had a nice slide down to the bottom, fortunately didn't topple over. There is a good footpath from Pins to Rwanqa. Another rough pass, lots of bush wacking towards its lower end. Once down to the Mnweni valley  you will find good paths.

Route 4: This was half of what we did in Nov last year. We went down Ledges pass. Easier, faster, not as many loose rocks to contend with and shorter distance back to MCC. Again, sheep tracks for a while, but they dissapear as you come around the cutback. Then you drop down into the valley and work your way accross to Mponjwane or Ledger cave.

Chichi bushcamp is at the base of Pins and Mnwni passes, where the rivers meet. There are actually a number of camping spots in this area, I counted 5 small clearings between the rocks. These are not large areas. The one I know (the uppermost one) has 2 spots about 15m from one another, and each spot can fit 3 large or 4 medium sized people. 

Well, there you have it, all your questions answered. As to the questions you didn't ask, here are their answers:
Yes, you need to take a good map and GPS along, especially if you are unfamiliar with the area. If mist comes in, it could spell trouble. I've had mist thick enough around the Mnweni cutback that I had to stop the group every minute to check that we were all together, as you could barely recognise a human shape from 10m away.
Know where sleeping spots and caves in the area are. Are you planning on tenting or sleeping in caves. For caves, a map and GPS is even more important. Trying to find Chichi for the first time in the mist will be......interesting. That river bed section is much larger in real life than on a map. And climbing over the rocks are tiring.
It could still rain a bit in April, so be prepared for rain. Thunderstorms usually appear later in the afternoon.


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19 Mar 2020 16:25 #75784 by Beard
Hey Riaang, thanks alot man!
this is really helpful. We will have GPs and no the area relatively well. But your input is SUPER helpful, thanks again!

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