Berg Alert 2023

02 May 2023 14:52 #78494 by Sabine
Replied by Sabine on topic Dragon's Wrath 2023
Thank you MarBar for sharing your horrific story with us. I am very aware that we are at the mercy of the Basothos, especially at night when asleep but have luckily not had an issue so far. Hope you heal well soon and are able to get over this nightmare..
I also carry some extra sweets with me to give to the Basothos if they ask. I find they tend to leave us alone then.

Take care 
The following user(s) said Thank You: lindsaycouper

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03 May 2023 07:41 - 03 May 2023 12:12 #78497 by firephish
Replied by firephish on topic Berg Alert 2023
Note: in no way indicating this would have helped/changed outcomes in this incident, but the best tip i ever got re cordial relations with the basotho was to carry a pack of cigarettes. I don't smoke, but always carry a pack on the escarpment, nothing seems to make the shepherds happier than a cigarette.
Last edit: 03 May 2023 12:12 by firephish. Reason: clarification

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09 May 2023 11:36 - 09 May 2023 11:38 #78515 by TheRealDave
Replied by TheRealDave on topic Berg Alert 2023
MarBar - what a shocking, traumatic experience. So sorry you had to suffer this and such grievous injuries. I hope you are well on the way to a full recovery. One can only hope that the perpetrators are arrested and brought to justice; as you suggest, it could well be a charge of attempted murder if they are caught. It is good to hear that the local community is angry about this.

Thank you for describing your ordeal in such detail and especially for describing the assailants so closely. As ghaznavid says, it is very helpful to know how such incidents play out so that next time they might be avoided. Perhaps one principle of caution to be derived is that as soon as an encounter turns confrontational, it might be best to acquiesce or take evasive action, if possible and if possible to do so safely.

The brutality of the attack suggests a motive of vindictive assertion of power, whether out of frustration that nothing was given, or because of felt intrusion into their territory, or perhaps because of racial-historical grievances/notions, or a combination of these - who knows. One could even see the lust of the hunt with the dogs getting out of control and being a contributing factor. I have met people on the escarpment who spoke sophisticated English and were clearly educated, but many have limited schooling, and one can't know what sort of mentality one might be encountering up there. In the spirit of cross-cultural understanding, I would mention the films of Teboho Edkins, particularly  Coming of Age .
Last edit: 09 May 2023 11:38 by TheRealDave.

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16 May 2023 11:12 #78526 by BrianG
Replied by BrianG on topic Berg Alert 2023
Thanks very much MarBar for posting and I wish you all the best with your recovery. A very disturbing incident indeed! 

As it happens, my wife and I were hiking between the top of Redi Pass & Giants Castle when your incident played out and fortunately we had no issues. On our second night out, after having had a brief and seemingly amiable encounter with one late-teen shepherd and having seen a couple of horsemen that day, we were very careful to hide our tent on the north slopes of the Tent (behind a boulder). We didn't see anyone in the afternoon at all though. We were still pretty paranoid  and we were prepared as best as we could for night-time issues. We had a grab-bag packed with boots, some warm clothes and some food. Apart from cellphones we didn't have an emergency beacon or pepper spray/mace and we definitely felt a bit vulnerable. The fact that your attack was during the day puts a whole new dimension on things.

As an aside, despite offering, the shepherd was not interested in sweets but did ask for cigarettes which I had forgotten to bring. Will def take a pack next time as other have recommended previously. 

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23 May 2023 06:52 - 23 May 2023 06:56 #78534 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Berg Alert 2023
MarBar, thank you for sharing your story with us. The detail you provided was shocking enough to read...I cannot even think how much trauma you and your wife have been subjected to. And all this in the mountains we love. 

The incredible detail you have provided is much appreciated. It helps to keep the record straight. It educates all of us as we seek to assess and the reduce the risk of this happening again. It is true that  the stone throwing incidents are not new, and in some cases they have been very serious and consequential. I think what is shocking about your story is the brutality of some of the details and the fact that it happened during the day. Many (but not all) such attacks have occurred at night, and the wisdom we could draw from those was to simply avoid camping in the problem spots. Your experience gives us an uncomfortable reality check that it can happen during the day too. And in an area which we haven't in recent times associated with such problems. 

I appreciate your honest assessments, while also making your appreciation for Lesotho and it's people clear. This is definitely in line with the spirit in which we put as much emphasis on security issues as we do on VE. 

Please persist with any follow up that is within your power in the investigations by the relevant authorities. No doubt this can be frustrating at times. My understanding is that the attackers from the Easter 2005 incident at Giant's Castle, as an example, did face some sort of trial in Lesotho (I may remember some details wrong). I often speculate if this lead to the eventual, serious incident free period for that area from about 2008 - 2021. 

I wish you and your wife much bravery as you journey through your trauma!

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 23 May 2023 06:56 by intrepid.

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