Berg Alert 2024

08 Apr 2024 15:17 #78997 by Smurfatefrog
Replied by Smurfatefrog on topic Berg Alert 2024


Thanks tiska! That is a very interesting insight! A lot to unpack in terms of probable causes. I've fried my brain trying to connect the dots. Has to be a combination of factors in play that produces the outcome. 
Possibly because they know they will be heading into the lowlands in a few weeks, so anyone wanting to track them down with stolen goods has minimal time, and also with them heading down soon they will have more people to offload the goods to

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09 Apr 2024 13:45 #78998 by Serious tribe
Replied by Serious tribe on topic Berg Alert 2024
I think the supposition that these attacks are close to the start of colder weather is a good one.  There also might be a strong link with long weekends as well as near to a full moon.  If there were actual dates this can be checked.  Although in this case, it was misty, so likely they trotted close to the cave and just waited until it was quiet.  Not sure if putting boots in the tent would have helped, perhaps.  I always pull my boots and gear into the tent at night regardless of where I am in the berg, just safer.  A portable remote motion sensor alarm at the entrance to the cave could help.  Only issue is pee breaks at night, don't want to set it off

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09 Apr 2024 13:57 #78999 by ASL-Bivak#
Replied by ASL-Bivak# on topic Berg Alert 2024
Maybe a remote sensor and a gun would send a message...

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09 Apr 2024 16:36 - 10 Apr 2024 14:27 #79002 by tiska
Replied by tiska on topic Berg Alert 2024
Updated details include better refinement of dates and date of full moon plus days offset from full moon (if night time attack).
This list does not include sketchy encounters, being caught in the cross-fire of smugglers, events on the roads leading into the Berg or strife around picnic sites or resorts. The list is primary aimed at attacks and robberies on the high Berg, either during the day or at night.

Some of the precise dates couldn't be pinned down. In these cases (approx) has been used as the date estimate. These cover events usually reported by a third party with wording along the lines of 'last week....'.
This sort of inspection underscores the value of recording as much detail as possible about difficulties in the Berg.

28 March  night Mafadi 
Full Moon 25 March (3 day offset) 

15April day Walker’s Peak 

 2022 No reports  

27 Feb daytime Bollard Pass 
6 (approx) October night Giants Pass (wrong place at the wrong time opportunistic attack rather than more planned - I think)
Full Moon 20 September 

24 (approx) March daytime Mashai Pass 
Full Moon 9 March 

LDF  incident - not the usual modis  

3 April night Fangs Pass 
Full Moon 31 March
(4 day offset)

1 (approx) April night Tsepeng-Matabeng 
Full Moon 11 April
(10 day offset) 

23 (approx) April night Ribbon Falls 
24 April night Fangs Pass
Full  Moon 22 April (1 and 2 day offset) 

26 April day base of Masubusuba Pass
Full Moon 4 May (8 day offset) 

21 April night Tugela Falls
30  April day Rhino Peak
Full Moon 4 May (13 day and 4 day offset) 

No reports 

25 March night Amphitheatre
Full Moon 6 April (12 day offset)
Last edit: 10 Apr 2024 14:27 by tiska.
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10 Apr 2024 09:52 #79004 by BergAttie
Replied by BergAttie on topic Berg Alert 2024
In a cave putting boots inside a tent is obviously not always an option. Boots probably most valuable item when up there so important to secure. I have in the past put boots inside my sleeping back or tie the laces to the sips of the sleeping bag. Even tying them to pots and pans to make racket when moved. I'm also going to look into the motion sensors going forward.

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10 Apr 2024 10:44 #79005 by Riaang
Replied by Riaang on topic Berg Alert 2024
We've used those solar lights triggered by movement in Sentinel cave once. Caught my wife red-handed as she was sneaking out of the cave for a midnight pee 

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. These weigh next to nothing and works quite well.

What I normally do in caves is to put the backpack and everything else near the back of the cave, so the would-be thief would have to take a bigger risk to get to it. I normally pack everything back in my pack, except food and stove (don't want a mouse gnawing through my pack to get to the cheese and nuts in my foodbag), and then I leave my hiking poles next to my side, pointy end facing towards the cave entrance. It does send a subconscious message to any would-be thief that we are maybe/possibly prepared for something. These people are cowards, but they are not entirely stupid, and if they see things like an LED light going off in their faces, packs at the back of the cave with nothing lying around and things that can potentially hurt them between them and your gear, they will (most of the time) run away.

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20 Jun 2024 08:59 #79116 by China
Replied by China on topic Berg Alert 2024
Unfortunately , I need to report an incident that took place on Leslie’s pass .    Date of incident :  28 May 2024 Description of the herder :  traditional blanket, white gumboots , 4 dogs ( one of the dogs was a white puppy) the herder was also wearing a balaclava.  Background of the incident :  My husband and I were walking from Mafadi along the escarpment to Leslie’s pass to start our decent back to Injisuthi camp when we were approached by a Basotho herder who like ALL the other herders, requested cigarettes or sweets.  My husband informed him in broken Sotho that we were approached by a number of herders during the course of the morning, and we did not have any sweets left, and because we do not smoke, we don’t have cigarettes on us,  he then offered to walk with us under the guise of wanting to show us where the pass was located.   I was not comfortable with the idea of him walking with us and I gave him my sunglasses , hoping he would go about his day if he received something worth value .  He proceeded to thank me and insisted on walking with us to the start of the pass.  I was still not at ease with this arrangement and proceeded to walk behind him , my husband was walking in front with his GPS. The herder walked with us until we reached Leslie’s pass , again we thanked him for his help, he proceeded to say that he wants to walk down the pass to hunt with his dogs, my husband cautioned him not to descend the pass with us because it is not permitted to hunt in the park. At this stage he was slowly descending the pass with us , my husband in front the herder behind him and  I was at the back , I must have gotten sidetracked with the dog that stopped right in front of me but the next thing I remember was a loud noise  and my husband shouting , I looked up and saw the herder with a second rock in his hand ready to throw again. The first rock struck the back of my husband’s head, likely he managed to avoid the second (bigger rock) that was thrown by the herder.  At that point I realised what was happening and with the herder standing in front of me I had the tactical advantage of beating him with my trekking pole over the head and back.  Thereafter, he took off running up the pass,  while I tended to my husband’s wound.  You would think this would be the end of the story , sadly it was not .. while we were busy phoning the emergency numbers printed on the tear out slip of the overnight register , the herder started rolling rocks/ boulders down the pass.   We were lucky that no rocks hit us because we were sitting next to an overhang that shielded us from the crashing boulders and we could just take shelter underneath it. Fortunately, the second attack did not last long, and we managed to start our descent approximately 30 min after the first attack started the bleeding to the headwound stopped quickly without the need for stitches. Parks failure :  The emergency number, 036 431 9002 on your overnight register belongs to a person that is no longer employed at KZN parks and the 082 302 1067 disconnected without ringing. Concerning behaviour exhibited by the herder: This individual is going to attack more people; I am sure that we were not his first and we will not be his last. There was clear premeditation to cause harm , why would he walk approximately 3 kilometres out of his way , after receiving brand new hiking sunglasses?

Here is the GPS location of where we encountered the herder 29°10'35"S  29°20'34"E . 

The incident was reported to the  Park Manager , Regional Manager and Conservation Manager and they have been in contact with me, the Park Manager also informed me that he is attending to the outdated emergency numbers.  
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20 Jun 2024 13:24 #79117 by Beard
Replied by Beard on topic Berg Alert 2024
This is alarming considering the area. 
Has anyone tried having a camera or phone out when basothos approach? If there was risk of evidence would it deter or just encourage aggression?
I carry pepper spray and machete now and well prepared to use both. Terrible thought but does keep mind at ease, as if attacked i will look to restrain/detain for authorities. (and 'safe' to do so)
My aim is always to be in group of 4 at least. 
Also, thank you for sharing as it does give MO - noted to not let people walk behind you.

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20 Jun 2024 14:21 #79118 by Edwin128
Replied by Edwin128 on topic Berg Alert 2024
Hi. Did you report it to the police?. For the previous attack the police put the excuse that it was on Lesotho, but this clearly was on South Africa. so, they should accept the opening of a case.

Maybe were they the same shepards from the previous attack? This one was not so far from IUC.

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22 Jun 2024 08:26 #79119 by tiska
Replied by tiska on topic Berg Alert 2024
This incident is disconcertingly similar to 15 April 2023 attack which was much further south. 
I wouldn’t rule out comms between the herder communities across the escarpment. 

My guess is that these kind of attacks will continue until a rock throwing herder comes off distinctly second best. That said, good for China for delivering some medicine back with the trekking poles. 

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