Cathedral Peak hikes - 4 days or longer

22 Feb 2013 10:42 #56088 by plouw
I would like to connect two passes in the Cathedral area that has intrigued me for a while now, Tlanyaku and Tsekeketseke. Would this be a do-able 4 day hike? first night Schoongezicht cave, then Didima / Rolands cave, last nigt somewhere in gully above Tsekeketseke pass or at the hut in the bottom of the pass. Is there a cave there in the pass vicinity. Would prefer to go without a tent. Thanks.

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22 Feb 2013 10:52 #56089 by tiska
Tlanyaku and Tsekeketseke. Would this be a do-able 4 day hike?

Yes, easily. You could probably walk out from Rolands via Tseke in a day, making it 3 days in total.

Is there a cave there in the pass (Tseke) vicinity. Would prefer to go without a tent.

Closest cave to Tseke would be Twins or Rolands. Nothing that I know of in Tseke itself.

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22 Feb 2013 13:26 - 22 Feb 2013 14:03 #56090 by ghaznavid
I agree, the route between the 2 is easy. Schoongezicht to Roland's or Upper Ndumeni is a bit of a push, but doable (I have done the push the other way round, but it was a qualifier for the GT). If you end day 2 at Didima Cave you'll have a hang of a push to get over the Ndumeni and Cleft ridges with still pushing to get down Tseke. But connecting Didima and Roland's cave is way too easy for 1 day unless you plan on climbing some khulus along the way (maybe not a bad idea - Ndumeni Dome especially is an awesome peak). You could also spend part of the day in that awesome pool on the river between Thlanyako and Smugglers Pass.

Getting to the top is nothing, the way you do it is everything – Royal Robins
Last edit: 22 Feb 2013 14:03 by ghaznavid.

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22 Feb 2013 14:02 #56091 by Sabine
Schoongezicht cave will make day one very short. You can easily get to the top of Tlanyaku by the end of the afternoon, however no cave there. If you only want to do the cave route, then Schoongezicht to Upper Ndumeni is quite doable in a day. Then from there down Tseketseke pass to Tseke hut on day three and out on day four and you will have had a great hike! Enjoy!

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25 Feb 2013 18:11 #56099 by intrepid
As a no-tent itinerary it might work better in reverse. Day 1 to Tseke Hut, Day 2 to Rolands or one of the Ndumeni Caves, Day 3 to Schoongezicht Cave, Day 4 out. That way round seems to work a lot easier in my mind.

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

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26 Feb 2013 07:06 - 26 Feb 2013 07:18 #56101 by plouw
Thanks for all the advice.
@Intrepid: I'm keen to rather descend Tseke, think the spires and exposure on the descent will be exhilarating! And, to me, ascending a ridge route like Tlanyaku is always pleasant.
How safe is Tlanyaku in terms of smuggler activity? I read on Berg.co.za that Schoongezicht Cave is used by smugglers frequently, and they advise against using it.
Last edit: 26 Feb 2013 07:18 by plouw.

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26 Feb 2013 07:16 #56102 by Sabine
We went up and down Tlanjaku in November 2011 and met up with no one. We also slept in Schoongesicht cave and it was clean and didn't look like there was any activity there. It might have changed now.

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26 Feb 2013 08:13 #56103 by intrepid
Personally I havent encountered much evidence that Schoongezicht is used by them. Certainly their route is near the cave on the opposite side of the river, but there isn't even much of a trail leading to the cave, and it's pretty inconvenient bashing through the river bed, then crossing the river itself (which can be pumping at this time of year) just to use the cave, and then reversing to get back onto the trail. They actually use Sibayeni Cave which is much closer to their route. So I think the cave should be fine - I have used it more than once in peak smuggling season. Just don't leave any gear unattended in this area, ever. Tlanyaku is a major route so your chances of encountering smugglers is high, especially now as the season starts kicking in. It should be ok to go, just check with KZN Wildlife before you set out that they are not patrolling in the area, and avoid walking around in the dark.

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

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25 Oct 2013 14:42 #58883 by Cameron.N
Hi Everyone

This is my first post. Great forum, have gained some great info.
The problem, sometimes though, is that that too much information can be overwhelming :blink:
So I was hoping to get some tips/pointers/info from some of the veterans out there.

I live in Cape Town and have never actually been into the Drakensburg, other than driving through the pass on the way to Durbs and seeing it from Howick (My granny lived there).

Now my dad, my brothers and a couple of mates are planning a 4 or 5 day hike and I was hoping to get some information as to which hike would be the best for us to do. I would love to do something that is a bit more advanced than a straight footpath and somewhere with caves that I could explore would also be a plus (but not a must). I am an avid caver here is the south.

I will meet my family up in Joburg and we will drive down from there, so nothing too far South.
We are all of moderate fitness, some of us more so than others, but we all have a good amount of outdoor experience.
We really want to camp out in tents in the open, would prefer not to stay in huts.

From what I have read online, March to May is a good time to go? We will not be kitted for winter hiking and would prefer not to die of heat...
Also, any recommendations on where to get decent maps so that we can plan our route?

Any suggestions on the following:
Cost
Food
Equipment required
Paperwork etc required

Would appreciate any information or recommendations
Kind regards,
Cameron

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25 Oct 2013 16:02 #58884 by ghaznavid

Cameron.N wrote: Hi Everyone

This is my first post. Great forum, have gained some great info.
The problem, sometimes though, is that that too much information can be overwhelming :blink:


Hi and welcome to VE :thumbsup:

Overwhelming or comprehensive :P

Cameron.N wrote: I would love to do something that is a bit more advanced than a straight footpath and somewhere with caves that I could explore would also be a plus (but not a must). I am an avid caver here is the south.


Hmmm - paths in the Berg, there are a few scattered around the place :silly:

But seriously - I hope you have a good GPS, getting lost in the Berg is quite easy. Going off path is great, but study the shape of the land on the map and Google Earth beforehand. The mist can hit quickly and it is very easy to get lost. Knowing the shape of the land is what sorted me out when I got detached from group in the mist last year. Photos on my camera helped too.

There are tons of caves pretty much everywhere, but very few are even 10m deep. There are 2 massive ones I know of - Cannibal Cave with a 30+m high roof and a 300+m front (Royal Natal/the Cavern - Northern Berg) and Vast Cave with its 100m depth (Bushmans Nek - Southern Berg).

Cameron.N wrote: I will meet my family up in Joburg and we will drive down from there, so nothing too far South.
We are all of moderate fitness, some of us more so than others, but we all have a good amount of outdoor experience.
We really want to camp out in tents in the open, would prefer not to stay in huts.


I was going to say Southern Berg because it is awesome, very few paths and lots of caves - but the drive from Jo'burg is very long.

I'll let the Mnweni guys give you some ideas for loops there, plenty come to mind but its not an area I know well. Free State Berg is also an option, but I can't give you advice on there either.

Some cool options would be:
- From Witsieshoek head up the chainladders, there is Crows Nest cave up there. You could then pretty much go exploring in any direction - perhaps a loop through northern Mnweni and a return via the rivers in Lesotho - you could do a nice circular hike and the view of the northern Berg from northern Mnweni is amazing.
- Didima has an awesome loop of going up Organ Pipes Pass and down Thlanyako Pass. This is one of my favourite loops in the Berg and you will have plenty of caves to chose from. There are also tons of writeups on both passes, including photos. This route has paths most of the way, but you can easily avoid following the river in Lesotho and follow the escarpment edge. This route also covers some of the most amazing rock pools on the top
- If you are looking for a walk around the small Berg for a few days, Injisuthi has some nice routes and you can go off path quite easily. It has a really nice rock art site called Battle Cave - you need to be accompanied by a guide to visit the cave. You can head to the top here if you like.
- My main recommendation would be a loop at Giant's Castle (central Berg). Purely because the passes are relatively easy, there are some great caves, a good combo of good paths and no paths. Langalibalele Pass is probably the best combo of great scenery and easy access to the top. The approach ridge is tough, but really beautiful, the pass is quick and easy with a good path.

If you guys don't know the Berg I would not recommend Monk's Cowl - beautiful area, but the valleys can be a tad confusing if you don't know them well. It is a great area to do a small Berg loop though - it is a really beautiful area.

Cameron.N wrote: From what I have read online, March to May is a good time to go? We will not be kitted for winter hiking and would prefer not to die of heat...


Everyone has a That would be my favourite time to go, but IMO summer is the most beautiful time, winter after a big snow can also be amazing. The weather can get really bad any time of the year.

On the top it very rarely gets past 25 degrees.

Cameron.N wrote: Also, any recommendations on where to get decent maps so that we can plan our route?


You can download maps from www.berg.co.za

Mountain Mail Order also stocks them.

Cameron.N wrote: Any suggestions on the following:
Cost
Food
Equipment required
Paperwork etc required

Would appreciate any information or recommendations
Kind regards,
Cameron


Costs - hiking permits in the KZN reserves are R45 pppn, some reserves charge extra for booking caves, others don't.

Food and equipment are covered in detail elsewhere.

Paperwork is simply your hiking permit and DON'T FORGET TO FILL IN THE MOUNTAIN REGISTER IN GREAT DETAIL!

Hope that helps...

Getting to the top is nothing, the way you do it is everything – Royal Robins
The following user(s) said Thank You: Cameron.N

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