The great divide - linking Lotheni to Vergelegen in the lower berg ?

12 Dec 2018 14:12 #74369 by AndrewP
It really is time for me to visit that rather large stretch of 'berg between Giants Castle and Sani Pass.

My car will not make it to Vergelegen happily so I am thinking of using Lotheni as the start / end point of a hike.  I am wanting 2 nights on top (at a normal person's hiking pace), so a loop up South Hlatimba and down Loteni Pass is going to be rather short summit day.

I would prefer to extend the hike southwards as that is new ground. Yet, below the escarpment, the map shows no paths linking the Ka-Zwelele ridge below the Hlatimba passes with anything coming down in the Vergelegen area.  Is there maybe a way to link either the contour paths in the 2 areas, or alternatively to link from the Memele ruins?  

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21 Jan 2020 12:19 #75617 by Filippo
Hi Andrew... this is an old post which didn't seem to find much traction. Did you get to this area in the end? In December 2019, Karoline and I did exactly what you were thinking about in this old post - we found a way to link Vergelegen to Lotheni. We started at Sani Top Chalets and headed north along the escapement before dropping down Mkhomazi Pass (very easy pass). This area of the lower Berg is so remote that Basotho shepards push their cattle down the pass to feeds in the valleys below the escapement, without KZN Wildlife officials begin aware of their encroachment. The KZN Wildlife map of this area shows a contour path at 2,300m. The path has disappeared and we followed the contour as close to where the map indicates the path. For the next 10km all the way to the Botton of the Mlahlangubo pass and river there were only sporadic appearances of this path and for the most part we had to make our own way through very difficult terrain - it would have been easier to have remained on the escapement and only dropped down at Hlatimba Pass. Anyway, we wanted to find a way to link Vergelegen to Lotheni. We eventually made it to the ridge between the Mlahlangubo and Hlatimba rivers and followed this ridge eastwards before dropping into the Hlatimba valley to find Shelter Cave, where we spent the night. The following morning we crossed the Hlatimba river in front of the cave and climbed up a ridge on the northern side of the Hlatimba river in a northerly direction to interest with the contour path (as indicated on the map). We didn't find the path but figured out where it would have been in the days when it would have been visible. We followed the contour to the Ka-Zwelele ridge where the path appeared and we could use this ridge to make our way to Lotheni camp. 
The following user(s) said Thank You: tonymarshall, AndrewP

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