Namahadi Pass

16 Aug 2012 13:21 #55005 by ghaznavid
Namahadi Pass was created by ghaznavid
Anybody got info on Namahadi Pass, difficulty, paths, rockiness, any tricky/exposed bits, trails etc?

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16 Aug 2012 18:41 - 16 Aug 2012 18:43 #55010 by HFc
Replied by HFc on topic Namahadi Pass
I can't find any photos on the laptop since they were taken some years back.

Anyway it's an easy pass, steepish grass traversing but no technical bits at all. (Some of the valley hiking to get to the foot of the pass is more challenging). Limited exposure. From Fika Patso one needs to know where to go but the route soon joins up with a well trodden path on the way to the pass.

Yip, it's well trodden cause it's a smuggling pass. There is significant traffic on it.

My info is a bit vague sorry, I did not lead the group so did not take detailed notice of the route in. I do remember it's is a bit of a slog though, does take some time. To get to Namahadi peak itself would be easier via chain ladders.
Last edit: 16 Aug 2012 18:43 by HFc.
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16 Aug 2012 19:03 #55011 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Namahadi Pass
Thanks for the info. The main cause of the question is that my mother has wanted to stand on top of the Amphitheatre for many years, but she was under the impression that the chain ladders are 100m high! I have shown her pics of the chain ladders and she now realises that people were just trying to make their ascent via the walk-in-the-park of a "pass" sound more difficult than it actually is.

She has a severe fear of heights (she was barely able to come down Keathlands Pass (small berg) at Monks Cowl because of the drop off next to the path), so I think I can get her up the chain ladders with some help, but I don't know how to get her back down. I doubt I could get her down Beacon Buttress Gully. I'm looking for some feasible route, otherwise she will have to settle with a hike/drive up Sani...

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16 Aug 2012 19:52 #55013 by HFc
Replied by HFc on topic Namahadi Pass
I sincerely hope you succeed buddy. How I wish my parents can stand on top, but alas they're too old now to do this kind of thing. Sani Pass is also their only option.

They provided me with a much more priviledged youth than they had, now they're too old to do stuff like this. Makes me sad.

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16 Aug 2012 20:31 #55014 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Namahadi Pass
Thanks. I'm hoping to get some photos, but the fact that its in a gully for most of the way tells me that it should be sufficiently lacking in what she considers to be exposure :)

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03 Sep 2012 13:54 #55129 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Namahadi Pass
Namahadi is a well-established pass with a long history. Very do-able as far as passes go with a clear trail which is even extremely eroded in places. Nothing scary or exposed. Even the switch-backs near the top are numbered with paint!! Significant local and smuggler traffic. There are ruins of an old police post at the top. Has a very big cave called Suai at the base. There is a GPS data download available. There is also a split to another pass which tops out near Elandsriver Falls, not far from the cave. I have referred to this pass as "Barricade Pass" in my own notes since there is a classic, stone-wall barricade across the gully near the top, probably an old deterrent for rustlers.

You approach Namahadi from three angles: bundu-bash down into the valley from Sentinel Car Park, from Wtitsieshoek Resort via a trail network used by the locals, or from Fika Patso Dam (or from the old resort). It can be done as a very long day hike, combined with the Chain Ladders, but otherwise an enjoyable weekend hike. I'm not convinced that its a good day-hike option for your mother, especially since she is not a hiker.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
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26 Aug 2013 18:37 #58256 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Namahadi Pass
How feasible would it be to take the top Barricade Pass gully and traverse below the Long Buttress (the khulu between Barricade Pass and the Chain Ladders) and join up with the chain ladders path?

I want to do Namahadi Pass, but it looks less practical to join to the chain ladders path (it will be part of a long day hike).

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09 Sep 2013 18:42 #58434 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Namahadi Pass

ghaznavid wrote: How feasible would it be to take the top Barricade Pass gully and traverse below the Long Buttress (the khulu between Barricade Pass and the Chain Ladders) and join up with the chain ladders path?

I think your issue might be crossing the the Elands River Falls/Vemvane gully. Its a guess but you might need to loose quite a bit of altitude.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
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09 Sep 2013 19:23 #58439 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Namahadi Pass
I was mostly worried about Eland River Falls. Sadly all my photos of it cut off at the base of the falls. Maybe on the day I just need to get a good look at the base and make a call at the time.

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02 Sep 2014 16:49 - 04 Sep 2014 07:28 #61670 by andrew r
Replied by andrew r on topic Namahadi Pass
Namahadi Pass Recce
On 29th & 30th August, bartvandijk led andrew r and Martin (not on VE) on a hike to recce a route from Sentinel Car Park up Namahadi Pass, in preparation for a 3-day hike with a larger group later in September.
After signing the register and settling our hiking fees we left the car park at 7:45 and turned immediately off the concrete path that goes to the chain ladders, dropping down into the valley in front of the NNW face of Sentinel, crossing the first valley bottom at about 2350m. We then traversed around on a contour just above a rock band at about this level, dropping down a bit as we approached a saddle in the north-west spur off Sentinel. From there we headed down the spur, mostly on the north side as it is a lot less steep, heading for the well-worn smugglers path from Namahadi Pass to Phuthaditjaba, which we picked up about 300m before it crosses the Namahadi River, and followed the path down to the river crossing at 2000m where we had a break. On the way the caves in the rock band opposite were easy to pick out, but not sure exactly which is Suai Cave:



We filled a water bottle in the little bit of flow (upstream of the crossing to be safe) and set off again at about 10:20, following the extremely eroded smuggler highway upwards, stopping for lunch after 2 hours on a spur almost within sight of the pass:



From here we set off at about 13:20, continuing along the smugglers route, past the bottom of Barricade Pass and reached the base of Namahadi Pass in about 40 minutes (edit: we didn't actually pass the foot of Barricade Pass as it was on the north side of the spur where we stopped for lunch):



From the picture above it is clear that the zig-zags proceed up the southern (true left) side of the pass, but we stuck to the floor of the valley making narrow zig-zags up the middle-to-northern side and as a result got tangled up in the rockfall half-way up, which we then clambered across and worked narrow zig-zags on the southern side.
There are vulture nests in the rocky crags on both sides of the pass, and a cave with a low rock wall about two-thirds of the way up the pass on the northern side after the rockslide:



Having made speedy progress through the day up to the pass proper, and this being my first attempt at a Drakensberg pass, I will confess that I was amazed at how hard it was to make headway up the steep slopes. It was only when we got to the rocky section near the top, where the zig-zags are numbered and there is no other way to go up other than in wide arcs, that I realised that one of my mistakes was trying to go straight up in small zig-zags: it is much easier and just as quick to make wide sweeping zig-zags. Hopefully a lesson learned.



Anyway, we topped out at 17:45 with the light fading, and quickly changed into dry warm clothes. On the basis that the very cold weather in the preceding days would keep the smugglers at home, we set up our tents just in front of the old police buildings, made some warm food and tea and by 19:00 we were in bed for the night.
The wind picked up during the night which together with the altitude resulted in a bit of a restless sleep, but the morning dawned just as bright and clear as the day before. After a light breakfast and tea we ambled along the escarpment edge spotting two lammergeiers on the way towards the chain ladders, which we reached at 8:30, had a brief snack and headed on down back to the car park without stops which we reached at 9:45.
All in all things went pretty well to plan, and despite the possibility of extremely cold weather we were blessed with much milder conditions and awesome clear views:


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Last edit: 04 Sep 2014 07:28 by andrew r. Reason: corrections
The following user(s) said Thank You: Serious tribe, elinda, Stijn, JonWells, ghaznavid, Smurfatefrog, tonymarshall, HFc, Captain, Richard Hunt

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