The heavy rains in Jan/Dec have washed away a few small sections of the path after Pillar Cave - but this is really minor. The top of the pass is still a little vague but a few path "options" over the steep grassed section seem to have developed. I think there has been a lot of traffic up/down there: pieces of shoe and a balaclava are hints at that.
In front of Pillar Cave are some big boulders - there was a massive amount of rubbish (old cans and plastic mostly) in and amongst them
Otherwise, this is still a great place.
I was reading some literature on the Berg dated from the 70's, or early 80's I think. It mentioned the litter problems at Pillar Cave even then!
Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
This pass is frequently used by hikers climbing the Rhino as it is by far the most direct (hiking) route to the top of this impressive peak. It is by no means a walk in the park though and there are some tricky sections higher up due to some heavy erosion and scree fields.
There is an awesome cave (which I think I was the first person to consider properly, but I'm not sure) called Clam Shell Cave (named by me). I posted a thread on it a few months ago. Its 1km up the pass, got a better look at it when Mashai Pass defeated me for the second time this year last weekend (although this time the problem was more that I felt sick than the weather which was pretty bad). I don't know how well you know the pass, but after Pillar Cave Annex you cross the river to the left hand bank, you then go up a very deeply eroded path and just before you reach the sandy section and the river crossing you will see it on your left. This is a photo from around the Christmas Tree looking down at the cave (due to my sickness I didn't inspect the cave properly or get GPS co-ords):
But really, other than the high theft risk of Mashai Shelter, it is an odd cave and is of little use.
Just a note on the pass, wind is channeled down it and due to land-slides its also very dusty and dust in your eyes, ears, nose, mouth, hair etc is a major annoyance. I'll be surprised if the pass isn't actually closed in the next few years due to this (if the errosion doesn't just make it impassable)...
If you have any questions or want any photos of the area, please let me know, I have around 1000 of them!
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Some beg for sweets or other items and can be a bit harassing at times.
A female friend this last weekend was approached inappropriately, so I'd advise to go in larger groups if possible, and to stick together around the pass summit and Rhino peak
At the top of Mashai Pass, I visited the small Mashai Shelter, right at the top of the pass.
The view at the top of Mashai Pass, with the long ridge going out to Rhino Peak in the background.
Mashai Pass has a good trail the entire way, although there did seem to be some confusing short cuts and dead end trails along the way. The photo below shows the view back up the trail at the grass slope at the top of the pass.
A view down the upper section of Mashai Pass, where the trail was on the grass slope on the true right.
Another view up the pass, before the trail went into the boulder bed. There were quite a lot of small patches of ice on the pass.
In the middle section of the pass, the trail is in the boulder bed.