Organ Pipes Pass- Mlambonja Pass Loop Trip Report

05 May 2015 14:58 - 05 May 2015 20:01 #63647 by Smurfatefrog

diverian wrote: 120 hikers WOW that's a little over the KZN Wildlife reccomended max group size of 12 for minimal environmental impact! Did you find out where they actually went ?


Night 1 they spent at the top of Mike's Pass, they told Clara it took them 4.5 hours to get there.
The next day they had split into groups of 10 and said they were heading to the Tseke valley, I thought of Intrepid's peace being disturbed... but all we saw them do was climb a random hill just north of Thuthumi ridge. We next saw them returning on Sunday from the waterfalls route.
No idea where they would've found space for 120 to camp!
Last edit: 05 May 2015 20:01 by Smurfatefrog.
The following user(s) said Thank You: diverian

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05 May 2015 15:36 #63649 by intrepid
Nice route. I recently did Thuthumi Ridge again, it impresses me every time. I consider it to be one of the most scenic routes in the Berg.

Smurfatefrog wrote:

diverian wrote: 120 hikers WOW that's a little over the KZN Wildlife reccomended max group size of 12 for minimal environmental impact! Did you find out where they actually went ?


Night 1 they spent at the top of Mike's Pass, they told Clara it took them 4.5 hours to get there.
The next day they had split into groups of 10 and said they were heading to the Tseke valley, I thought of Intrepid's peace being disturbed... but all we saw them do was climb a random hill just south of Thuthumi ridge. We next saw them returning on Sunday from the waterfalls route.
No idea where they would've found space for 120 to camp!

I wonder if all of that was arranged with KZN Wildlife, thats a seriously crazy group size. Luckily we took a day of rest at the Mnweni Centre before starting at Didima. We bivvied 2 nights high up in the Tseke Valley on "the big flat rock at the final water" which is sometimes used as a Column assault base. We saw nobody except a group of four descending the pass behind us on Sunday.

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

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06 May 2015 07:58 #63651 by andrew r
Great trip report with equally good images, thank you. Well done for linking up with Clara and making her Drakensberg trip such a memorable one.

The (massive) group was probably The 4th Musketeers (a Christian men's movement) on the first SA Xtreme Character Challenge.
From their website:

The Xtreme Character Challenge is not just a weekend, it is a journey where you are mentally and physically challenged.


make a difference. today.

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06 May 2015 08:03 #63652 by JonWells
Thanks Andrew, you are spot on!

Found their FB page with some pics from the weekend: www.facebook.com/pages/4th-Musketeer-South-Africa/370687879775432?fref=photo

Clara has travelled to many mountain ranges around the world and yet she was absolutely blown away by the rugged beauty of the Berg. She says she has never seen mountains as unique as the Drakensberg and that they were "absolutely wicked!" :)

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06 May 2015 08:21 #63653 by ghaznavid

JonWells wrote: Clara has travelled to many mountain ranges around the world and yet she was absolutely blown away by the rugged beauty of the Berg. She says she has never seen mountains as unique as the Drakensberg and that they were "absolutely wicked!" :)


A relative of mine was on holiday in Alaska. He was talking to a well traveled individual who had climbed many mountains across the world (and didn't know that my relative is a South African). When asked what his favourite mountain range was, he replied that it was the Berg.

I think it is very easy to take something for granted when it is a 3 hour drive from your front door :laugh:

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06 May 2015 08:23 #63655 by Smurfatefrog

JonWells wrote: Clara has travelled to many mountain ranges around the world and yet she was absolutely blown away by the rugged beauty of the Berg. She says she has never seen mountains as unique as the Drakensberg and that they were "absolutely wicked!" :)


She definitely had the best first view ever of the Drakensberg! Drive up in the dark, hike 7km in the dark then with her first view being sunrise surrounding by Cleft, Column, Pyramid, Cathedral range etc

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14 Jul 2015 10:47 - 14 Jul 2015 10:48 #64523 by LouisvV
According to replies on my question in another thread (here) I was thinking of doing this loop. Would you say it is quite doable for second-timers in the Berg?

Is route finding on this one quite difficult? Planning to do this in September..
Last edit: 14 Jul 2015 10:48 by LouisvV. Reason: grammar

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14 Jul 2015 11:12 #64524 by LouisvV
Maybe heading up Organ Pipes, camp one night on the escarpment, and coming back down it again as I see it is rated (4/10) compared to Mlambonja which is rated (6/10) ??

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14 Jul 2015 11:18 #64525 by ghaznavid
I would head up Mlambonja as it is harder to find if you don't know where to look.

Both passes have good trails. This is a very tough 2 day hike though.

Just be aware that there is no water between Tseketseke Pass and the end of the Organ Pipes route. There is a water collection spot on Organ Pipes Pass, but it might be dry this time of year.

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14 Jul 2015 11:22 #64526 by Smurfatefrog
Louis, if I remember you did the Chain Ladders?

Navigation on Organ Pipes is not difficult, read Tony Marshall's write up though.
Escarpment navigation can always be tricky if you don't know the area, do you have a GPS?
If not then I would recommended maybe coming down via the Camel route (it shares the last 100m with the standard Organ Pipes pass)

Getting to the top on day 1 is certainly possible but just remember you'll be gaining about 1500m of altitude, make sure you have a backup plan should you not make it all the way up. Possibly Thuthumi Hut although water is a problem there

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