Northern Garden Castle Trip Report

23 Jul 2019 11:16 - 23 Jul 2019 11:16 #75183 by GriffBaker
Haha! Eh...but it looks gripping. 
Last edit: 23 Jul 2019 11:16 by GriffBaker.

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24 Jul 2019 14:51 - 24 Jul 2019 15:17 #75185 by GriffBaker
A few pics from our hike last weekend.

MarkT and I, arrived at Castle View Farm at 4:30 pm on Thursday evening after arranging access with Humphrey, the Owner of the farm. He kindly allowed us to park at the farmhouse and gave us a lift in the cruiser up to the trailhead near the Cattle Kraal. We set off up the Mzimkhul valley at about 5:30 pm and arrived at a Fun Cave at about 9 pm. Signs of smugglers were everywhere along the route with lots of litter left behind particularly in the overhang marked as Mzimkhulu cave at the entrance to the Mzimkhulu pipeline.  The walk-in was easy with not much ascent but the wind was pushing hard through the narrow valley that is home to Verkyker and Fun Caves.

After a windy night, we set off the following morning up Mzimkhulu pass North on a well-defined trail. The pass itself is quite easy and the walking pleasant by Berg pass standards. The wind at the top of the pass was pumping down the gulley, however, which made it a little more difficult but fun. We then crossed over the No Mans Peak saddle and made our way down a long spur towards the small cutback that marks the top of Sandleni pass and the location of the caves of the same name. The caves were easily located and we were pleasantly surprised by an abundance of icy water both in the gulley and the cave.  

The main Sandleni Cave is extremely windy in the front but more protected at the back with large portions of it being too damp and iced up for sleeping. I think I counted about 6 annexe caves around the corner from the main cave. the one closest to the main cave is very deep and protected from the wind but with a low ceiling and would provide very good shelter. The floor was also dry.

After a very cold night we set off the next morning over the Sandleni buttress and made our way to the head of Stones Pass North.  The entire area from Sandleni Pass North to the Minaret had been burnt so our walking from now on was mostly in freshly burnt terrain.  We crossed a few valleys and descended a tributary of the Mlahlangubo river that lead us to the very pleasant Wilsons Cave where we had lunch. We then contoured along just below the 'Sea Serpent' before heading up a small stream to look at Chameleon Cave. It was then just a quick crossover a small ridge into the next valley where we located Venice Cave, where we spent the night.

The following day we contoured above the Mzimkhulwana until reaching the saddle below Little Bamboo Mountain and descending back to the confluence of the Mlahlangubo, Sandleni and Mzimkhulu rivers where Humphrey kindly collected us on the farm road.  

 

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Last edit: 24 Jul 2019 15:17 by Smurfatefrog. Reason: removed duplicate images
The following user(s) said Thank You: elinda, JonWells, Bigsnake, MarkT, tonymarshall, Andreas, Dave

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24 Jul 2019 14:58 #75186 by GriffBaker
Apologies for duplicated images. I cannot seem to edit the post.

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