Mnweni - Cathedral Peak link-up via escarpment

11 May 2011 06:42 #2834 by plouw
sheez, i haven't been to the berg in months, planning a trip there in June in the cathedral peak area. was thinking of going up Ntonyelana pass from Mnweni cultural centre and descending via the Bell traverse to the cathedral peak hotel. any suggestions on this? 3 days sound reasonable? obviously we'll have to arrange transport between the start and end points. have done the bell traverse before, favourite section of the berg!
The other option we are looking at. is to do a cockade / tsekeketseke loop. any suggestions on this?

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11 May 2011 07:38 #2836 by Errol
HI,
Personally I wouldnt recomend tseke unless you keen for a longer day. See the 'lekker long easter topic' from page 2.

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11 May 2011 13:00 #2838 by Magan
plouw,
why would you want the schlep of sorting out transport between the 2 areas ..
rather 3 Day : Cockade Pass / Bell Trav or 4 Day : Mnweni / Ntonjelane Pass

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11 May 2011 13:23 #2839 by plouw
good point, Magan. thanks...will leave Ntonyelana for another time. just read Stijn's info on Cockade pass, quite keen to give it a go!:thumbsup:

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11 May 2011 14:19 #2841 by intrepid
You can end back at the MCC after the BT, but 3 days might not leave much time for enjoyment this way.

Bear in mind that Cockade Pass got flooded not so long ago. Haven't seen the extent of the damage myself but several reports have come back that its more difficult to navigate than it used to be.

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

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12 May 2011 10:21 #2846 by plouw
i agree intrepid, have done too many of those rushed hikes with little time to actually appreciate the scenery!
has anyone perhaps got photos of cockade pass after the recent floods?

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21 Mar 2013 09:39 #56333 by Andrew1000
Hi guys,

Planning an Easter trip and after some advice please:

Considering a round trip Didima, up Mlanbonja pass, down Rockeries to Mnweni Cultural Centre and traverse back to Didima. The route description in David Bristow's book for the MCC-Cathedral peak section doesn't seem to match the path as marked on the official No.1 and No.2 maps (although I've got an old edition of the book - 10 years). Has anyone done that section, is the path easy to follow?

Is 4-5 days realistic for this circuit?

I've never been to the Mnweni area - how is the MCC for camping? Also considering a round trip from MCC - is it completely safe leaving a vehicle here for a few nights?

Thanks a lot for any advice.

Andrew

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21 Mar 2013 18:34 #56335 by ghaznavid
Welcome to the forum!

Ok - having only done the bit escarpment bit of your hike I'll leave route assistance to the plentiful group of Mnweni-ites on this forum...

Just a note on the book - its a great book and has been used by many. But don't take what it says as fact, its got plenty of mistakes, misleading info etc. The maps - while also not perfect - are a much better planning tool. Then again, VE is probably the most reliable source of info I have ever found :thumbsup:

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25 Mar 2013 10:56 - 25 Mar 2013 10:59 #56365 by tonymarshall
Hi Andrew,

Regarding the second part of your query, MCC is fine for camping. They have a large grassed area where you can tent, with ablutions and a kitchen area available nearby. There are also chalets/rooms available to stay in, although very basic. There was a large group from Vryburg who had camped there last Wednesday night before starting their hike, when our group arrived there on Thursday morning to do Icidi and Mbundini Passes.

It is completely safe leaving a vehicle at MCC for a few nights, I have done this many times myself and am not aware of any incidents of theft or vandalism. MCC is a community initiative (obviously with outside assistance) and this seems to be succeeding in creating a huge amount of goodwill towards hikers by the community.

MCC also offers other services such as arranging transport for hikers to and from MCC to the road ends towards the passes up the Mnweni and Ntonjelana valleys :thumbsup: , guided/portered hikes, and cultural visits with locals in their homes.
Last edit: 25 Mar 2013 10:59 by tonymarshall.

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25 Mar 2013 13:43 - 25 Mar 2013 13:44 #56369 by intrepid
Welcome to the forum Andrew. I havent done that section of trail from MCC to Cathedral though I've certainly been aware of it and intending to do it for a while. There is definitely a trail taking you from there through to the Sqonqweni Cave area, I've seen it many times, though its a bit confusing getting up onto the ridge at start, where the koppie known as Xhozo is, simply cause there is such a mish-mash of trails and homesteads. From Sqonqweni Cave area I dont think its too difficult connnecting up with Baboon Rock - again Ive seen a network of trails out there (dont know exactly how they all work) since the locals seem to use that area extensively. You could also slog up the valley a bit to reach Orange Peel Gap and head back along the trail from there.

Also, to go to the MCC from Rockeries and then up onto this trail is about a 10km detour! You could cross the Ntonjelana River much earlier and find a way up the ridge sooner. It is steeper at this point with more cliffs but I think there is a way, I've certainly seen trails before the MCC. There is a smuggling route connecting to this trail from Ntonjelana Pass too, but for this you would have to head up the Ntonjelana for quite a bit from the Rockeries split.

If you are unfamiliar with the area I would say five days at least, perhaps if you cut out that extra 10km you could pull it off in four, but you are setting yourself up for some long and committing days.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 25 Mar 2013 13:44 by intrepid.

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