Sentinel Car Park to Cathedral Peak - Northern Berg Escarpment Traverse

08 Jun 2012 05:35 #54234 by Stijn
Hi Dave

All of the caves you mention are quite secluded from Lesotho (especially Fangs Cave) and none has had any evidence of Basotho use except for Mponjwane Cave perhaps.

I will echo Ghaznavid's recommendation to take tents anyway, especially in winter - I have often had to set up a tent inside a cave in winter due to the icy winds being funnelled by the cave...

That schedule looks perfect - you'll have enough time to explore a bit and won't have to start your days too early on those icy winter mornings! :thumbsup:

Enjoy!

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08 Jun 2012 05:49 #54235 by tiska
Hi Dave,
I've done that route in summer and winter 5 or more times and never with a tent. The route is one of the best served by caves in the High Berg. If you know the location of other caves you have more flexibility and can choose between caves if the weather is cold and windy e.g. ledgers Vs Mponjwane or Mbundini Vs Fangs, Easter Vs Twins. They are often within an hour or so of each other but have different degrees of exposure to the winds.

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11 Jun 2012 10:20 #54268 by Davidtrickey
Thanks for the Advice guys.

Much appreciated.

Dave.

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13 Jun 2012 14:08 - 13 Jun 2012 14:09 #54317 by intrepid
Hi Dave,

I would say security is not your biggest issue, rather, the shelter you can expect in the case of a snow blizzard. Caves like Ifidi and Mponj can easily get pelted with snow right into the furthest corner. The same can happen with Easter Cave but to a lesser extent. Fangs Cave might hold up well, but even that is not guaranteed. Do take at least very good bivvies with. I agree with ghaz, the cautious and conservative advice would be to take a tent along as a backup (even 3/4 people per 2-man tent). If you know these caves and the route, and know what to expect, then fine, leave the tents. Gauge it by your level of Berg-experience, how competent you are with finding them, and how strong your group is (if you get stuck in a blizzard 5km from the intended cave, will you keep walking?). Don't rely totally on a GPS either. You still might struggle to find them. And what happens if you bash it against a rock and it breaks half-way through...that kind of thing.

The shepherds do use Mponj Cave at times, but very unlikely in the winter.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 13 Jun 2012 14:09 by intrepid.

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02 Jul 2012 09:41 #54570 by Davidtrickey
Thanks yes we will take a 2 man tent between the three of us.

Dave.

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06 Jul 2012 03:56 #54584 by DeonS
Does any one know what the cost per person is to hike from Sentinal car park?

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06 Jul 2012 06:27 #54585 by Smurfatefrog

Davidtrickey wrote: Thanks yes we will take a 2 man tent between the three of us.

Dave.

Its R60, you usually pay this at the entrance gate so keep your receipt for when you get to the Sentinel office. I don't think anyone really knows how you are meant to treat overnight hikes from there which go into other reserves

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22 Jan 2013 07:44 #55911 by Ryno
Is it even possible.
Me and my girlfriend would like to do a 4 day Hike in the Northern Drakensberg.
I do not know the berg that well but thaught about starting at Sentinal car park and finishing at Cathedral Peak Hotel. First of all is this Hike even possible in 4 days and how hectic is it? is there opertunities to get a lift back to my car and how far is it?Here is the catch, I would like to propose to my girlfriend, the plan is for a Helicopter to pick us up during our Hike,the helicopter guys says it is possible to pick us up in the "orange peel gap" and drop us there again after the Helicopter trip of about 30min. My other option is Mnweni pass down Rockeries pass starting at the Mnweni cultural centre, this is a circular route so I have no problem getting back to my car but I have heard that this is a difficult route. The other problem is the Helicopters do not fly in this area on a regular basis and do not know where they can land and if they can.
Any ideas and thaughts would be much appreciated.

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22 Jan 2013 09:36 - 22 Jan 2013 09:40 #55913 by ghaznavid
Hmmm - is it possible to hike from Sentinel car park to Cathedral Peak Hotel in 4 days? Yes - Sentinel Car park to Bushman's Nek has been done in under 62 hours, so definitely possible. Its actually not such a bad walk. I haven't done it that way round, or in exactly that configuration, but I have walked from near the top of Mlambonja Pass to Sentinel Car Park (part of my Grand Traverse last year). At the end of the day it comes down to how fit you are, how well you navigate (you could easily get lost around the Ifidi and North Saddle Peak ridges) and how the weather goes.

You could easily get from the car park to Icidi on day 1 - thats about 15km. Day 2 you could hit Senqu Valley. And day 3 you would be at the Cathedral Peak - I assume via the Bell Traverse if you aim to reach Orange Peel Gap.

I wouldn't suggest trying to do a pass at Mnweni - the cultural centre is a long way from the ends of passes and the passes are really tough. Any way, Rockeries Pass is in the Senqu Valley area, so from there to the top of Mlambonja Pass (the head of the Bell Traverse) isn't far and just has 1 ridge in the way. Be careful coming down that ridge though - there is a rock band where you have to walk about 1km into Lesotho to find the small break in it.



The guy who runs Witsieshoek Resort does do transport, so he can probably pick you up at Cathedral Peak Hotel and take you back to where you started - but he charges a lot. There are some threads on this forum about this topic. Can't remember the thread names off the top of my head.

Just a heads up - please make sure you have a GPS and a good route loaded as well as a map in case the GPS misleads you or fails, I think there is a GPS track for a Grand Traverse (GT) in the downloads section, failing which there are guys on this forum who do have this track. Navigation on the escarpment isn't as easy as it sounds - especially in mist. The finding of passes in bad weather becomes basically impossible.

Also make sure you are prepared for all weather - even in summer the temperatures on top frequently drop below 0. It has snowed in summer on many occasions in the past. Combine being wet with wind chill in a gale force wind - it can become very cold.

Ps. good luck - hope she says yes :thumbsup:

Getting to the top is nothing, the way you do it is everything – Royal Robins

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Last edit: 22 Jan 2013 09:40 by ghaznavid.

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22 Jan 2013 11:00 #55914 by Smurfatefrog
Looking at the title of the thread I wasnt sure if I should be saying congrats or if you were referring to Engagement Cave!

I had planned to propose to my wife on top of the Amphitheatre, had the ring stored in my wallet, then like an idiot left my wallet in the car! So don't make that mistake

If you haven't done any passes before I would suggest maybe doing a lower berg hike & getting the heli ride to the top and doing the deed there, and then getting a ride back down.
The last thing you want is your girlfriend complaining and struggling the whole way & making the day unpleasant. And then you will also both have sore muscles and have no energy for later that night....

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