Northern Berg escarpment loops from Sentinel Car Park/Amphitheatre

22 Mar 2016 12:04 #67420 by vasbyt
Stunning, thank you for sharing. Can't wait to go up on Friday.

Thinking that Infidi cave sounds like a great idea. Night 1 camp at Ribbon falls then make our way to the cave. Any where else up there worth overnighting?

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23 Mar 2016 19:33 #67453 by vasbyt
Hi Minibo, we'll probably see you around up the top then. We're also planning on going from the ladders to Icidi / Ifidi cave the first night then heading back towards Ribbon Falls for a night then possibly Crows nest cave but I know it's dodgy. Didn't realise Bilani would be ok, so thanks it's good to know :)

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30 Mar 2016 16:41 #67545 by Minibo
Hi Guys

Just wanted to give some feedback on the weekend. We never made it to Ifidi Cave. My girlfriend injured her problematic knee on the chain ladders. We made it up to the Bilanjil River. While we were sitting there in an already made wind shelter, we saw 3 locals walking to a few guys sitting to have a picnic on the edge of the mountain. The situation looked dodgy and very tense. When the locals moved away we went to talk to people. They said the locals were very arrogant and wanted to look through their bags demanding sweets. Nothing serous came from the situation. We tracked the locals and saw that they had a kraal in the area. We walked back to the Tugela Falls to find 4 rangers were posted in the Hut at the falls. We spent one night there with out any incidents. We were warned by the rangers to keep our bags and equipment inside the tent.

Thank you
The following user(s) said Thank You: Captain, andrew r, Biomech

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06 May 2016 20:32 - 06 May 2016 20:34 #68296 by vasbyt
Evening everyone, sorry it's taken so long to give any feedback, it's been a hectic few months.

Our hike went really well (OK so I felt like I died a few times, I really need to work on my fitness sjoe!).

For me the worst was the walk to the chain ladders from there it was easy to Tugela river where we spent the first night. There were 4 armed guards that were not happy with us camping at all and really tried to convince us to stay in the hut with them.

All we did was make sure we all took a turn to do sentry duty from 9pm to 1am as they said that those were the problem times.

We headed for Ifidi cave the next morning but my husband chose to go the "scenic route" first. We came across a lot of herders and really wanted to get to the cave with the number of them and their livestock and dogs wondering around.

Unfortunately when we got to the area where the cave should be the entire valley looked inhabitted with cattle and sheep. We were approached by herdsman wanting cigarretes, sweets and their photograph taken. Fortunately I was way too tired and weary to haul out my big Nikon and just did a cell phone snap. I then told them to get lost in a not so friendly way. Needless to say we kept watch again that night. It was a lot easier with the full moon.

We headed straight back to Tugela Falls the next morning but followed the river back to the escarpment and then up and over coming out behind the hut. The guards were very happy to see us but not as happy as I was to get out of that wind.

The wind was really hectic and we couldn't even light our stoves for coffee on the third morning, a really terrible thing. We stayed in the hut that night and headed home the next morning.

I'm really relieved we didn't have any problems considering I had my daughter's and one of their boyfriends and a friend with. That would have just been awful.

I cannot believe how noisy and polluted it was up there with all the livestock, their bells and the dogs. So much for peace and quiet in the mountains.

I was really hoping to go back soon as I didn't get any of the images I wanted to. It was simply too wind to even contemplate putting up my tripod for sunrise. Now with all the problems I guess I'm going to just have to wait :(




















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Last edit: 06 May 2016 20:34 by vasbyt.
The following user(s) said Thank You: elinda, JonWells, Smurfatefrog, tonymarshall, Captain, saros, Biomech

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04 Dec 2017 18:22 #72446 by Eurendur
So safety wise, it doesnt seem to be a good idea either way unless we are in a bigger group... THOUGH this post is from 2016 Riaan, what would you suggest is the best solution then...

And at the end, succumbing to the reality that you have been in the midst of Gods creation all along, is pure bliss.

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05 Dec 2017 20:10 #72455 by Riaang
I would personally go to Ifidi cave. Nice easy walk out to the cave, far enough from the Tugela area so as not to be on the radar of suspicious persons.
However, if you are part of a bigger group then generally speaking even closer to the Tugela shouldn't be an issue. Just don't leave stuff lying around at night as they might not be there the next morning.

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01 Mar 2018 07:13 #72879 by DorkyHero
Good morning everyone, I need some advice for this route.

We were originally going to be doing Mafadi this weekend but the weather looks a little wet so we’ve decided to head more North.

We’re on the upper side of fitness (One of our recent trips was from MCC up Ifidi and down Mbundini Abbey in 2 1/2 days).

With that in mind, what would a good option be for a 2 nighter from Sentinel car park?

I read previously that someone mentioned heading back via Icidi Valley... what contour does this route follow back to the car park?

Is there an possibility of accessing the area around Devil’s tooth for some scrambling etc?

Thanks guys, maybe see you in the mountains!

Matt

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08 Mar 2018 10:13 #72946 by Biomech
Hi Matt.

A good 2 dayer for a fit group from Sentinel Car Park would probably include a round trip to Stimela ridge or beyond, staying at Ifidi Cave or tenting on the Stimela Ridge for a beautiful sunrise. If you come down Icidi, it will: 1. Take at least 6 to 8 hours from the top to the bottom (read latest Icidi Pass trip report by ghaznavid in its thread) and 2. Require you to go back up Ifidi to get to the Sentinel Car Park within 3 days!

Basically there is no contour back to the car. You would need to get the car moved the 190km trip to MCC if coming down into the Mnweni Valley.

Devil's Tooth is better accessed from the car park near Thendele (the car park at the start of the Tugela Gorge walk). The valley that leads up to Devil's tooth splits off just before the tunnel. If you want scrambling, there is quite alot of it to be had on the way up. There are two or three fairly significant waterfalls that may be able to be bypassed, but for which you may want to take a rope for the descent. I would not suggest it if you are not familiar with some rope work.

Hope this helps.

S.

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08 Mar 2018 12:58 #72950 by AndrewP
The traverse under Inner Tower to get anywhere near Devil's Tooth is scary and tricky to find. Its much easier to just climb Inner Tower.

I suggest going up the chain ladder, then taking a sharp right. Follow escarpment towards Namahadi Peak. There is a good spot to camp in a bowl below the final summit. At this point you are at the back of the large cutback.

You can then take a pass such as Fallen Boot, Lammergeyer or Trident to head towards Fika Patso dam. If you feel strong, head further on the escarpment, you will be able to drop down in just about all of the saddles you encounter.

And then a hump back up to the car.
The following user(s) said Thank You: saros

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