The Mt Aux Sources - Amphitheatre - Tugela thread

23 Apr 2016 08:49 #67948 by Smurfatefrog

AdrianT wrote: In less than 2 weeks time I am hiking from the Sentinel car park to Cathedral Peak. What is the safety situation at the moment, or in recent times? I know there were issues in the past, so am not sure what is happening these days as I live in Cape Town and now go there very rarely, unfortunately.

Thanks,
Adrian

Hi Adrian, refer to the Berg Alert thread, the comments in the first post are still valid
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26 Apr 2016 12:27 #67991 by HikerParsons
Hi Adrian

I have left my vehicle there on two occasions in the past six months. On the last occasion my vehicle was there for the weekend of mid-April 2016. I have never had any problems and I consider it safe to leave a motor vehicle at the Sentinel car park. Take note that I would advise you to use a vehicle with reasonable ground clearance as the first section of the road leading up to the car park is rough.

Enjoy the like.

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26 Apr 2016 12:59 #67993 by AdrianT

HikerParsons wrote: Hi Adrian

I have left my vehicle there on two occasions in the past six months. On the last occasion my vehicle was there for the weekend of mid-April 2016. I have never had any problems and I consider it safe to leave a motor vehicle at the Sentinel car park. Take note that I would advise you to use a vehicle with reasonable ground clearance as the first section of the road leading up to the car park is rough.

Enjoy the like.


Thanks HikerParsons :) Yeah I'm not too worried, it's not my vehicle :whistle: But my mate has been there fairly recently and said the road was bad, but thanks for the update I do appreciate it. I was last there in 2006 so a lot can change.

I bought air tickets yesterday (from Cape Town...) so am super excited to do this trip! I'll post photos on the site when I'm back.

Cheers,
Adrian

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27 Apr 2016 12:40 #68026 by Ranger
Replied by Ranger on topic Berg Alert 2016
We are considering closing the Amphitheatre area as an official entry point to the Berg until something substantial and permanent is done to address the security issues there. We know this is not a popular option and we would encourage your comments. Perhaps it should be moved to the amphitheatre issues discussion thread though.

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27 Apr 2016 13:00 #68027 by Smurfatefrog
Replied by Smurfatefrog on topic Berg Alert 2016

Ranger wrote: We are considering closing the Amphitheatre area as an official entry point to the Berg until something substantial and permanent is done to address the security issues there. We know this is not a popular option and we would encourage your comments. Perhaps it should be moved to the amphitheatre issues discussion thread though.

Moved

Do you know how close these guys live to the Amphitheatre?

The problem with closing it is that there are a lot of day visitors & quite a few going further south for GTs & Northern Traverses etc.

Guards are normally posted up over Easter & other popular periods aren't they?
Maybe that can be done for a longer period, and also a way to educate all hikers going up there

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27 Apr 2016 19:19 #68037 by Richard Hunt
Replied by Richard Hunt on topic Berg Alert 2016
Double the entrance fee and put in armed guards... the public will pay for protection as we do every where else!!
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27 Apr 2016 20:04 - 27 Apr 2016 20:06 #68040 by LouisvV
Replied by LouisvV on topic Berg Alert 2016

Ranger wrote: We are considering closing the Amphitheatre area as an official entry point to the Berg until something substantial and permanent is done to address the security issues there. We know this is not a popular option and we would encourage your comments.


Got no problem with that Ranger! Do whatever you & your team(s) need to do to ensure the safety of hikers in the berg. After reading that horrible ordeal of Jody, my wife and I are put off by what is happening. Having done only 2 escarpment hikes in the berg (both near places of incidents before,according to that list) I am not willing to put my loved ones lives or any of my friends lives that I encourage to go and experience the Drakensberg, at risk. This is serious, and needs to be treated as a very serious matter.

I really hope those responsible for this are found and ...... :angry: :angry:
Last edit: 27 Apr 2016 20:06 by LouisvV. Reason: Edit
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27 Apr 2016 20:58 #68042 by kbresler
@Ranger - I am confident that you guys will make the right call. Any idea when that decision will happen though?

Sent from my SM-G900F using Tapatalk

Kobus Bresler

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28 Apr 2016 07:34 - 28 Apr 2016 07:41 #68044 by intrepid
Closing the Amphitheatre, at least for a time, may well be what is needed - if the perpetrators are not apprehended it could be a strong encouragement for them to do it again, and even to become more brazen in doing it. I recall hearing that the Giants Castle escarpment was closed for a period after the Easter 2005 incident. The big question for me is how long it would be closed for, and if there are any clear strategies and courses of action in place to address the situation - because without that, the decision would become more unpopular as people get impatient. Another option would be to close it for a month or so until the winter has set in and the kraals higher up the valleys are vacated. This would buy some time without closing the access for a longer period. Obviously there is still a risk in the winter, though much reduced.

Yes we could pay for more armed guards up there, but then I would say certain areas should still be clearly out of bounds, and camping would basically need to be confined to wherever the guards are camping - the area around the Falls being the most natural choice. Perhaps access should be limited to day visits only for that matter, as yet another option. Years ago there used to be guards permanently in the hut (these were from QwaQwa, not EKZNW, if I am not mistaken) - this didn't fully solve the problem either. Extra fees also raises the issue of how the payment would be handled, since the money isn't paid directly to EKZNW, and implies that the Batlokoa tribal authority would need to be on board with it?

Talking of the tribal authority, if the Amphitheatre access were to be closed, I am guessing they would still keep Sentinel Car Park and the trails on their side open? This then would still give determined hikers physical access to the Amphitheatre, but naturally they would be knowingly and willingly ignoring the risk, in addition to using an unsanctioned access point.

Closing the Amphitheatre for a longer period, if that were to happen, would also not address the scenario of people hiking the Mnweni escarpment, having ascended one of those passes, and getting close to the Khubedu in the Ifidi, Icidi areas (and even around Fangs). The same bad apples are likely the ones causing problems there too. This is not the direct the responsibility of EKZNW however, and the numbers of hikers getting close to the Khubedu in this scenario would be far less.

Given the popularity and strategic position of the Amphitheatre, closing it is definitely not an easy decision to make, but if thats what needs to be done right now to to prevent another attack then I would support it. And if this is done with the intention of getting a permanent solution to a long-standing problem I think many regular Berg hikers would be inclined to support the decision.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 28 Apr 2016 07:41 by intrepid.
The following user(s) said Thank You: elinda, Captain, kbresler, Ranger

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28 Apr 2016 07:58 #68046 by ghaznavid
I'm with Intrepid and ST on this one - if closing it might prevent someone from being violently murdered, then close it.

I am not sure how closing it will be enforced, though. I don't recall any anchoring of the bottom of the lower ladders - is it possible to physically take the bottom of the lower ladder, pull it up and secure it with a lock and chain so that it is physically not possible to use the ladders? Just a thought.

Closing the chain ladders will probably also stop those guys who always sit at the top from doing that - at least for a while.

Hitting Ifidi Cave or Ledgers Cave on the first day of a GT isn't that hard (Ledgers for fast and light) - so perhaps the gully can be left open for limited use, with certain rules such as no camping in tents or certain areas.

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