The Mt Aux Sources - Amphitheatre - Tugela thread

11 Oct 2011 18:42 - 11 Oct 2011 18:44 #4322 by SeriousTribe2

TNF wrote: Hi guys,

I'm fairly new to the forum and would like some advice on a trip ("micro adventure") I'm planning. Let me start off with the idea.

After a recent visit to the F.E.A.T talk in Joburg, I was inspired by one of the speakers where he had the concept of "micro adventures". Simply put, you don't have to have lots of money and travel to destinations overseas to have an adventure. Keep it simple, local and on a budget. You plan your trip (short or long) and then go on the adventure.

So my idea is for me and my wife to "summit" the Amphitheater and camp over for 1 night. We are from Pretoria, and I thought of driving to the sentinel car park and hike from there up to the Amphitheater, set up camp for one night, and return the next day.

1. We have never hiked in the Drakensberg before, we are hiking fit (if you can put it that
way) - how long does the hike take up to the Amphitheater?
Times as per Boerkie. Unless your pack is really heavy, then add 30-60mins.
2. Is it safe to leave your car @ the car park, and to do this hike?
Yes, carpark is fenced. To do the hike ie: summit and sleep. Take precautions.
3. Is the route marked or do you need a map and navigation skills?
The lower parts to CL are pretty much blazed, but it is always good to take a map if unfamiliar with the terrain.4. Once on the escarpment, where do you pitch a tent? Near the hut? Is it safe for 1 night sleep over?
Go 1 ridge over to the spot I have hilighted on Google E. Next to Bilanjil falls. There is a rock outcrop that shields you from inland view. It has a small wall around the "camp" area. The water is good.
5. Any special lookout points recommended on the way up?
Anywhere along the edge. Bilanjil falls is nice.
6. Can you drink the water from the Tugela or do you need tablets?
Tugela itself might be a bit dicey! See above for cleaner water.
7. What would you recommend for meals etc.?
For 1 night out!? Go wild. Take anything you fancy. :silly:

Is there anything else that I left out or questions I should be asking? I would really appreciate any comments or suggestions, or even links to threads that might help for a similar trip to this.
Do a thread search for security and general precautions in this area.
Leave NOTHING outside your tent at night.


Thanks
Pleasure. Enjoy :)

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Last edit: 11 Oct 2011 18:44 by SeriousTribe2.
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12 Oct 2011 05:58 #4323 by LouisvV
Thanks SeriousTribe2, the info is most helpfull!! :thumbsup:

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04 Apr 2012 06:38 #53426 by stassel
Hi, I am new to the forum, so would appreciate any info. It has been 20 years since last hiking up the chain ladders and I really want to show my kids, aged 16 and 12 that view! We will be staying 2 nights at Golden Gate this weekend, and are planning a day hike up the chain ladders to the Tugela Falls. I am wondering about the following:

1. Is it necessary to make an advance booking for a day hike?
2. Is there still a limit on the number of people allowed up each day?
3. If Saturday's weather forecast is better than Sunday's, we would consider driving down from Gauteng early and doing the hike the same day, before going to Golden Gate. Would it be safe to leave all our baggage in the car at the Sentinel car park?
4. From last time I remember going down the chain ladder was quite scary. If one of us should get too scared at the top, how easy would it be too find the top of the Beacon buttress gulley? Is this a relatively easy route to go down with?
5. Which sites give the most reliable weather forecast for the Drakensberg?

Many thanks for any help and suggestions!

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04 Apr 2012 07:02 #53427 by Biggs_ZA
Stassel, I hope this is useful.

1. According to me, you do not need to book in advance to hike. (I think the cost is R40 pp for a permit and R20 pp at the toll gate).
2. I do know if there is a limit on the amount of people allowed to hike, but if there were, your group would definitely not be over it if it is only you and your family.
3. I think if your luggage is in the trunk, it is safe to leave it in the car park - I've never had any problems with break ins at the car park on overnight/longer trips.
4. The chain ladders are approx 30m in total. I would guess the first set to be approx 18m and the second set approx 12m. If your kids are 16 and 12, then there should be no problem. Beacon Buttress gully is quite a rocky gully and it is, well, a gully. Except if any of you have an irrational fear of heights, you should rather stick to the chain ladders.

If you are fairly fit, you should take approx 2 to 3 hours from the car park up the chain ladders to the Tugela waterfall. It is approx 4km from the car park to the ladders and another 1.5 to 2 km from the ladders to the falls.

Going down the gully is not relatively easy.

5. With the weather it is best to be prepared and geared. I've found that even Yr.no can be less accurate with forecasting the Drakensberg's weather. Maybe someone else can help with this?

vrede
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04 Apr 2012 07:40 #53428 by plouw
Hi Stassel
We once left our bakkie and trailer at the carpark for 2 nights with stuff on the back in the locked canopy. We chained the trialer to a post and left both in clear view from the guard's window. Didn't have any problems.
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04 Apr 2012 08:19 #53429 by Jax

Hi Stassel

We can confirm all info provided by Biggs. It will be a wonderful experience for the kids. I have attached a photo of our 8yr old niece, Dennah, climbing the ladders last December. This was her first hike ever!
Do not underestimate the weather, and go prepared - ie proper footwear, rain gear and some warm clothing for on top. It can be 10deg colder up there than below. It will be a full day's hiking, so have enough food and snacks with you and start off early enough.

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04 Apr 2012 08:29 #53430 by Jax

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04 Apr 2012 08:52 #53431 by ghaznavid
Don't forget that it is autumn right now - there was almost 10cm of snow last weekend, always carry a raincoat and something warm. In addition to this, a space blanket (aka an emergency blanket) is a nice emergency supply item - the are fairly cheap and take up almost no space in your pack and weigh almost nothing, but if you get stuck somewhere it will help you survive the night, remember that it can get really cold in autumn on the escarpment!

Getting to the top is nothing, the way you do it is everything – Royal Robins
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04 Apr 2012 15:44 #53444 by stassel
Just want to say thanks to everyone for the advice. Really looking forward to the trip, and so far the weather forecast looks good!

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05 Apr 2012 04:40 #53447 by intrepid
Welcome to the forum stassel. I see you questions have been answered here.

For further info browse through the forum and you'll see several discussions on the Chain Ladders and Beacon Buttress Gully. There is also a thread somewhere discussing various Berg weather sites.

Enjoy.

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

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