Keith Bush Camp - Gray's Pass - Vulture's Retreat - Champagne Castle hike

20 Dec 2012 11:27 #55778 by Mattalica
Hi everyone,

Im glad to be going up to the berg quite soon again, but before i head out I'd just like to ask where exactly the overnight spot is at Blind man's Corner? I hiked to Keith's Bush camp earlier in the year, and I remember going up the path to blind man's corner, where the path leads to the T-Junction. For Keith's bush camp we turned right and carried on. I however did not see anywhere for overnighting. Can you explain where the overnight spot is please? Is it the left turn and somewhere further along that way?

Thanks for any help offered, if anyone has a picture of the spot I'd really love to see it.

Hope everyone has an awesome christmas!

Regards
Matt

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20 Dec 2012 16:14 #55779 by Sterkhorn
Hi Mattalica

The camping spot is just around the corner to the left. You can either camp in the trees or on the grass above the tree-line next to the path up to Sterkhorn.

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21 Dec 2012 14:14 #55782 by SeriousTribe2
Turn left. Walk into the little grove of Ouhout. Take whiskey. Enjoy.
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28 Dec 2012 21:57 #55789 by Mattalica
Wow, thanks so much dudes for the replies... It's 11:53PM and I'm leaving in the morning. I'm really excited for the hike and then for some fun at monks cowl for new years. That photo is awesome, I know exactly where it is now so thanks for that....I'm a bit weird about pre hike planning...I like to know what every inch of the trail looks like. As for the whiskey, not a bad plan, but I'll be taking a lekker bottle of woolies wine with for the evening, and have a bottle of jack for the return evening :)

I hope everyone has a graet new years!

Regards
Matt

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13 May 2015 14:35 #63747 by saros
Good day all!!

Firstly would like to introduce myself. I am 34 yo male, started hiking/camping at age 17 in around the Qwa Qwa area and camping at the Metso Matsho dam. After that a good few years on not hiking and then beginning 2014 I started up again. So far I have completed 20 day hikes around Drakensberg, Machadodorp, Graskop, Middleburg and Modjadji's Kloof.

Secondly would like to say this site is awesome and I have trolling around as a viewer for a couple months. Thank you all for shared information.

So it goes like this that I am rather getting bored of the day hikes, all of them are awesome but it ends way to soon.

My first multi I would like to start at Monks Cowl park, (I have done the hike up to Sphinx, then to Blind Man's corner and then returned back to Monks Cowl via Keartlands Pass), Go up to Blind Mans, turn right and go around to Keith's Bush Camp, spend the first night there, Day 2 go up grays pass and spend time on the escarpment and possibly go up Champagne, return down to Grays and spend the night on the escarpment. Now here is where I would like to go up Gatberg and then return either to escarpment again, or stop off at Keith Camp again and then return to Monk Cowl Park.

Its the last part I would like some imput on, would be highly appreciated.

Thanks again for an awesome source of experience and information!!

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13 May 2015 14:50 #63748 by Smurfatefrog
Welcome saros!

Day 1 - perfect
Day 2 - another fairly comfortable day, plenty camping area by the river above Grays Pass
Day 3 - you will not want to go back up Grays, and neither will you really want to go back to Keith Bush camp after climbing Gatberg. I would suggest three options:
1) Head down to Zulu cave for the night
2) Camp at Blindmans Corner, there is a nice little campsite about 100m south of Blindmans corner
3) Camp below Gatberg, I have seen a campsite mentioned, not sure exactly where it is though.
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13 May 2015 16:56 #63754 by saros
Thank you Smurfatefrog!!

Day 3 - Very sensible, I am thinking now Zulu cave will be an excellent night to put in. Have a cave experience same time.

I will have a few more questions, but they will be more noobie questions regarding gear to take, well rather food and cooking equipment etc.

Thank you again for the info!!!

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13 May 2015 19:32 #63757 by ghaznavid
Welcome to VE Saros :thumbsup:

I agree 100% with Smurf's answer. Just to add my 2c worth, Keith Bush can be rather dry this time of year, so you may want to fill up when you cross the river after Hlathikhulu Nek. I haven't been to KBC since April last year, but I imagine someone who has been there recently will enlighten us all.

Ps. Champagne Castle is a great peak, but don't miss out on the view from Vultures Retreat/top of Nkososana Falls. Basically follow the river on the escarpment behind Gray's until you reach the escarpment edge. The view includes basically everything in the Northern Berg (well, not past the Eastern Buttress). Mhlawazini or Dragons Back (the large peaks on either side of Gray's Pass) should give you similar views, although I have climbed neither to date. Both are visible from, well, everywhere, so that is always a good sign!

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

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14 May 2015 06:55 #63763 by saros
Thank you Ghazna!! :thumbsup:

I am planning on doing the hike closer to the end of the year or closer to Feb next year, I have some fitness and strength training to build up before hand, although I am not unfit I just want to make sure.

I have read here that the views from top of Grays is spectacular so definitely will be doing that, also I have not been up a peak as yet so Champagne I think would be a good first timer.

The edge of the Escarpment you are referring to, I have had a look on Google Earth and looks to be pretty awesome, being there will be even better. :thumbsup:

I am worried I will enjoy it too much and not want to leave the Mountains, this Mountain has got me hooked badly. :ohmy:

Thank you

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20 Sep 2015 11:53 #65153 by marggraffd
Greetings all

I am currently looking at planning a hike with a couple of my friends in December with the itinerary being as follows:
Day 1: Hike from Monk's Cowl to Keith Bush Camp.
Day 2: Hike up Gray's Pass and possibly leave our packs at the top and hike up to Champagne Castle Peak (Is it far and a difficult hike up to the peak?).
Sleep in Nkosazana cave if it's not wet, otherwise outside in tents.
Day 3: Hike back the way we came.

This would be our first hike up a pass and therefore I wanted to know if this route is do-able for relatively inexperienced hikers?

Any advice is welcome and highly appreciated!

Regards,
Dietmar

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