Mini Hike Reports

02 Apr 2019 19:11 - 02 Apr 2019 19:12 #74855 by elinda
Replied by elinda on topic Mini Hike Reports
We all know that the Dinosaurs walked the earth millions of years ago but it's one of those things  you read about  and never imagine to see direct proof of first hand. Dinosaur Cave, situated between Giants Castle and Injasuti is an area in the Drakensberg where you can see several footprints embedded in the rock for yourself. Although I have visited this cave twice before we felt that it would be good to hike out there again as the route  is off path and is situated far off the beaten track.  We knew the chances of seeing anybody else out that way was remote which is always a plus in my book!It was very overcast with a slight drizzle as we left Injasuti, and as we climbed higher, the mist rolled in which made for cool conditions but not so great for the views.  The cave was further than we thought ( isn't it always?) but we eventually found the old settler ruin which is the landmark above the cave and put up our tent before going down a steep gully to the cave.  Not much has changed since our last visit and it appears that the cave now has new inhabitants as evidenced by Baboon droppings all over the sleeping area.  I should imagine this cave is very seldom visited by hikers now.We spent a rather uncomfortable night due to the slope of ground and were quite relieved when the early morning light heralded the start of a new day. The mists were rising all around us with the promise of blue skies in between and we knew it would be hot later.  It was fascinating to see the old cattle dip that had been chiselled out of the solid rock, as well as the remnants of ancient sandstone blocks that had been used for building.  Work was hard and time plentiful in those days!We had magnificent views of the escarpment as we headed back and the cloud formations on this blue morning were magical. We returned via the ridge that leads down very steeply past Dead Dog Cave and with a bit of negotiation, eventually got in to the river valley at the bottom. From here it's a bit of a slog to fight through head high vegetation until you reach the main path that leads back to camp.  We were glad to get back  after a 16km walk out -a distance my feet knew all about!













(Photo courtesy Richard Hunt)


(Photo courtesy Richard Hunt)



 

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Last edit: 02 Apr 2019 19:12 by elinda.

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08 Apr 2019 21:23 - 08 Apr 2019 21:40 #74893 by Dispholidus
Replied by Dispholidus on topic Mini Hike Reports
Friday 2019-03-29 myself and a few friends arrived at Sentinel car park for a two night hiking trip. We found the gravel road that goes to the car park ok, just one section that was bad. We arrived at the car park after paying at Witsieshoek and the weather was looking good with a little mist around Sentinel Peak. We were a group of four hikers, I was the only one who had hiked the Berg before. Only two of us in the group had a decent level off fitness so the planned trip was to sleep the first night in Sentinel cave(thanks for the advise Riaang) and then the second night at Ribbon falls. We started the hike at 14:15 and set off to Sentinel cave. We arrived at the cave much later than planned but everyone was excited and looking forward to sleep in the cave for the night. It was my first time sleeping inside a cave, normally I just tent on the escarpment. I entered the cave and was a bit disgusted with the state of the cave inside. Some idiots think a cave is a toilet and that was just awful to experience. O well at least we had enough room inside the cave to sleep and it turned out to be an awesome first night. Nice and warm but I prefer to sleep in my tent rather than a cave. We all woke up around 5am, and after breakfast we started our hike up the chain ladders to Tugela Falls. Two in the group found the ladders a bit intimidating but they made it up safely and not long after,  we arrived at Tugela Falls. We decided to stay a few hours at the falls until lunch and then head out to Ribbon falls. We met a few hikers that had spent the night at Tugela Falls and they informed me that they had heard someone moving around their tents during the night but did not have any problems. After lunch we went over the ridge towards Belanjil falls and I was worried because two members of the group was struggling a bit due to fitness. I decided not to go too far and if all looked good we will just camp next to Belanjil falls/Valley. On arrival at Belanjil valley I found cattle and sheep and they were grazing the whole area, even as far as Ribbon falls. The group all agreed that we will sleep next to Belanjil falls. Two of us spend the rest of the day exploring the whole valley while the other two stayed at the camp site. What a beautiful place! I wish I could have gone further towards Ifidi cave but that will definitely be on my planning for the next trip.The whole day we had clear skies and around 4pm it looked like it might rain during the night. At around 5pm we pitched our tents and all the Basotho locals started coming down the ridge from Tugela falls. They were all passing our camp site before moving off into Lesotho. Some of them stood at the camp site for a while before moving off. I just greeted them but did not give them anything.  Around 7pm it started getting cold. The skies also cleared up and we spend an hour or two admiring the stars. At 20:30 we all went to bed. Around 23:00 I woke up and went out of the tent to see if everyone was still ok. All was good, not a sign of trouble. Haha it was very cold so I rushed back to my tent. At 5am we woke up and admired the beautiful scenery/sunrise and we started packing up our gear. After a cup of coffee and breakfast we headed out towards the ladders via Crows nest cave. After 3 Hours and 15 minutes we arrived at Sentinel car park.We all looked forward to a nice beer at Witsieshoek and that we did! 







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Last edit: 08 Apr 2019 21:40 by Dispholidus.

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09 Apr 2019 14:45 #74895 by Riaang
Replied by Riaang on topic Mini Hike Reports
Good to hear you guys had a great Berg weekend.
Last time I was in Sentinel cave (the one on the left as you are facing the escarpment) I didn't notice a toilet in the cave ;-) Amazing that people can't just walk a couple of meters to do their thing outside the cave. Really disgusting! That, or finding the cave full of soot is not fun. Fortunately there are a lot of caves in the Berg that are in good condition. Must say I prefer caves to tents in general (the exceptions being dirty pooped in caves).

Now your buddies know what to expect from a Berg hike they can do a bit of training so you guys can walk all the way to Ifidi cave. You might find it to your liking :-)

Enjoy!!!

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22 Apr 2019 12:08 #74915 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Mini Hike Reports
So 2 weeks ago, WarrenM, Chris Keit and I decided to have ago at the double NHT. We got from Cathedral Peak Hotel to Ledger's Cave on day 1 and had to hike through 8 hours of rain. After a very wet night in Ledgers Cave with wet mist wafting in, we decided we didn't have the safety margin to keep going and bailed. Not many photos due to wet conditions - and tragically my camera died despite being in a ziploc packet the entire time...



Full story at:
jonathantheghaznavid.wordpress.com/2019/04/22/doubling-back/

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

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The following user(s) said Thank You: elinda, Stijn, Smurfatefrog, Dave, WarrenM

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22 Apr 2019 22:16 #74918 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Mini Hike Reports
So over Easter, myself and WarrenM had a go at a 4 day DGT. Anyone who has been paying attention to the weather or did their own hike over the weekend probably already knows how this story ended :lol:

But the short story is:
day 1: we hiked to Easter Cave in clear but windy conditions. Cathedral Ridge by moonlight was spectacular.
day 2: we were in classic Berg winds, so we knew a cold front was approaching. Didima Ridge killed me much like it did last time I did it, so we called the day short at Reido Cave. Warren also started coughing around this time, and was not well enough to continue.
day 3: we bailed down Grays in misty and cold conditions.

Stats:
distance: 104km
time: 54h29
altitude gain: roughly 4400m
altitude loss: roughly 5400m (as Monks Cowl is just over 1km vertically below Sentinel Car Park)

Photos are a mix of mine and Warren's:


Full story at:
jonathantheghaznavid.wordpress.com/2019/04/22/the-dragons-breath-bailed-dgt-april-2019/

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

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The following user(s) said Thank You: Serious tribe, elinda, Stijn, hikingle, Smurfatefrog, tonymarshall, andrew r, Dave, WarrenM

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28 Apr 2019 17:36 - 28 Apr 2019 17:37 #74953 by Smurfatefrog
Replied by Smurfatefrog on topic Mini Hike Reports
I only had a day and a bit of spare time over Easter to hike so I made a plan to join Papa Dragon's team at Whytes cave on the Friday night, but I did it a very round about way.
The rest of the guys left from Bushmans Nek and hiked in the standard way, I hiked in from Garden Castle via Mashai Pass, Mashai Peak and Walkers Ridge Pass.
Saturday morning I then mostly ran back along the Giants Cup trail as I needed to be back in Durban by noon!

Early start, just before Pillar Cave


About to get some sun for the first time


Looking down Mlambonja Coulier


View north from a very windy Mashai Peak


Looking down Walkers Pass


Lunch view from the crossover scramble


The lower scramble, I've done this twice before but always felt it was really easy to bypass, which I did this time. About 100m further towards the escarpment there is a basic slope you can just walk up


Whytes cave


Early start on day 2

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Last edit: 28 Apr 2019 17:37 by Smurfatefrog.

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10 May 2019 18:29 - 10 May 2019 18:35 #75013 by vivo101
Replied by vivo101 on topic Mini Hike Reports
Slaying the Dragon---Manxome in a Day

Over the Mnweni marathon weekend myself and a friend, both injured and unable to compete, had a quick fastpacking trip in the mnweni area. The plan was simple, Manxome to Ledgers Cave in a day and then decend via Rockeries. We woke up at 3am on Saturday morning and unpitched our tent, while trying not wake up the neighbors, sleep deprived runners can be grumpy......We were off at 4am and had some local company on the dirt road, hiking in to see his family for the weekend. The locals must question our sanity doing this for fun....

We both had rough weeks at work and took a 20min powernap on the upper path on the dassie and woke up to a classic mnweni sunrise, we had some coffee and breakfast while supporting the lead runners coming through.


We had a stopover at the waterfall just before mnweni pass and from there started following the river valley to Chi-Chi bushcamp, from here we opted for the exposed traverse route into Manxome, which looks worse than it is. Soon enough we reached the main pass and started ascending it, we stopped for lunch at the lookout point, definitely my new favorite spot in the berg. With some more determination we started making headway in the pass reaching the top in roughly 2hours from the traverse into the pass.


We had a look at the caves, there is actually four caves in Manxome. The lower one will fit 3 people, the 2nd one above that can't be accessed without using ropes. The 3rd is a overhang and the 4th is accessed by some low grade scrambling, its floor is slanted and will only fit about 4 people (a pity for such a large cave). 

We started making our way towards Ledgers cave and admired the hanging valleys on the way, we eventually reached Ledgers cave at 6pm. 
A epic but exhausting day in the berg, 30km with 2100m of elevation gain and about 14hours of hiking. Total time on Manxome ascent 2hours 14min.

Sunday morning we were up at 5am and by 5:30 making our way to Rockeries, we had some breakfast and watched the red glow of the sun illuminating the north peak of the saddle. We had a good pace down Rockeries and reached the cultural village at 11am.



Manxome is such a spectacular unspoiled pass. But man is it steep, it just never ends.


"To those who are enthralled by mountains, their wonder is beyond all dispute. To those who are not, their allure is a kind of madness." - Mountain

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Last edit: 10 May 2019 18:35 by vivo101.

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11 May 2019 19:06 #75020 by elinda
Replied by elinda on topic Mini Hike Reports
Well done Vivo101 - thats good going!  Manxome is spectacular and my favourite pass for views - it is steep and sustained for sure!
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14 May 2019 08:47 #75029 by GriffBaker
Replied by GriffBaker on topic Mini Hike Reports
Epic trip! Your definition of 'injured' may be a little different from others...haha.

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22 May 2019 20:46 #75033 by Smurfatefrog
Replied by Smurfatefrog on topic Mini Hike Reports
Last weekend a few of us headed to Mkhomazi for a 2 night hike.
We night hiked into Cyprus cave under a full moon on Friday night.
Saturday morning we packed up and moved a short distance to a cave we'd found on a previous trip.
We did a bit of work clearing the floor, it could easily sleep 12 in winter, some of the floor would be wet in summer.

After leaving our packs in the cave each of us set about having different days. Mine involved heading up to the plateau and then traversing around to McKenzie's cave, back down to the car park and then back to the cave.

Sunday morning we had a casual walk out

 

Cyprus cave (was still rather noisy)


The unnamed cave


Looking back down from about half way up


View towards Giants Castle from the plateau


The start of an interesting gorge


McKenzie's cave

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The following user(s) said Thank You: elinda, JonWells, ghaznavid, hikingle, tonymarshall, Andreas, Papa Dragon, Dave, GriffBaker, WarrenM

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