My Drakensberg, My Pride: Oct-Dec 2016

18 Oct 2016 22:26 - 18 Oct 2016 22:37 #70067 by intrepid
This is the official thread for the fourth quarter of the Essense of the Dragon 2016 photo competition.

Theme: My Drakensberg, My Pride!

This is a more open-ended theme, but photos must have been taken in 2016. The photo must also have been included in a previously posted 2016 trip report / write-up (including mini trip-reports). Reports for trips done earlier in the year may be posted retrospectively.

The shot must depict a characteristic that makes the Maloti-Drakensberg unique and special, or it must capture something that holds a deep, personal meaning. Looking at the photo must evoke a sense of pride, inspiration, peace or joy - the kind of thing that makes you breathe in deeply and slowly exhale slowly. Important to this theme is a proper description of the significance of the photo and what it means to you.

Album for

Start date: 01 October 2016
Last submission date: 31 December 2016
Last voting date: 15 January 2017

Background info:
One of the reasons that part of the Berg was declared a World Heritage Site according to Unesco was the “exceptional natural beauty with soaring basaltic buttresses, incisive dramatic cutbacks and golden sandstone ramparts. Rolling high altitude grasslands, the pristine steep-sided river valleys and rocky gorges also contribute to the beauty of the site.”

Further reasons included the fact that “the rock art of the Maloti-Drakensberg Park is the largest and most concentrated group of rock paintings in Africa south of the Sahara and is outstanding both in quality and diversity of subject.” Often quoted estimates indicate that the Park has 665 rock art sites, and the number of individual images in those sites probably exceeds 35,000 - however ongoing initiatives to find and document the sites is outdating the figures as more are being discovered. Large areas of the Maloti-Drakensberg exist outside of the Park, and these areas also have a significant number of sites. Furthermore the paintings are from two different historical origins, namely San and Nguni.

Due to having significant natural and man-made heritage, the Park has a mixed World Heritage Status, which only a small, limited number of other sites across the world also have.

The high number of habitable, natural rock shelters found at various altitudes, in different geological layers, is another very special characteristic that adds a hiking experience not easily matched elsewhere in the world.

The Park alone has more than 250 endemic plant species and has its own floristic region – the Drakensberg Alpine Region of South Africa. It is also globally important for endemic and endangered bird species that include more than just the well known Cape Vultures and Lammergeiers.

The Maloti-Drakensberg region is rich in past and present culture and has important spiritual and recreational significance to many people. It forms a critical part of the water supply to the largest city in the world not situated on a river, lake or coastline (Johannesburg), and makes up a significant part of South Africa’s (below globally-recommended) percentage of land area set aside as pristine wilderness.

Prize: 2 nights for up to 6 people at Cambalala House on Mikes Pass
Provisional dates of 3-5 February 2017.
Winner may change the dates, subject to availability. This is a rather unique prize as Cambalala is only usually open to MCSA members and their guests.

Prize sponsored by the KZN Section of the Mountain Club of South Africa

The KwaZulu-Natal Section of the Mountain Club of South Africa is a club established in 1919 and run by its members for the purposes of promoting mountain related activities. These activities include hiking, traditional and sport rock climbing, ice-climbing and mountaineering, search and rescue, conservation, national meets, international expeditions and monthly social functions.

The KZN section has a long history of involvement in the Drakensberg, from pioneering hiking and rock-climbing routes, building and restoring mountain huts to aiding in Conservation projects and the annual and historic July Camp. One of the most important roles that the KZN section fulfils is to provide, via official provincial mandate, technical search and rescue capabilities to the Drakensberg area.

The official objectives of the KZN section are:

- Organise and facilitate mountaineering and climbing.

- Procure and protect rights and access to mountains and mountain areas.

- Initiate and support actions towards the conservation and management of mountain areas.

- Promote the safety and training of mountaineers and climbers.

- Organise search and rescue parties.

- Promote the study of mountains and their environment, the preservation of historical and archaeological sites on them and the dissemination of information on mountains and mountaineering.

For more information on joining the club or a meet, visit their website or Facebook page or give them a follow on Instagram @mcsa_kzn.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 18 Oct 2016 22:37 by intrepid.
The following user(s) said Thank You: diverian, ghaznavid, Smurfatefrog, Viking, saros, Papa Dragon

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

19 Oct 2016 07:47 #70068 by ghaznavid
This should be tricky - between Minaret Pass looking like a christmas cake, Hobbit staring down the Sphinx, Hobbit in the Mnweni Cutback, crazy clouds on Leslies Pass, the rainbow waterfall from Uklebe Pass. So many amazing sights this year...

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

28 Oct 2016 10:12 #70101 by Redshift3
I'm keen to post a pic from January 2016, am I being a bit slow or has no one posted in My Drakensberg, My Pride! yet?

“You need special shoes for hiking — and a bit of a special soul as well.”
Terri Guillemets

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

28 Oct 2016 10:20 #70102 by ghaznavid
I think everyone is waiting in case they take a better photo between now and the end of the year - even though we all know the winner this time will be a snow photo :whistle:
The following user(s) said Thank You: Redshift3

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

15 Nov 2016 13:37 - 15 Nov 2016 13:39 #70214 by Stijn
Home away from Home

Ledger's Cave must be the spot I have spent the most nights at in the Berg. My first visit was back in 2001, when I was 17, with two good high school mates on a 6-day Mnweni hike which was such a life-changing adventure for us at the time - I am still amazed and thankful that our parents gave us the freedom to explore these mountains alone at such a young age and will always look back on this trip as one of my best. This photo was taken on 12 November 2016, on my 10th visit to the cave. For me, it really captures the essence of feeling at peace and at home in the mountains. I have spent hours and hours gazing at that view. Many hikers feel that Mponjwane Cave is better but I will always return to Ledger's :)

Please login or register to view the image attached to this post.

Last edit: 15 Nov 2016 13:39 by Stijn.
The following user(s) said Thank You: elinda, Viking, AdrianT, Macc, andrew r, Biomech, Rhinoandhedgehog

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

23 Nov 2016 16:18 #70247 by ASL-Bivak#
I have to agree with you Stijn. I've developed a bit of a love affair with Twins Cave since I first woke up and looked down at the cloud base from the cosy comfort of my sleeping bag. I have also been able to lie there and watch snow falling on the peaks to the left before.. but the atmosphere and view at Ledgers Cave is very special. You also have to enjoy the approach and the drop in off the escarpment!

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

07 Dec 2016 07:20 #70339 by ghaznavid

Isaac Newton wrote: If I have seen further, it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants.

My entry for this round is "On the Shoulder of Giants" from my hike this last weekend:

ghaznavid wrote:

Giants Castle has always been a special peak to me - most of my early hiking in the Berg was in the general area. 2016 has seen an active effort to hit the three reserves south of Giants, and having knocked off 4 passes at Lotheni, 4 at Vergelegen and 4 at Cobham in 2016, I would say this has gone very well so far. This photo was taken on Redi Pass, Lotheni, right near the escarpment. The day would not end according to plan, with myself and Hobbit having to bivy within 4km of the car park as we were stuck on a small ledge without a trail in the dark.

What doesn't kill you gives you a memorable story!

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

22 Dec 2016 19:54 - 22 Dec 2016 19:58 #70431 by CarinaJvR
Replied by CarinaJvR on topic My Drakensberg - My Pride
My earliest memories of hiking date from when I was a 5-year-old girl doing my first ever hike with my dad and my 6-year-old sister in the Natal Region. I still remember how my dad prepared our food, mixing Pro-nutro with powdered milk in small plastic bags in preparation for our hike. He laid all our gear, clothing and food out onto a bed before carefully packing it. My sister and I carried a few things in our little backpacks but I’m sure my dad’s backpack was extra bulky.

We loved the hiking and my dad helped us in the difficult sections and even carried our bags when we got really tired towards the end. The trail was beautiful and cut through indigenous forests and through streams; it was a whole world of fresh greenness waiting to be discovered. The one night we even slept under an overhanging cliff looking at the abundance of stars.

Almost 20 years later I went on a weekend hiking trip with friends from Stellenbosch who were experienced hikers, to the Cederberg. There were 2 important pointers I took from the trip: I realized that I had also badly wanted to go on hiking trips where one could decide one’s one route and sleep in caves/ hiking tents thereby having a greater experience of nature and sense of adventure. The second thing that I learnt was that no hike is complete without carrying a bialetti and having a proper cuppa!

The second pointer became a reality in my life before the first. I got a Bialetti for Christmas from my Dad that same year. He passed away 3 years later from a heart attack while cycling.

This past weekend my first desire was fulfilled when my husband and I joined friends who know “The Berg” well on a 2 ½ day hike. We started from Cathedral Peak Hotel on Day 1 and went via the Camel and Windy Gap to overnight in the very special Roland’s Cave. Words fail to describe the view with which one awakens with first light! We summited Cleft Peak on Day 2, crossed the Kwakwatsi river (after having a refreshing swim) and went down Mlambonja Pass to overnight in the “Annex” to Twins Cave. On our last day we did the Bell Traverse and descended through Orange Peel Gap back to Cathedral Peak Hotel/ Hiker’s Parking.

All in all it was an incredible experience that didn’t disappoint one single bit. The ever-changing views were simply breathtaking, (so were all the ascends!) the mountains were bursting with joyous streams, waterfalls and water dripping from rocks. The sky was intensely blue with misty clouds playing hide-and-seek with the views. Flowers were strewn across the grasslands, the one prettier and tinier than the other. The trails were tough and the drops too scary to ponder on. I was so happy we decided to do this hike. I have always said that it is a great thing to experience the beauty that other countries have to offer but one must first make the effort to discover one’s “own” natural wonders. The Drakensberg has so much to offer and I am excited to continue this adventure in years to come.

The main photo I have included is from the Bialetti blowing off steam after having conquered Bugger’s Gulch Gully. The Bialetti reminds me of my dad, his love for nature and the fact that he first introduced me to the wonderful pastime of hiking. It also shows the steep lush slopes of Cathedral Peak and the high rising basalt cliffs, the misty moods of the mountain and the detailed flowery beauty which brightens the soul. Lastly one is reminded that the best cuppa is enjoyed under the watch of these giants, a well deserved break, with plenty of fresh air, quality friends and a reminder to make the most out of life.

Please login or register to view the image attached to this post.

Last edit: 22 Dec 2016 19:58 by CarinaJvR. Reason: Picture included three times
The following user(s) said Thank You: Stijn, Smurfatefrog, Richard Hunt, Andreas, GriffBaker, Rhinoandhedgehog

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

29 Dec 2016 13:30 #70463 by Sterkhorn
My Pinnacle Rock

My photo was taken on an extension of the recent Cobham VE trip in October:
VE Cobham Weekend

I am going to use some symbolism to explain the significance of the photo I have chosen.

My approach to Pinnacle Rock was in thick mist and, since I had never been to the Rock before, I was unsure of its exact location or what to expect. The sudden appearance of the Rock out of the mist, towering above me was to me symbolic of the fresh mysteries that the Drakensberg always seems to present to us.
The Pinnacle Rock overwhelming the tent beneath it suggests something that stands out from and makes an impact upon its surroundings. In life we have some experiences that make fundamental impacts upon our lives. My time spent in the Drakensberg has made just such an impact. When I look back on my life, the Drakensberg has been a Pinnacle Rock that has left an enormous sense of value to my life, the absence of which I feel would have left me the poorer.
My experience of the Drakensberg is difficult to explain. When I am there, I seem to become part of it; when I am absent, it seems to be drawing me back.
The Drakensberg is My Pinnacle Rock.

Please login or register to view the image attached to this post.

The following user(s) said Thank You: Stijn

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

31 Dec 2016 02:39 #70471 by intrepid
More entries anyone? Soon time to wrap up this round.

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

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Powered by Kunena Forum