MHC - Kamberg Valleys Hike
Kamberg Nature Reserve
Central Drakensberg
World Heritage Site
9 July 2017

Report and photos by Dave Sclanders.

[CLICK ON PHOTOS TO VIEW FULLSIZE - or view pics in accompanying SIMPLEVIEWER Presentation]



Kamberg Nature Reserve in the Central Drakensberg is one of the Special Places in the Drakensberg that few people visit. Apart from the trout fishing, there is the World Renowned Rock Art Shelter that has amongst the most famous Rock Art paintings in the world. Also there are a number of good day walks to be enjoyed in the area.

Seven of us met on a cool, clear cold morning at the Kamberg office, and after the formalities were done, we set off towards famous Game Pass Shelter Cave with it' s incredible paintings. A short rest at Emewen Qwabathwa Falls, then we headed left up into the steep valleys that dominate the region above the cliffs that look down on the Kamberg camp. High to our right across the stream, the high cliffs that house the famous paintings looked down on us.The streams were still running well, and much to our delight, we found ourselves in an area that had experienced a runaway fire, and a huge area had been burnt. We had expected to fight our way through long spiky riverine vegetation that would have made the going difficult and treacherous, now it was literally a walk in the park, as were able to negotiate easy walking over the steep valley bottoms. Further up the valley we stopped for a water break before we started the big climb up to some rock shelters high above us.



In hidden shelters faded and not so faded rock art galleries were found. Fortunately they were far enough away from any vegetation so as not to be damaged by any flames



We now had a steep climb to get to the summit of the valley. Here again we were fortunate, that with the burning of the grass we could find easy footholds amongst the loose rocks to have a fairly easy climb.



Lunch was had over the ridge, and further on another painted site was carefully inspected and enjoyed. Unfortunately here, the invasive bramble had grown well during the past summers and having had some fire through it , we were able to rest in the shade of this shelter. In full summer, and this plant in all it' s full growing strength would stop anyone from getting to the shelter.



It was then a matter of descending back into the valley and following the stream down to our way-out path. However here in this valley, the soot from the fire lay thick on the ground ,and every footstep raised a cloud of dirty black soot that got into ones eyes and nose. This was a good place to be in the front of the group, whilst the back markers swallowed black dirty air.

Stopping again at the bottom , some water bottles were filled, and faces washed before our final push back to our vehicles. A great day in the valleys, soot, and sun.



On the way home the well known Kamberg Mountain stood out clearly in the blue afternoon sky.



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There is always a debate on whether hiking sticks or poles are of any use, or benefit to the hiker. If one looks at pictures of hikers/walkers in the mountain areas of the world, and also at the people who do long mountain races or hard endurance trials, many people use them. The advantages are many, mainly to help support the pressure on the knees on either a downhill or uphill struggle. They also help stabilize one over rough ground and especially when boulder hopping river or stream crossings. To me the biggest factor is keeping ones knees in the best shape for as long as possible. Heavy backpacks, steep ups or downs all play havoc with the knees. Main effects are only realized later in life.

ALWAYS GO PREPARED FOR THE UNEXPECTED

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