MHC - 3 Caves, Kamberg Nature Reserve, Central uKhahlamba Drakensberg, 18 August 2019

Report and photos by Dave Sclanders

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



Another exploration day hike in an area that not many experienced hikers even go. So it was going to be a great experience for the group of hikers who assembled at the well known Kamberg Nature Reserve office. Most of the hikers were visitors, or future club members.

The day was bright and clear, with the Giant standing out on the skyline all day. The first part was following a well-worn path, then later we turned off onto an old Eland track, and then once in the valley, the tracks were lost and we did some serious "side of the cliff walking" which took its toll on the ankles, and made for serious eye and foot concentration to traverse the side of the steep valley, with a steepish drop down into the stream. Some parts of the mountain had been burnt, but the lower edge alongside the stream was unburnt and very difficult to walk on as the grass was long, slippery, and in places quite hard and sharp "Porcupine Grass". The first steep climb soon set hearts racing, and the old animal was badly eroded and full of stones. Later at the first stream crossing a break was had, and water bottles filled.



As we continued up the valley, the stream far below looked very cool and inviting.



There comes a time in a leader's life where nothing looks familiar, and one is not sure if you are in the right area. As we continued, this crossed my mind, the paths were very erratic, and in places no sign of a path at all, yet I knew we should be on a path. After much mountain slide walking, slipping and sliding, we broke out of the steep valley bed, into a more open riverbed, crossed the stream, and sat down to catch our breath, and for me to try to figure out where we were. The map was not much good, my old GPS showed the cave to be over the hill, not even in this valley, all very confusing. Then looking up the side of the opposite valley wall, a large rock and a small overhang rang bells in my head. I knew where we were, on the wrong side of the valley!!!!! A steep climb brought us to the cave, then after looking at it, another very steep climb through long slippery grass brought us to the crest of this particular valley. All was now well.



A walk across the top of a large open area was easy and enjoyable, giving the hikers time to chat and catch up on the last hours walk, and have a good look around. A bit later we came to the end of the plateau, and looked down into another steep valley which would be our way back to the cars.



Once down the steep cliff slope, lunch and a rest was had in another cave, while those who were stronger visit to nearby caves to inspect them. The path up the valley down to the cars really was overgrown with porcupine grass (a grass with long hard round porcupine quill type grass leaves) which were sharp and difficult to walk through. The path was very overgrown, and with the small deep stream crisscrossing the path, made for hard going for a while. Further down the valley and unusual Rock Face pointed the way to go.

We arrived safely back at the car park after a very interesting walk in some of the deeper unknown valleys of Kamberg.

Well done to all, specially our 2 youngest members who showed great determination and energy over the day.



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Streams are getting drier and water is becoming a bit short, so make sure you carry plenty of liquid, especially if you plan to go up to higher places where the streams may have dried up already. The days are getting hotter so be sure to wear good head coverings and use good sunscreen protection.

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AGAIN A PLEA TO ALL BERG HIKERS - PLEASE FILL IN THE MOUNTAIN WALKING REGISTER PROPERLY AND ACCURATELY,AND GET THE EMERGENCY NUMBER OF THE OFFICE FROM WHICH YOU LEAVE. “IT IS IN YOUR BEST INTEREST AT ALL TIMES.

Don’t see it as a nuisance, see it as your insurance in a time of emergency

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