11 April 2021
Report and photos by Dave Sclanders
[CLICK ON PHOTOS TO VIEW FULLSIZE - or view pics in accompanying SIMPLEVIEWER Presentation]
A good Sunday was forecast, and at 08h00, we met at the office, and with the sun starting early to promise a hot day we set off. The first part was easy along the path to the main cave, where we took our first break at Shelter Falls to rest and look at the Rock Paintings on the high rock face behind the waterfall. Certain light and air conditions can afford one the chance to maybe see something that is not there, was not seen before, but is there, high on the cliff face and rock overhang, suddenly appeared the head and face of a wild animal. Where has it been all these years?? I have been passed here so many times before. Maybe the old saying "Eyes Down - miss it, Eyes Up see it!"
Now our problems started as we started to climb the valley, the path was washed away, overgrown and lost. It made for hard, slow deliberate stalking of the path. The river views were great with a lot of clear cool water rushing down the valley. When we were on top of the valley, our problems got worse, the path disappeared totally under the foliage. It was a matter of feeling for the old sunken path and trusting your feet to follow it. As already mentioned, there appears to be no game wandering around to keep the paths open. Where have they gone????????
The sun baked down, the going was seriously rough and tough, legs got tired as one had to lift your feet high to get over the tangled vegetation. We eventually reached a shady spot not far from our destination, where we called a lunch break, and the more hardy climbed up to the caves to look at what might be in the caves. Since my last visit here in 2019, brambles have grown profusely in 2 of the cave entrances, blocking entry into the caves and the contents of the caves. In time these cave paintings will become inaccessible to anyone. Our Natural heritage of what the San People left behind, will be lost again.
After lunch we left our lunch spot and took ourselves down the valley again. This time it was a bit easier and faster as we could follow our raggedy path which we made on the way up.
With the hot weather, poor path, hard hiking, we were glad to get back to the car park. My thanks and congratulations to my hiking buddies for sharing this day together, and for helping me during the day.
It was a hard lesson for me, no more hiking in my old "no where land" until the winter burning season has opened up the old paths again.
A BIG WARNING to all hikers. Winter is coming fast, the grass is very long and dense, it will burn with a great amount of heat and ferociousness, DO NOT under any circumstances light any fires for whatever reason. Striking a match could have catastrophic consequences. Hike with care. Fill in the walking register properly, if a fire stars the authorities can know who is or might be in danger. Sign OUT when you get back.
See our last visit to these caves under better circumstances: MHC Newsletter - Kamberg, 3 Caves, 18 August 2019