MHC - Mt Lebanon, Highmoor Nature Reserve, Central uKhahlamba Drakensberg, World Heritage Site
30 May 2021

Report and photos by Dave Sclanders

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

Highmoor, Highmoor, Highmoor such an underrated destination for day walkers, and such a little visited area of the berg. 17 hikers from the club met on Sunday morning at the office to start the hike. Included were 6 hardy souls who had camped there on Saturday night - a night of deep winter cold. The morning was cold, clear with a thin sun shining down on us. Weather forecast was cold, overcast with wind, but no rain. So that was good.

I had expected the paths to be very difficult to find as over the years less and less hikers and animals had walked this area so the paths had disappeared under the grass. So by going up early on Saturday with the objective to recce the area, we had soon put up our tent, had a quick cup of tea, and set off for Mt Lebanon. Just as well that we did , the path was very overgrown, and we really had a difficult time to find it, and at strategic places to put some cairns up so we could have some bearings at points along the way on Sunday.

Our first sighting animal sighting of the day was two horses grazing on the brow of a hill with Giants Castle behind them, and then there was a group of baboons out on the hill top starting the long day of scavenging for food under rocks and tufts of grass. Walking was difficult as the early sun glancing of the dry grass through changing shadows that in place, hid out yesterday’s path most effectively, setting us off course now and then. The big trick was to get back to the path as soon as possible. Highmoors high hills may look flat, but hidden in the flatness are small gullies and steep drop-off caused by the small streams staring their long trip to the ocean. These little gullies can cause a long day to become much longer and harder than one could imagine. Remember one thing about walking in the berg, there are NO shortcuts. These winding paths were made eons ago by the wild game in the mountains, who founded and caused many safe paths going from A to B .Regular stops were taken to check the wonderful views around us, because sooner than later we would start the short steep climb to the top of Mt Lebanon.

Mt Lebanon loomed, the path was hidden under long grass, and in places washed badly making walking quite difficult. A slow steady ascent at each hikers own pace and path, and soon all were on top.

The views from this high vantage point are incredible - 360 degrees to anywhere, unfortunately drifting clouds did play hide and seek with what one could see at any given moment. Then a very bright patch of sunlight would open up the view, and cause one to reach for sunglasses. The wind was chippy so la lunch spot with as little wind as possible was sought, lunch taken with magic views, and then it was time to head for home. Here again , the downhill stretch of the mountain was a bit attention demanding, so the hike line was stretched, but never out of sight, and as we reached the flats, a rest and catch-up break was had.

The path was lost in very long overgrown and lying down grass, so a new detour was taken across the seeming never to end undulating, pathless grass lands. However we came to the area where we had stopped the recce yesterday because of no path ahead of us, found our tracks and followed, and soon were back on the homeward track. A breather was taken once were on a god track, and looking back we could see the high ridge of Mt Lebanon, our goal for the day.

Then it was a last look, before heading for our cars. A great day out in the mountain fresh air, and healthy exercise for body, mind and soul.

Just a reminder to all who go for outings into nature in winter.
An old mountain hikers saying "Any fool can be cold in the berg", always go prepared for the worst.