Hike leader: Dave Sclanders. Reports scribes: Renata Ruggeri, Beth Bester

Take a map of the entire Drakensberg. Close your eyes. Point to any spot your finger lands on. Go there. Hike it. There isn’t a part of the majestic Drakensberg that won’t leave you breathless and in awe of creation.

The hiking group

Meeting point - transport supplied

Saturday Afternoon - Secret Falls

Moonlight Hike

For MHC, It was Highmoor this time. Situated at Maloti Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site and the highest campsite, accessible by motor vehicle, in the entire Drakensberg.
The road trip entailed a bone rattling, pot hole ridden stretch from Rosetta to Kamberg, but greeted us with the serenity of autumn colours embracing rows of enormous, resplendent old trees, and reflections of the Maloti in crisp dams.
On entering the Nature Reserve, the site of rolling mountains and the sounds of creeks trickling into rivers of clean, potable water leaves you grateful and privileged.
The well maintained campsite was abuzz with MHC contingent setting up colourful 2 man tents, or already enjoying a cuppa tea. Along comes yours truly, with a 6 man tent and no idea how to pitch it. In true hiking camaraderie spirit, lovely Hettie and Dave, the joyous Hockleys and sweet Tersia rallied in like little army ants to assemble my ‘circus tent’. Thank you, lovelies.
At 17:30, with a dazzling colourful sky welcoming the crisp moon, 15 eager beavers took off, led by the ever knowledgeable Dave.
Passing reception area and crossing two rigid bridges, we began our ascent by moon light. The use of torches was not necessary, our eyes quickly adapting to natural lights.
We passed two dams and absorbed the sounds of the nocturnal aquatic wildlife, warning us or each other, or perhaps just greeting us.
The profile of the sleeping giant, Giants Castle, was easily visible in the moonlight.
An easy steady climb brought us to the foothills of Giants Castle on an escarpment with views of umsimkulu valley (please ask Dave to fill in here) and Dundee to the right and our lovely sleeping giant to the left. It was at this point that we were encouraged to spread out 50 m apart and reflect or ruminate for 30 minutes, with the night sky showing off a magnificent display of the Milky Way.
On Dave’s whistle command, we tottered back in line to commence our descent back to camp, arriving back around 22h00.
A fresh, crisp night lulled us all to sleep, dreaming of night skies, and awaiting a typical Berg sunrise.
Indeed the day broke to a radiantly splendid sunrise with hues of crimson, orange and saffron to the east, and reflections of her beauty upon the face of the sleeping Giant Castle.
It was soon after this epic display that I departed. Another Berg adventure accomplished and greatly appreciated.
It was indeed memorable and I am deeply grateful to Dave and Hettie and to all the fellow hikers. Until next time.
Renata Ruggeri

Sunday Hike: Falls Hike

It was a warm and sunny start on Sunday morning after a beautiful moonlight walk the night before. Six of us set out with Leader Dave Sclanders, the destination a waterfall and possibly a cave with paintings, dependent on your ability to handle heights

Author: Beth Bester
Creating our own trail up the steep hill, we first saw baboons going about their daily business. Dave also gave us some interesting facts on baboon behaviour and at the top of the next hill were greeted by four curious grey rhebuck looking at us from a distance.
After a couple of stops to catch our breath, which included history of the area from Dave, made it to the waterfall which was worth the walk. Here we took time for a snack, take photos and just to admire the beauty of the waterfall before us. The group decided not to pursue going to the cave as most of us don’t enjoy heights.
Heading back Dave found a path, which was notably easier. It was turning out to be a very warm day as we walked alongside an old farm fence, had a few stops until we turned onto an old road which we followed back to the campsite, where it was time for lunch and then to pack up to head home. We hiked a distance of just under 5km.
Thanks you Dave, we always appreciate your informative history talks, hiking tips and experience.

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