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Drakensberg MOUNTAIN WALKING GUIDE, guided day hikes and guided multi day hikes


MOUNTAIN WALKING GUIDE, guided day hikes and guided multi day hikes.BERGFREE ADVENTURES specialises in walking in the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Mountains, (KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa), a World Heritage Site. Day Hikes When: any time of the year For the first time mountain/berg visitor deciding where to go can be a daunting task. There are easy day walks at all mountain/ berg resorts. However I can guide you to unvisited places at the following mountain /berg resorts: Giants Castle ( see Newsletter 3 – The Giants Castle of Sunrises) Highmoor (see Newsletter 4 – The Valleys of Highmoor) Kamberg (see Newsletter 5 – KambergValley day trip) These resorts are all in easy reach of Pietermaritzburg , the Midlands Meander and surrounding areas . Walks are easy, and vary in distance to suit your and your children’s pace and interests . In summer river walks are great as a dip in a cool mountain stream is an especially “cooling experience”. I can supply backpacks , stoves , hats etc. No special hiking boots required , just good sound walking shoes. 2 – 3 day hikes and sleep in either caves or mountain huts When - any time of the year . remember November- January are our heavy rain months , you will at some time hike in the rain – be prepared There are many 2 – 3 day hikes where we overnight in caves and or mountain huts. For the fitter , hardier hiker , tents can be carried , then the mountain becomes yours and you can go wherever you wish , and for as long as you like. All hikes will be designed around your own , or your groups fitness capability and expectations. I do not mix different groups of people together , your trip is your trip. I plan as you want , easy and slow , or hard and fast and anything in- between . The only limitations are on where the caves and mountain huts are – they determine our ultimate pace as we must get there at the end of each day. This is where my experience comes in , with your information and my knowledge of the mountains we will plan and enjoy a memorable experience in the mountain wilderness together. I will do all bookings , food planning , route planning etc for our trip , but , I don’t cook for you. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ HIKING AREAS: Cathedral Peak - 2 and 3 days hiking - sleeping in caves . (see Newsletter 3 – The Doctors of Cathedral Peak) Many interesting areas to visit including Rock art and the Rock Art Centre , as well as wonderfull mountain views. The hikes from here need good fitness , as well as a full pack of hiking equipment . Not suitable for children. Good accommodation available close by hotels , camp sites B & B’s etc . Things to do – many day walks – easy and hard , trout fishing , river swimming , mountain bike riding , unsurpassed views , good roads and mountain paths. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Monks Cowl 2 – 3 days hiking - sleeping in caves . (see Newsletter 9 - Exploration Hike …) Good caves caves as well as Rock Art . Need to be fit for this area as caves are relatively far from the car park, hike on good contour paths - Many nice easy day walks , hike through natural riverine bush . Good official camp site at Monks Cowl. For those who do not want to stay in the campsite whilst some of the family hike for 2 or 3 days good hotels and other accommodation are close by. There is much to see and do in the surrounding area. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Injisuthi 2 – 3 days hiking - sleeping in caves . There are a number of routes here. (see Newsletter 5 – Injisuthi) Good caves to sleep in , some easy to get to , good for first time overnight hikers , and older children 13 years +. Good views . One of the easier places to overnight hike in. Many day walks including the famous ‘Battle Cave” rock art cave- access only with a game guard or Rock Art Custodian. Good trout fishing and river swimming – like Marble Baths Pools not too far away. There are self catering huts as well as a camp site here . Eland come around the campsite at night. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Giants Castle 2 – 3 days to 4 days hiking – sleeping in mountain huts and caves. (see Newsletter 1 – Giants Castle – Hut Hike , and Newsletter 3 – Moonlight Hike) The hikes from here are on good paths , a fair degree of fitness is needed to walk from Giants Hut to Bannerman’s hut as it is a long 20 kilometer hike . For the rest , by good planning easier overnight hikes can be done . There is a smaller mountain hut much closer by , a great experience for the very first time overnight hiker. One can also get to the top of the escarpment to the famous Carbineer Memorial . There are a limited number of day walks , trout fishing , swimming and the famous Giants Castle Rock Art Museum not far away.. Good bird watching . Eland come around the camp at night . Wonderful views of the “Giant” from here . Very good accommodation at Giants Camp – self catering and restaurant. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Highmoor 2- 3 days hiking – sleeping in caves. (see Newsletter 7 ) Caves are very close by , and easy to get to. An ideal place for families to share their 1st hiking and overnight experience in a cave together ( see my newsletter number 7) Easy hiking from here , the only place where you can drive up to the top of the “Little berg” by car and camp. Good Rock art site , trout fishing dams , wonderfull views , waterfalls and mountain solitude for the not so fit . Small camping area . ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Kamberg - 2-3 days hiking - sleeping in a cave (see Newsletter 6 - The Misty Kamberg) Un-spoilt hiking area , cave is marked , but paths are not easy to follow . Kamberg is known for its trout fishing , as well as the famous Kamberg Rock Art Centre and Rock Art Shelter which you can only visit with a registered Rock Art Custodian. A must visit if you are in the area. Limited number of day walks . Walks are easy with good river swimming – visit Roman Baths for a lovely day of swimming and sun tanning.. Accomodation in good self catering cottages. Good game viewing area not far away. Good B & b not far away. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Lotheni 2 days hiking - sleeping in a cave (see Newsletter 3 – Lotheni Sunrise) Lotheni is one of the more isolated camps in the mountains/berg. Easy walk to the cave with natural bush vegetation and good riverine views and places to swim. Many day walks , some quite strenuous . Good trout fishing , and big river pools to swim in. Accommodation in good self catering huts and a nice camp site , as well as a secluded cottage on a small dam. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Cobham 2 – 3 days hiking - sleeping in caves (see Newsletter 6 – Gxalingenwa Cave) Lovely area to hike in , many caves to sleep in . Very different rock and valley formations to the Northern berg. A number of different hike routes can be done from here as the are a number of good sleeping caves scattered throughout the area . Good Rock Art sites , as well as a National Heritage Site. Many nice day walks , lovely river swimming , especially in the summer. Good trout fishing . Rustic large Camp site at Cobham . Nice area for children . Not far to the famous Sani Pass – need a tour operator or a 4x4 plus a valid passport to drive up the pass . ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Garden Castle 2 – 3 days hiking – sleeping in caves or mountain huts . (see Newsletter 1 – Garden Castle) A number of caves available in the area . Good hiking with many views of mountains and valleys . Good day hikes – with the extra long and difficult day hike to get to the top of the Rhino. Good river swimming and trout fishing . By special arrangement a mountain hut is available depending on circumstances at the time where an easy 2 day hike can be done and overnight in the hut. There is a small camp site at the office , but nearby is a good hotel . ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Bushmans Nek 2 – 3 days hiking – sleeping in caves (see Newsletter 8 – Tarn Cave) A more rugged area to hike in , however there are a number of caves in the area. On the one route there is an opportunity to enjoy a good climb to the top of the escarpment , whilst on another good rock art can be seen. Trout fishing and good river swimming . Good day walks from the nearby private camp site , and not far way a good hotel. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Longer and a bit more difficult hikes When – any time of the year. However the Mini Traverse should only be done at certain times of the year due to possible bad weather conditions . The best time for this trip is April/May , or Late September /October. Giants Cup Trail - 5 days – Southern Berg ( see newsletter 3 – Giants Cup Trail) For those who may want to venture a bit further , maybe 5 days , there is the Giants Cup Trail . this is a self guided trail , however I have led a number of people on this trip , and have had very commendable feedback as they have all seen more , and experienced more by having a guide with them. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Giants Hut to Centenary/Injisuthi trail - 5 days– Central Berg (see Newsletter 11 – Bannerman’s hut to Centenary Hut) This will be an extension of this hike . In parts the trail gets a bit lost , could be exciting in bad weather . Wonderfull views , last day could be a long one depending on the route. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Many 4-5 day hikes Walking from area to area along the contour path , tents needed , and parties of at least 4 people together. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Ultimate 5 day - The Mini Traverse - Northern Berg ( see Newsletter 5 – Mini Traverse) For this trip mountain fitness and hiking experience is a must . The trip is across the top of the berg. Tents and 6 days food must be carried . Weather is unpredictable and a full range of high quality mountain kit must be carried by all in the party. Expect rain , severe cold , ice , mist , sunburn , whatever . However in fair weather the views are without doubt the most spectacular that you could imagine. Here we need at least 6 – 8 people who know each other on this hike . Strong team sense and spirit , as well as physical strength is needed. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Remember, I will plan any hike to suit you and your group or family. Contact me either by e mail , or if that bounces back send me a fax , and I will contact you. Please bear in mind that I may be away on a trip when you email , so give me a few days to get back to you. Good hiking - don’t wait too long to do your first to the mountains . It will be a “not to be forgotten experience” AREAS TO HIKE IN - all areas that we hike ,are in the in uKhahlamba Drakensberg World Heritage Site , and fall under the auspicious of the KZN Wildlife organization , the official custodians of our nature reserves in Kwa Zulu-Natal

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Name of hostsDave Sclanders
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