The Mountain Guide

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The view from Stable Cave in the early morning

TRIP DESCRIPTION


This 4-5 day trip doesn't go onto the Drakensberg escarpment. Instead it heads up to 2000m into the 'Little Berg' and follows the contour path - almost the whole trip is on-trail using well-defined and maintained paths. It's a great walk for people who are not keen on the extremely strenuous nature of a Drakensberg pass or perhaps are not equipped for very cold conditions.

We start off at Monk's Cowl forest station and climb up the steep path past the Sphinx to Blind Man's Corner at the base of Cathkin Peak before turning north. We then head for Hlatikulu Neck and overnight at the Mhlwazini River. The following day we continue north, finally turning east at the base of Eastman's Ridge, camping just outside the Didima Special Conservation Area (SCA). The third day passes through the Didima SCA before turning south on the Mhlwazine River and heaving for Stable Cave. On the last day we descend Jacob's Ladder and either head back across the Paardeplaat flats to Monk's Cowl or go down past the Grotto to exit at the Drakensberg Sun Hotel.

Heading north The fauna and flora of the Little Berg is far, far more diverse than that of the high berg. The bird-life is more prolific and the animals tend to be somewhat more relaxed - life here is a bit less of a struggle than on the escarpment.

Daily distances vary from 12 to 16 km with a maximum altitude gain for a single day of 600m and a maximum descent for a single day of 600m. Overnight spots are either wildeness camp-sites or Stable Cave itself. Temperatures here are warmer which makes summer hiking quite testing as day-time temperatures can reach 30C although 25C is more the norm.

The best time of year to undertake this trip is late in the Southern Hemisphere summer (March and April), but it can be done at any time of the year. Mid-summer gets rather hot and humid with afternoon temperatures reaching 30C before the thunderstorms arrive.


Area
KZN Drakensberg

Duration
4 Days, 3 night

Mean altitude
2000m

Difficulty
Moderate

Technical aspects
  • Summer river crossings

    Accommodation
    Tents & Cave

    Style
    Fully self sufficient

    Recommended Kit
    Mountain hiking

    Cost per person
    People in group:
    1  :  R 9,500
    2  :  R 5,500
    3  :  R 4,000
    4+ :  R 3,000

    Note: Cost excludes transport or accommodation either side of the hike. If you wish we will make these arrangements for you.




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