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Big hike in the Berg


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There are a few people who are interested in taking a drive to the Central Drakensberg and hiking overnight to enjoy the mountain and possibly pick up some tough caches. More sane people may choose to make a relaxing holiday of this trip and when hiking, stay on the shorter paths returning to 'base camp' in hours rather than days.

Firstly- who is interested.

Secondly- let's organise the trip.

Edited by Fier
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Another location would be the Tugela Falls area in the Northern Berg. There are 4 caches definitely available, (GC496EN, GCGCEM, GC496FW, GC1YX6K) and we could possibly even find all 6 on the plateau. I would not recommend the other 2 caches in the area which would require rope! It is quite possible to do this with only 1 night spent camping out, and you do not need to be super fit to make it. :)

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At present, we are thinking we would choose a location as base camp and we would have a few activities. The big activity is to hike up to Ships Prow - that would be an overnight hike. But there are plenty shorter hikes one can do. I'm looking for GPS tracks for the trails. So far I have only found a paraglider's track - which would be fun but does not help us on this trip. Anybody have hiked the routes and saved their tracks?

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It seems there is a lot of interest in a Berg trip generally, but many people not able to do a 3 or 4 night hike out. Some want to stay in accommodation and do day trips while the long trip is in progress. Perhaps more outings to different areas to cater for everyone is called for?


Personally I feel that Ships Prow Pass is not the best option for accessing the summit caches in the area. It is rated as "most extreme". David Bristow describes it as "the foulest in all the land and I fail to understand why anyone uses it." The expedition leader would have to chose a suitable route based on the group's ability and fitness.


How about a planning event early in January, so we can all meet and throw ideas around. Even if it is not an official event cache (needs 2 weeks notice to publish). As some of us are not based in Joburg, perhaps a skype connection would be possible?

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I have lots to say, but where to start? For now, I'm just trying to compile a list of interested people's direct email addresses. I agree a meeting is required - I think that screen sharing will be necessary for the route planning. I also think it's important to plan a big hike (the big attraction) and arrange other group hikes for the same time period.


I am not looking for a 3 or 4 night hike - I'm aiming for a 1 night hike that is made easier by camping out for 2 nights. If Ship's Prow does not meet that constraint, then the geocache on the pass can be left for another daring group. Another way of saying this is that this adventure has a primary goal of being fun and the close secondary goal of finding the geocaches.


To those who have shown interest: I've sent you an email, please let me know if you want to participate in a skype planning session as RickZA suggested.

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A few from Cape Town have expressed interest in joining, depending on timing of course.


I wonder if the folk at T4A don't perhaps have some raw data that has not yet appeared on their maps.

I can make enquiries if you want.

I saw some hikes on their online map, but I have nothing on my old version of their CD. It won't do any harm to ask. But I will also contact some people who live in the area and ask if they have some electronic tracks. (They have extensive maps of the paper kind, but not digital...)

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Depending on dates and my circumstances at the time, I would also be interested. Both for the base camp and relevant hikes, or for the multiple nights on the hike. I don't yet have a find in KZN, and I practically grew up in the Central Berg. Just be aware I am a rookie in hiking trips and caching... I don't really have much gear.

Edited by Black James Cash
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Ships Prow is tough going, However it is going to be a lot of fun/pain. Champagne Castle Via Ships Prow is rated as Extreme. The hike is not for sissies, and may be ready to scare a lot of you. 42km round trip. There is also a slightly shorter, but still a strenuous hike to the top via Grays Pass. Again a long and tough hike 38km return. Or combine the two, go up one and down the other.... count on two nights up there either one of them.


In the Monks Cowl camp site there are some short hikes, namely to the Sterkspruit falls and to Chrystal Falls and the Spinx, the latter two can be done also from Champagne Castle Hotel as well as the hike to the Fern Forest, or Sunken Forest, The Rock with Bushman Paintings or to Duiker Dam, I love these as short hikes as they are great hikes for kids and the tranquility of the Duiker Dam is awesome. The sounds in summer of all the little insects and the lush greenery of the plant life is awesome.


Dragon Peaks also has a host of fun activities for kids as well as a paintball and canopy tour (For kids). Short hikes are also available there. Camping is fantastic at Dragon Peaks and they have Chalets too....


The Camping up in the mountains is rudimentary and unless someone has a FRIGGING long extension lead, and I mean FRIGGING long, you not going to have any electricity up there. You could always bring a kite and try harness the power of lightning. If you try this please make sure i am in your will....


I have not yet done any of these hikes although I have hiked almost to Keith Bush Camp, which I did in a day, there and back. that was 25km and it hurt, but hey a FTF is a FTF.

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Those of us in JHB - we can get together to do the westclif stairs.


I have no disillusion that some people will find the hike to Keith Bush camp enough of a challenge. There may only be 5 of us who attempt Champaign’s Castle - and then we may choose to skip Ship's Prow. If there is less than 5 people I will feel uncomfortable regarding safety.


After some discussions we believe that we should avoid the Easter break. This means that we will not align with the school holidays. However, we need to be cognisant of leave days. Therefore I propose the weekend of the 21st March.



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Put me on the list - I'd like to stay abreast - and perhaps do the event/hike depending on other commitments.


Keith Bush is great - and one could perhaps plan a trip for a cache in the Gatberg? Always been a dream to climb into the hole.



I would love to do that as well. We should talk about it.

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How about an event at Keith Bush camp - when have we had an event with a terrain of 4?

Would be a t 4.5 its a 2 day hike. And there has been one in KZN.


Keiths is a nice easy hike not a lot of climbing. There's also a coin in the cache there. I really shouldn't have dropped it in retrospect. Also if you stay there its quite a quick day hike up greys pass to the top. Where you can grab a couple of Cache Quests caches. (I think 1 may need replacing with his permission of course) GC35P0W

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Tarisma, will you be trying again with us?

Any chance you took a gps bread crumb trail as you went?


I most definitely will be trying with you guys again. A friend of mine was using his Garmin watch I think he may have the track logs with him. But at worst I can recall the hiking route and have a fairly comprehensive map of the area.

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OK we are on! Weekend of 21 March. There are at least 6 people who want to try Greys Pass. There may be more who will stop over at Keith Hut and not try to hike further.

Also there is a crowd who will do day hikes. I have not put much focus on those activities yet.

If you want to join the organising please email me directly. Also we need to book entry into the reserve and I have an agreement with a mountaineer to guide us, we'll need to recompense him. So please email me your intention if you have not done it here or on FB.

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