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Spanafrican Adventures's Blog

The latest news on Spanafrican Adventures operations.

A 3-day hike in the Little Berg - Amira, Sook Leen and Hermina - March 2012

A typical scene in the Little Berg with the ever-present layer of Clarens Sandstone


One of the perks of working as a mountain guide is that you meet lots of interesting people. Amira from Algeria, Sook Leen from Malaysia and Hermina from Romania, are all now living and working in London. They met eight years ago when they started working in banking and have lived there ever since. They came to South Africa for a wedding but also took the opportunity to see more than just Franschhoek. Amira, being the most adventurous of the three, convinced Sook Leen and Hermina to join her for a hike in the Drakensberg. It was out of their comfort zone but a very enjoyable experience, it seemed.

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New Year's Eve at Tarn Cave - December 2011

 
Tarn Cave is big and deep overhang in the Clarens sandstone with fantastic 180-degree views.


Finally, this year I had the opportunity to spend a New Year’s Eve in the Drakensberg. Our friend James Voortman had scheduled a combined meet for the Mountain Club of South Africa and the Mountain Backpackers hiking club of Durban, and invited us to join them. Tarn cave, one of the finest natural shelters in the whole range, was the chosen venue. Located in the Bushman’s Nek Area in the southern Drakensberg, a 10km moderate walk from the main camp, this deep overhang in the Clarens sandstone has great vast panoramic views all the way from the Devil’s Knuckles to the Garden Castle.

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Zulu Cave - Greg and Michelle - October 2011

Greg and Michelle with Sterkhorn


After a 2-month ‘break’ running our cycling tours in the Indian Himalayas, I was happy to be back in the mountains I love so much. American siblings Greg and Michelle were looking for an overnight hike that would allow them to experience the real wilderness of the Drakensberg. Zulu Cave is one of those overnight spots that are close enough from camp to make it easily accessible in a day, but far enough to feel remote.

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From Mafadi to a hike in the Little Berg - August 2011

Sunrise from our campsite at the bottom of Leslie’s Pass, in the morning of the 3rd day.

It was the beginning of August and this was to be our last hike of the long cold winter of 2011. A few cold fronts had swept across the Drakensberg so I was expecting the passes and the escarpment to be partially, if not fully, covered in snow. For this reason my plan was to do the route the opposite way around: up Leslie’s Pass and down Judge’s Pass. This way, most of the route to Mafadi would be on the warmer northern slopes where the snow melts quicker. Once on top, if the colder southern slopes on the other side of Mafadi carried too much snow, we could always retrace out steps and go back down the same way. In the end, things didn’t go according to the plan but this still ended up being a great hike in the Little Berg.

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Vaalribbokkop and Zulu Caves, a hike with friends - June 2011

Not a bad spot for lunch, is it? It was a spectacular day.


Even though I have been spending lots of time hiking in the Drakensberg lately as a mountain guide, I was looking forward to sharing the Berg with some of my friends, just for the sheer love of it. Without the weight of responsibility I could relax and admire the mountains I love so much.

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An overnight hike to Zulu Cave - March 2011

Great light from Zulu Cave



Christina and Bernhard from Germany had never camped in the mountains before. They just wanted to do 2 day hikes in a nice area. Didn’t they want to overnight in a beautiful cave instead, I asked them? To stay in a cave is of the unique experiences that we are fortunate to have in the Drakensberg. The Bushmen used these natural shelters, formed by erosion in the Clarens sandstone, for many thousands of years before the arrival of the white man in the mid 1850s, when they were sadly hunted for trophies until they were completely exterminated. The Bushmen are now long gone but the caves are still there. Some of them feature some of the finest rock art in the world, which is one of the reasons why the Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park was declared world heritage site in 2000.

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Vaalribbokkop Cave and Zulu Cave - A 3 day hike in the Monk's Cowl area - January 2011

 

 
Walking on sandstone towards Vaalribbokkop Cave


Adele and Bruce Arnott come from Johannesburg and, as many other South Africans, love outdoors. Life is fast in the biggest city in South Africa so they try to go for escapes around the country as often as they can. They had done a few day hikes in the berg in the past but lately they had been thinking it was about time to take a step further and experience the mountains a little more intimately.

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Aditya's Giants Cup Trail - December 2010

Aditya Sinha - Ultimate Survivor

Aditya Sinha is a 12 year old Indian boy from Mumbai who emigrated to South Africa with his family 3 years ago. He is a big fan of Ultimate Survival and has been some time since he has wanted to emulate his hero. So a few weeks ago he decided to surf the internet to look for an adventure. He sent some emails around, one of which landed on my inbox. To cut a long story short he convinced the rest of his family and some of their friends to join me on a 3 day hike in the Drakensberg.

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