An overnight hike to Zulu Cave – March 2011

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.

So I managed to convince them to be like a Bushman for one night. They had never hiked with a backpack on but being only one night it wasn’t much that we needed to take with us. I provided all the camping equipment and they brought their clothes, the right attitude and a good sense of humour. They managed without any problems, it was something new for them and they realised they quite liked it.

If you would like to do this hike contact us at [email protected] or have a look at our website www.spanafrican-adventures.co.za for other exciting options.

Christina and Bernhard at the start of their first backpacking trip ever!

 

Helichrysums, probably the most common flowers in the Drakensberg

 

Crystal Falls, barely 2km after the start of our hike. We had gained though in hot temperatures though , so a little refreshing time had been well earned

 

Hesperantha baruii

 

The long way to Blindman’s Corner

 

Another night in Zulu Cave, a well known shelter in the Drakensberg

 

Most caves in the Drakensberg are formed in the Clarens Sandstone cliffs

 

A morning shower before our return

 

the steep climb from the Mhlawazini River

 

Moraea brevistyla

 

Scabiosa drakensbergensis

 

From left to right, from highest to lowest: Cathkin Peak, Sterkhorn, Tower and Amphletts

 

Corycium nigrescens (black-faced orchid)

 

Descending Keartlands Pass

 

Signs like this are common near main camps. But a little further away there’s nothing to guide you but a good hiking map

Carlos Gonzalez

Life has been good since his arrival in South Africa. It was September 2005 and he fell in love with the country straightaway. Places like the Drakensberg, Wild Coast and the Midlands provide all the inspiration he needs. After the taste of freedom, working in an office again was out of the question. He has since qualified as a nature and mountain guide, and as his friends joke, embarked on a serious love affair... with the Drakensberg, where he spends most weekends.

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