Northern Berg Traverse

Northern Berg Traverse - View from Amphitheater
Northern Berg Traverse – View from Amphitheater

we could feel the warm rays on our skin. The night was quite mild and not cold at all and we had minimal ice or frost around the cave. However on the on the other side as we walked down it looked like snow so thick the frost was lying in-between the grass, and where ever water flowed over the rocks it was frozen solid. Today we would make our way to Twins Cave, another escarpment cave but I don’t think it’s quite as nice as some of the other caves as it can be very wet with drips or very dry in winter with us having to carry water up from the stream as well. Our walk today would take us very close to the escarpment with some spectacular view over the Cathedral Peak range. We made our way over valleys and over hills and eventually reached Ntonjelana Pass were we dried our tents that was still wet and had quite a long lunch, from here it’s not too far to our final destination and although no one said it, we were all thinking off the final uphill from the river to the escarpment, again with a full load of water. This time we were clever and took it slow and steady and reached the edge and looked down onto the final downhill that would lead us into Twins Cave. Making our way down we could feel that it was a long day and we had to really concentrate on our foot placement as the path was rocky and badly eroded at some places. After what felt like an eternity we walked into the cave, this time it was empty and we found each a spot to sleep. The cave was relative dry and only a few drips but not enough to be used as a water source. The cave gets sun well into the afternoon and we sat outside on the grass till it disappeared behind the high berg and again it started to get quite cold. We all enjoyed an early supper as tomorrow was going to be a long day making our way down the Bell Traverse. The weather still looked good and even though there was some high clouds around making for an awesome sunset, the weather forecast still look good.

Northern Berg Traverse - The Chain Ladders
Northern Berg Traverse – The Chain Ladders

It was a very mild night and we all slept well and up early so that we could have an early start, today would be challenging for us all. Bo was getting the flu and suffering with the symptoms and his pace was a lot slower than the days before. Shouldering our bags we set off on the final leg of our journey and walked surprisingly fast and before long we were down the tricky section and on our way on the contour path well on our way to the Bell and up and over Buggers Gully. It is here were we started to slow down, it’s a steep, rocky gully that we have to pass up and over to reach the other side of Cathedral Peak. We did not set any records going over, however we made it. We were running low on water and in the valley leading up to the peak we found some water were we had a quick lunch before tackling the rest of the way down. It is a long way back as the path zig zags left and right then over hills before reaching Orange Peel Gap. From here you know it’s downhill all the way, and down hills you might think is easy however for most the down hills as just as bad as the uphill’s. Stepping down the rocks and steps with a heavy bag pushing you down takes a lot of concentration not to fall over. I was now close to 16:00 as we walked passed Sherman’s Cave and we had still a way to go, our pace was fast and we did not stop for much as we needed to get down to the car park. We walked like crazy and soon we reached our last obstacle the Mlambonja River, the crossing was quite easy, boulder hope all the way across and then on to the car park. We made it to the vehicles and we all admitted that it was a long and tiring day for all, but we will all be back very soon to tackle the mighty Drakensberg again.

Northern Berg Traverse - Tugela Falls
Northern Berg Traverse – Tugela Falls
Northern Berg Traverse - Madona & her worshipers
Northern Berg Traverse – Madona & her worshipers
Northern Berg Traverse - Sunrise over KZN
Northern Berg Traverse – Sunrise over KZN

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