Hubby and I decided to do a guided hike to Cannibal Cavern on our first full day at The Cavern. We usually do the hikes in and around the hotel on our own, following a map (obtainable from the Entertainment Desk). On a couple of previous occasions, following the not-to-scale map for the longer hikes, isn’t always easy and we often found ourselves ‘lost’ because paths were overgrown or we took a wrong turn. In the valley and on their property, you can never get lost … there’s always a way down! Cannibal Cavern is one of those longer hikes we hadn’t done and opted to join the guided group. We were both glad we did, as the path narrowed in many parts with a covering of overhanging grasses. If we, on our own, had come to a path like that we would have turned back thinking we had taken a wrong turn
The hike took us 3 hours there and back, and we covered roughly 7 kms! The description of the hike reads “ On this hike you will see unusual trees that have established themselves on large boulders and mini forested areas. The Cannibal Cavern has a fascinating history and has been occupied by Bushmen in ancient times and more recently by refugees from the Shaka Zulu wars in the 19th century. Food was scarce for the refugees who eventually resorted to eating their dead to survive.” ” The hike takes about 5 hours over moderate terrain with some steep sections.” Well…. as I said, it took us 3 hours … the terrain was, I suppose, moderate but, holy moly, the steep sections were hectic!! We’ve done lots of steep sections on other hikes, but not continuously one after the other !!
If we had done it at my pace, taking more photographs than I actually did, we would have taken 5 hours !!! But I had to keep up with the group !!
Our second guide wasn’t with us very long as one of the woman felt dizzy and nearly tumbled downwards having lost her footing. He returned to the hotel with her. I must add at this point, that it’s always advisable to wear a hat, sunscreen and take water – even at this time of the year – especially on a warm day. In our small group, a dad and his daughter of 10 years old, didn’t have hats or water so I offered the young girl our water while we walked, leaving hubby and I with minuscule sips while she had mouthfuls!!!!!!! In summer you can replenish your water bottles with cold fresh mountain water .. not in winter when streams have dried up
A pair of Eland watched us closely as we climbed higher to the top of Surprise Ridge ..
From the top of Surprise Ridge looking down the other side towards the Amphitheatre .. an incredible view!!! The main Drakensberg range from the Amphitheatre to Cathkin Peak – needed my wide-angle lens to get it all in .. magnificent !!!
The small white dots in the valley is a village ..
On the other side … hard to believe we’d climbed so high!! Smoke is from controlled burning
No time to take in the views any longer .. onward and upward ..
Cannibal Cavern …
It’s huge !!!! Too vast to get the whole effect in one shot ..
A trickle of cascading water glistens in the sun ..
Ice cold mountain water drips from the rock and roots into a large yellow bucket for all to drink and replenish their water bottles. Yay .. our young fellow hiker drank to her hearts content !! … and so could we 😉
Soaking matted roots clinging to the rock ..
Looks like a small footprint in the rock !!
A shepherds cottage nestled under the overhang is used for shepherds who come over the mountain from Lesotho to retrieve their wandering animals ..
Time to leave ….
Rather tired feet when all was done !!!!
Drakensberg, KwaZulu Natal: June 2014