This hike replaced a planned weekend in the Bulwer area which had to be postponed by Dave Sclanders.
The Cumberland Nature Reserve is run by John & Stella Behn assisted by their son Garry & it is a delightful area covering about 400 hectares which is very close to Pietermaritzburg.
The day entrance fee is R5 per person (fees deposited in an honesty box) & camping costs R20 per person which includes the entrance fee.
Campsite facilities consist of two toilets, two washbasins & two showers as well as braai facilities & a place for a fire circled by stones. Wood is provided nearby. A hut can also be reserved for R60 per person per night.
It was a bit misty as the Howick/Hilton contingent left for the reserve but it was a beautiful day on arrival. Several of us, Warwick, Brenda, Aris, Peter, Erica, Martin, Margaret & Keith arrived at the reserve early & proceeded through the entrance gate & initially parked near the honesty box.
After waiting quite a while for other members to arrive we continued on to the campsite to inspect the facilities. As no other members arrived we eight started our hike (however due to an oversight by the Chairman four other members were waiting patiently at the entrance gate – where the Chairman had said we should meet – I apologise to Pat & Bushy & Noel & Morris for this oversight – other leaders please note).
There are several lovely picnic sites in the reserve complete with braai facilities & even toilets.
Quite a lot of game can be seen in the reserve as well as many birds.
Trails lead off in several directions (there are trail markings) & both small & large waterfalls can be visited.
We continued to the highest point in the reserve which is the Krans where magnificent views can be seen looking down to the Umgeni River. From this vantage point the junction of the Rietspruit stream & the Umgeni river is visible.
Lunch was enjoyed at a nearby vantage point in the shade of some lovely trees with eagles soaring overhead.
The eight of us finally met up with the other four back at the campsite where the Chairman got a verbal roasting for not waiting at the entrance gate, however after some liquid refreshments & swapping of stories, hopefully all was forgiven.
Cumberland Nature Reserve would be an ideal spot for a club social braai or even a Saturday easy walk followed by a social braai, especially as the reserve is so close to Pietermaritzburg.
It can be reached easily by taking the road towards Bishopstowe & then towards Table Mountain but later pass the Table Mountain turn-off & take the left turn along the D408 for about 7km.