21/22 September 2002
On a sunny, breezy day, seven of us, set out from Swiman’s Hut under the leadership of Warwick. We swung around the grassy flank of the hills behind the house and enjoyed the view across Crystal Waters before bearing right into the hills high above the Hidden Valley.
Gradually we dropped down to the river and after about three hours walking we came to a magnificent pool perfect for swimming, but we all found the breeze a bit too cool to be tempted. We crossed the river and continued deeper into the valley. Just as the back markers were beginning to flag in the heat, Warwick found a cool shelter under an overhang, a refreshing spot to stop for lunch.
After lunch we turned back to Swiman’s with Warwick and Mike threatening to lead us up over the mountains on one of those favourite “short cuts”, but one look at their back markers convinced them it may not be a good idea today, and we all arrived safely “home”, where, to our dismay, we were NOT met by Bushy and Pat with hot tea and chocolate cake, this image having kept some of us going for the last hour.
In the evening Warwick made a great braai fire and Pat and Bushy redeemed themselves by producing strawberries and cream which, with Brenda’s apple pie elevated camping cuisine to a lovely high standard. We all enjoyed a super evening.
On Sunday, another glorious day, we began to climb up to Sleeping beauty Cave, which is at the top of a beautiful narrow valley, under Swiman Rock. After two hours walking we came to this enormous cave …. really awe inspiring which has the baby Umzimkulu tumbling through it and a breeze from the top, making the cave very cool.
We were very lucky that the thick mist which covered a large area of Natal that day only arrived in the mountains as we left the Underberg area ….. a really great weekend of hiking.