18/19 January 2003


Warwick (Leader), Brenda, Campbell, Lorraine, Deneys, Arlene, Keith and Margaret  arrived at Loteni and erected tents.  Warwick then lead Keith, Campbell, Deneys and Margaret up the valley to find Ash Cave, leaving Brenda, Arlene and Lorraine to have a rest!    By 10:00 it was extremely hot.    We reached Mpophomeni Falls where Campbell and Deneys decided to return to camp.    


The intrepid/foolish three carried on uphill, the path rapidly petered out into bundu bashing up the valley, crossing the streams a few times.   There were lovely inviting pools backed by the Tent and Eagle Mountains in the distance.


By 13:00 we were all very hot, Margaret feeling her face would burst.   We found and sheltered under an overhang to have lunch over-looking a magnificent waterfall.


With the clouds building up it was decided not to continue to the cave which could only have been ±30 minutes away.   It looked very black in the direction of the camp site.   On the return journey a welcome swim was had in a pool we had passed earlier, arriving back at camp at 17:15.   Meanwhile the others had been watching a juvenile Black Shouldered Kite eat a huge rat, too full to move when it was finished.


Thankfully the storm passed over, only a few drops of rain falling on the camp, so the braai went ahead as planned.   After dark we all lined up theatre style to watch a spectacular light and sound show courtesy of the storm going on across the hills towards Mkhomasi.


Sunday morning dawned very hot with everyone awake early due to the chirping of the Cape Weavers in their nests in the tree above.   By 08:00 we were ready to walk.   All got in the bakkies as far as the office (2 km) where we waited while Campbell and Warwick took the bakkies to the “Cool Pools” car park and left Campbell’s vehicle there ready for the return journey.


We then set off for Jacob’s Ladder, a spectacular series of waterfalls.   The Falls viewed we returned to cross the river (most of us with tender bare feet having neglected to bring strops) to get to “Cool Pools” where we had a lovely dip before walking to Campbell’s vehicle where all eight of us piled in.


After a convivial lunch it was time to dismantle the tents and wend our way home which was just as well as Warwick and Keith were almost attacked by what Warwick thought was a Rinkhals but on further reflection could have been a skaapsteker.  Thank you all for a lovely week-end.       


Margaret Ashton