10-11 February 2007
Photographs submitted by Irene Wisdom followed by two different perspective write-ups of the White's Cave weekend. Brian Checkley's write-up is a factual account & the other is emotional thoughts from new member Petro Mostert who was enthralled by the hike & she sent her delightful write-up.
Bushman’s paintings at Painters Cave
Arriving at Whytes Cave
Waterfall at Whytes Cave
Dressing antics – at Whytes Cave
Leaving Whytes Cave
Bushmen’s Paintings – White Horse Cave
View from White Horse Cave
BACKPACKING WEEKEND TO WHYTE’S CAVE – 10 –11 FEB 07
Our group of 10 met at Bushman’s Nek KZN Wildlife base for the hike led by Graham Cullinan. In our group were Grethe, Keith & Margaret, Irene, Howard, Andrew, Cornelius, Petra & Brian. We set off at about 08h30, in the reverse direction along the Giant’s Cup Trail from Bushman’s Nek, climbing steadily until we reached Painters Cave (named after the many Bushman paintings) & then had lunch. After lunch was a steep climb (quite a pull) & then down to White Horse Cave (again named after the paintings). The day was very hot as we made our way along the contours to Whyte’s Cave. Here we had very comfortable sleeping areas & we were also able to appreciate the waterfall & cool pool close to the cave, after the very hot day.
The evening’s entertainment came from Margaret with her rendition of “The Lion & Albert”.
After a nights sleep & breakfast we departed back along the contours & then cut across the valley, bypassing Painters Cave & eventually down to Langalibalele Cave (with more paintings) where we had lunch. The day was much cooler than Saturday & we appreciated the coolness. A good variety of Bushman paintings were observed & appreciated in three of the caves we visited. The outward distance on the Saturday was about 9.8 km & our return hike on the Sunday was about 10.5 km. Thanks Graham for your excellent leadership & for a great weekend in the outdoors.
Bushman’s Nek – White’s Cave Hike 9-11 Feb 2007 (Emotional thoughts)
Before you begin your reading……… please note that I start and end my story, as I did the hike, with a smile ;>) hoping the grinding and groan on route were not that obvious…………;>) A big thank you towards a great hike leader and his patient team for dragging me along this weekend………. ;>) and applause to my husband for his ever lingering concern and care (sorry ladies, I saw him first……;>)
The story from the horse’s mouth………… that is, if the donkey thinks it is a zebra or a hiker from Gangster’s Paradise innocently ;>) joining the Banana Boys in the mountains you know where we come from, we think a weekend backpack hike, means following the white footprints on Saturday and the yellow footprints on Sunday…………. I mean, that now, anybody can do………..;>) Look, all was familiar to hiking for me up to where the decision was made to step off the path into the great unknown …………. with 50/50 difficult options that now, as far as the Drakensberg inexperienced (read : I am ….) is concerned as to which interesting “ little” challenge shall we take today? straight up this little hill ? or crab wise contouring around that little bend ? until only the “little” inexperienced is a “little” tired………;>)
Amazing how all these similar looking hills all around me, can have different names and more ! amazing how these people just follow their noses or so it seemed to me……. And whoops ! there we’re having lunch in the shade of an overhang full of age old rock paintings as easy to them as if we were strolling through their back gardens and all that went through my mind is how did we get there ? and how are we going to get where we’re supposed to be going……….;>)
Slept in caves before, yes, but surely not in one with the hospitality of the shower running non stop just in case the visitors feel like a quick freshening up in the heat of the night…….. Must say I’d donate my half of the Salami to anyone tough enough to brave that waterfall straight from a warm sleeping bag in the middle of the night my fresh, clean sleeping bag versus a day’s sweat, the only motivation for me to enter ! Only afterwards we were informed that we really are spoilt to have our first overnight in a Drakensberg cave, been in Whyte’s cave. Private rooms and even the beds were made when we arrived !
Yours truly had to create some excitement on day 2, doing a quick off road summersault, head over heels backpack and all but graciously overruled by the fastest jump any fully loaded hiker could ever perform, and then so tenderly nursed back on the feet that only a husband’s loving care can do !
Yip ! that’s what hiking is all about a good hike leader a friendly bunch of people a good sweat for spectacular views a good lunch spot and something nice to eat sweet mountain streams to drink from and a good place to drop your weary body for the night.
And if you are in the top margin of blessed people to be able to have all of this you could call yourself a very very happy person. Thank you Midlands Hiking Club !