Midlands Hiking Club
Umgeni Valley Day hike
Howick
30 January 2011

Pictures and story by Dave Sclanders
(Additional photos following this report are by courtesy of Delveen Hollingworth)


“HATS OFF” and congratulations tl Libby for so ably leading her first day hike to the Umgeni Valley. 14 Eager club members and friends met at the Umgeni Valley Offices of WESSA to spend a day walking in the Umgeni Valley under the leadership of Libby. Views varied as to where we should walk, some suggested the Grassland walk, and others opted to stay on the high ground. A plan was made to do the Grassland walk in the morning, have lunch at the Indulo camp site, then those who wanted to, would do the Escarpment walk after lunch.



The Grassland walk was very pleasant, the paths were cut, the land was green and fresh. A pit stop was had at Cycad camp, then we headed of to the lower boundary. Ticks were plentiful in the grass, so at rest stops “ tick checks” were done



We enjoyed good animal sightings, including a number of Inyala just across the fence in the adjacent game area. The Wildebeest had a number of calves at foot, and as usual the giraffe wanted to see where we were going to.



On the way to lunch a bright Red bush of flowers was encountered just next to the path. The temperature was now getting on to near 30 degrees, and after missing the shortcut path, and a bit of bundu bashing, we reached our lunch stop at Indulo camp. Peter managed a short rest on one of the benches.



Then it was the long ,steep, hot climb out of the valley to the cars. Here the party split, some went home, and others set off at a brisk pace to do the Escarpment walk



A large specific area of the hill was covered with purple watsonias, quite a sight to see. Unfortunately they were a bit droopy due to the heat of the afternoon sun, Never the less a great show of colour on the hillside.



The views from the Escarpment walk are great, with the Umgeni Valley stretching far away to nowhere land. Albert Falls dam clearly seen far below. Then a time of contemplation, before heading off back to the cars and home. A great day was enjoyed by all early and late walkers. Just a tip , even if one is only planning to do a shorter walk, always take a little something to nibble on during the day. A short walk can turn into an interesting day walk, then hunger and weakening strength can spoil the day. Thanks to Libby for organizing and leading the day. We hope she will lead a lot more day walks for our club.

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The following photo set courtesy of Delveen Hollingworth



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