Incredible “Sherry Cave”
Southern uKhahlamba Drakensberg
17 - 18 March 2012
Report & Photos courtesy of Dave Sclanders
Keith , and experienced leader of the Midlands Hiking Club was leading another hike to Sherry Cave in the S. Drakensberg. As this cave was far from water , with a very steep climb from the closest stream, and a very narrow, precarious entrance to the sleeping area – a narrow eroded area in the rock face, not many people hike to this cave. However the views are worth the effort . Just remember – when ever we say views – there is one condition to this statement - one over which we have no control – the WEATHER , under the command of “ Mother Nature”
Our 2 day hike started in good weather – cool , bright sunlight, with great views all the way up to our lunch place . A cool sheltered place , right on the stream from which we would fill our overnight waterbags – an extra 5 liters or an extra 5 kilograms to be put in your back pack, and carried up to the cave
After lunch , we climbed up and up until the summit was reached , and a well earned rest was taken
Some still had the energy to do a “Victory Jig Dance” at the summit.
Then it was down the other side , gown the gully that led to the steep rock face that housed our nights accommodation.
Once we were in , it was time to find a place to unpack, get the stoves out and boil a cup of tea, check the view , and have a relaxing chat.
After tea , 2 of us decided to walk around to the other side of the valley, and look at view that was hidden to us from the cave side. As we looked back into the cave, a mist suddenly rose from the valley , and rose with incredible swiftness , within 5 minutes the whole area was blanketed in a thick mist , that cut all visibility , and was so wet and thick that we had to sleep under our groundsheets to keep dry. It only cleared after 06h20 next day.
Another stark reminder that one should always be aware of exactly where you are in the berg , and exactly where you are heading. Hikers not knowing the area would have had to sleep out in the open without tents, as it would have been impossible to find this cave in the thick misty conditions of the time.
We awoke early , with a thick mist still covering the area, then suddenly the “Elephant” appeared – probably got lost in the mist)
Then we enjoyed the most amazing views as the mist settled back into the valley below
The early cave leavers had just reached the summit of the hill , when a White Rainbow appeared just above us – 2 pots of Gold just a short distance apart.
As the rest of the hikers struggled up the out of the still misty valley , the rainbow disappeared , then came back
Then the whole area cleared, exposing a great Sandstone Rock standing proudly on the horizon
But today was not to be the day we were hoping for. As we climbed to get to the top of the valley that would lead us down to our way home , the mist rolled in again , and to stay with us until well into mid day. All hope of seeing the scenery around us was dashed. For those who had never been here before , they will have to come back to enjoy the great beauty of the area.
We found the rock shelter that we were hoping to find
Then set off again into the thick mist , to find the path home. Miss this thin , grass and mist covered path , and you don’t get home. Knowledge, and experience of the area will get you home, thick mist and maps won’t. Take care! – go deep into the mountains with someone who knows.
Later the sun did come out, so a longer break was taken , and some nourishment enjoyed. Thanks to Keith and Margaret for their expert knowledge of the area.
As we passed a tree in the very thick, wet mist, a sudden fluttering in the bush caught my eye. On closer inspection , a very wet and bedraggled Dragon Fly was seen holding it’s very wet wings out to dry.
A great week ends hiking, with so many surprises – Nature is Incredible , but go with care into her realm.