30 September 2012
Report by Peter Rippon
Photos by John Fourie and Peter Rippon (Click on photos to enlarge)
Pic 1 Ready to depart from Satori Lodge (photo: John)
We started off downhill across veld, then up and through a patch of indigenous forest. We traversed the side of a hill and began working our way upwards. The dogs were impatient with our pace and shot up and down the hillside, even taunting a lone donkey into giving chase.
Pic 2 Traversing the hillside. Nhlazane mountain on the other side of the valley (photo: John)
Our climb grew ever steeper and the group spread out as the more energetic members took the climb in their stride, while others required a slower pace and more rest stops. It was soon evident that the Grade 1 difficulty that had been attributed to this hike was somewhat underestimated.
Pic 3 The climb gets steeper (photo: Peter)
However, everyone persevered in good spirits and the views across the valley as we climbed were spectacular. We were in no rush as we had plenty of time to reach the top of the hill (or is it mountain?) and return in time for lunch that at the lodge.
Pic 4 The view on the way up (photo: Peter)
Pic 5 The peak in sight (photo: Peter)
Pic 6 The first members of the group at the top (photo: Peter)
We finally reached the top, where we relaxed and had our snacks, with all of the Midlands opening up beneath us.
Pics 7-14 Relaxing and enjoying the views at the top (photos 7-9 & 11-14: John; photo 10: Peter)
Pic 15 The last of the group arriving, with the view of the Rainbow Lakes behind them (photo: John)
From the other side of the hilltop we could see the Drakensberg in the distance, and some of the more experienced hikers pointed out the different ranges and peaks.
Pics 16-17 The Drakensberg in the distance (photos: Peter)
While some of the group relaxed, others pushed a bit further till they came to the cliff faces on the other side of the hill and could go no further.
Pic 18 Going a bit further (photo: Peter)
Pic 19 As far as we can go (photo: John)
Pic 20 Rocky cliff face (photo: Peter)
Then it was time to head back down the hill, inspired by the thoughts of the lunch awaiting us. We came down by a different route causing some debate amongst those familiar with the area which proved to be a steeper and more difficult climb than the route up.
Pic 21 Starting back (photo: Peter) Pic 22 Rainbow Lakes again (photo: Peter)
One last steep hill and we arrived back at the lodge where lunch was served, with fresh spring water to quench our thirst.
Pic 23 Steep climb down, almost back at Satori Lodge (photo: Peter)