Giant’s Hut - Contour path to Langies Ridge
Giant’s Castle
Central Drakensberg
10 – 11 August 2013


Report & Photos courtesy of Dave Sclanders (www.bergfree.co.za)



Giant’s hut at Giants Castle was burnt down some many years ago, and at last work has started to re-build it. We had hoped that it would be ready by mid year, so I booked Giant’s hut and Bannerman’s hut for a 3 day hike. In the earlier days this was a favorite 3 day hike for many hikers. Hike from Giant’s main camp to either Bannerman’s Hut or Giant’s Hut, then walk the contour path to the next hut on day 2 , and day 3 back to the car. The scenery is incredible as hikers are hiking along the +- 2300 meter contour level ,with the 1000 meter high escarpment right there on the one side , and the huge long valleys and crests of mountain ridges running down the other side. Surely some of the best variety of views on can get on any 3 day hike in the berg. We had planned for the 3 day long week end , but as always, mountain weather must be taken into account on the day of the hike. The weather forecast was for a very wet and cold few days, with snow predictions. At 03h30 on Friday morning, with rain and thunder crashing around my home in Howick, I phone all the participants, and cancelled the Friday start. Instead we would walk 2 days - up to Giant’s Hut, overnight there, walk the contour path to Langalibalele Ridge on day 2 , and then down to the cars and home.

Saturday was cool , overcast, with some threaten of drizzle. However. We left the car park in good spirits, and due to the cold weather made good time up to Giant’s hut, where we arrived for lunch. We cleaned the hut and made room for 7 hikers, to sleep, while some opted to stay and relax at the hut, others went exploring up the one valley. With plenty of time to prepare a good supper, have a great “mountain hut candle light dinner and chat”, we were soon in bed. It was cold , very cold, and those with just a normal sleeping bag “felt a long cold night passing slowly by” . Good sleeping bags are essential in the winter , especially with the temperature dropping below zero.

Sunday broke bright and clear, and we were soon on our way. The contour path looks and sounds easy – you just walk along the contour. Not really, the path twists, follows back up the valleys on the contour, drops into , and out of numerous river gullies and stream , and long crest areas. The path seems to go on and on for ever. Bank on a good 7 hours to do this walk. We had lunch besides a good stream , and eventually reach the junction of the contour path , and the Langalibalele path. After a short rest , we took the long down hill way back to the camp, some 2 hours from the junction.

A great hike, and we hope that once Giant’s Hut is finally completed, that this will become the very favorite hike that it used to be in the past.



Pics 3 – 10 Going up Oribi Ridge – a long uphill pull along the crest of the ridge. The main fire break for the Giant’s area runs up this ridge.



Pic 11 The First Vulture Feeding Restaurant built in the berg. Long since disused due to the long walk to get to it.
Pic 12 A group of last years eland calves crossing the fire break.
Pic 13 The hut across the valley



Pic 14- 15 Getting water on the way to the hut.



Pic 16 – lunch time outside the hut
Pic 17 - Valley View
Pic 18 - Giants hut from above – note the tarn area below the hut , this only fills during the rains



Pic 19 – 21 - In the hut

Pic 22 – 34 - Views along the way >



Pic 27 - Giants Pass in the background



Pic 30 - Jarateng/ Jardines Passes area



Pic 32 - Langalibalele Pass


Pic 33 – Picture perfect Giant’s Castle massive


Pic 34 - Junction of the Contour Path and Langies Ridge path - GO DOWN YOUNG MAN – go down !!!!

Thanks to my hiking companions for a great week end. Let’s hope that more hikers will do this trip in the future.

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