MHC – Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve
Howick
Central KZN
27 July 2014

Report & photos courtesy of Dave Sclanders



Keith a hike leader of the MHC and Margaret , were joined by 12 other club members to spend a day walking in the Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve, just out of Howick. The winters day was a brilliant day, clear, warm ready to be enjoyed.

After a short briefing about the days plans we set off on a well kept path to head down into the valley floor.



Pics 2,3,4 Walking on the highlands before plunging into the valley.

The Umgeni Valley is a very deep , steep sided valley through which the Umgeni River runs after plunging down the 95 meter Howick Falls at the head of the valley



Pics 5 , 6, The Umgeni river at the floor of the valley.
Pics 7,8 Going Down , the worst part is Coming Up at the end of the day.

At the bottom of the road, lies the Indulo Bush Camp. One of 3 Bush camps where people can overnight in very rustic conditions, and experience a truly real “get away from town life” for a while. There are dorms to sleep in , toilets, cold – sometimes hot showers , cooking and braai facilities, and absolute isolation. The first tea break was taken here.



Pics 9 – 14 Indulo Bush Camp – just waiting for you

As we carried on the road into the Grasslands area – where one has the best chance of seeing some wild animals – apart from those in your group, we passed Abseil Rock. Non of the group were ken to try, however, Neville, chairman of our club, decided leadership from the highest ranks should show some leadership, and he would climb the rock. In times gone by a chain attached to the top most point of the rock gave a good “helping hand” to would be climbers. The chain is long gone, and Neville, now committed , had to climb.



Pics 15 – 17 – Neville “going Up”, youth does have advantages
Pic 18 - Made it
Pic 19 - How do I get down ??
Pic 20 - Well, I needed some new shorts anyhow.!!!!!!!

A short while later we arrived at Cycad Bush Camp, where we had lunch. Probably one of the most used camp, very isolated, but comfortable .



Pics 21 – 25 - Lunch time - whose got what to eat ??

After a good lunch break , a little cold as the sun did not quite reach all spots in the camp, we set off for the low lying grasslands.



Pic 26 - A glimpse down into the grasslands
Pics 27 – 30 Zebra, Wildebeest and a lone Giraffe who was quite well camouflaged by the leafy background.

A few of us were lucky enough to spot 3 Inyala in thick bush not far from the road. The temperature in the valley bottom was quite comfortable , however walking here in summer can be a nightmare as temperatures can rise way above your comfort zone.

After a long walk pleasant walk along the river, it was time to put the legs and mind into 4 wheel drive and climb back up the steep valley to the cars high up on the road. The last few hundred meters is on a good path, making the climb look so easy.



Pic 31 - All so easy, just about there.

Thanks to Keith for a great day out.

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    BACK IN THE SWING OF THE MOUNTAINS




On 17 July 2014, thanks to Keith, Margaret, and Kevin, we spent a great day doing a recce hike at Highmoor in the Central berg , in anticipation of a hike that I want to lead on the 5 August. This was my first major walk in the berg since my 8th May 2014, Triple By Pass, Heart Operation, and then had to have a Heart Pacemaker put in.( see Newsletter 201)

My thanks to these guys for coming with me back into the berg, and a little way off the beaten track . It was a great day .

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