McKenzie s Cave
7-8 March 2015
Report and photos by Dave Sclanders
[CLICK ON PHOTOS TO VIEW FULLSIZE - or view pics in accompanying SIMPLEVIEWER Presentation]
Pic 3 - part of a large herd of eland
Pic 4 10 - going up ???? !!!!
As the weather had started to look more threatening as we climbed, we decided not to have lunch on the way up, but to push through up and over the ridge, straight down to the cave in the next valley. On reaching the top, a rest break was needed, now we could see southwards for as far as one could see. The rain clouds had lifted, and to our right the high berg points of Lotheni were clearly visible Reddie Peak, The Tent and The Hawk.
Pic 11 - great views of the Southern Berg area.
We now headed off down to the cave.( On the 25 January 2004, I had hiked this same route, and as we dropped down to the valley bottom , had stood on , and disturbed a rather large Cobra. I was wondering if the Cobra was a territorial animal, and MIGHT???? still be around. When we got to the area of my last year s incident, I walked carefully looking into the grass, suddenly Tish gave a gasp , and when I looked around at her, she said a large cobra had reared up out of the grass not far from her. Advanced towards her with its hood open, then dropped down into the grass and disappeared. Maybe they are territorial?
Pic 12 - My 2004 Cobra encounter .
On arriving at the cave, sleeping places were sorted out, water fetched, tea made, and a little later we set off to explore the area.
Pic - 13 - 14
It must be explained that the McKenzie s cave is situated on a very high , steep sided ridge. All around are incredible views looking into the valleys far below, great, sharp steep cliffs race their way to the flat valley far below. The Lotheni road snakes and winds its way round the base of the cliff run outs , on its way to Lotheni , Vergeleegen and ultimately to Sani Pass. To the west, Lotheni Nature Reserve is the main valley into which we are looking into, with the high Lotheni range behind. From our vantage point we could see the heavy rain sheets beating down on the Lotheni area, moving towards us, then retreating back into the high mountains. So we were blessed with great views, and a promise of a great afternoon.
Pics 15 24 - Views from around the cliff tops.
Pic 25 - The Old protea , past his prime
We took the long way round, and finally made it back to the cave for afternoon tea, and little bit of Sunbathing at the cave entrance. Later we enjoyed a very tranquil sundown time
Pic 26 back home
Pic 27 Catch a mountain tan!
Pic 28 - Quiet mountain late afternoon.
Later , the rain did come, and with it an amazing wind which dried the grass so well, that by morning there was not enough moister in the grass to even dampen our boots.
If you snooze you loose. Early morning rise is a must if one wants to enjoy the sunrise from a vantage point above the cave
Pics 29 33 Sunrise
Pic 33 first hill to catch the sun.
( see Newsletter 46 , dated 20 January 2008. Another great sunrise from the same area)
After breakfast we headed east for a while to get more great views and angles of the high places, then took the path down home wards.
Pics 34 37 High and far away.
Now it was time to drop our altitude all the climbing we had done yesterday , would be reversed, and sometime you ask yourself, did I really come up here yesterday?
Pic 38 did we come up here yesterday.
We had a bit of time to stop at the waterfall. This great waterfall is quite spectacular when running high after a good rain, but was a bit low this time round.
Pic 39 - careful if you are a bit allergic to straight drops
Pic 40 - O K , that s quite steep !
Pic - 41 - On the edge
Pic 42 - O K , if I lie down I can get a better picture of the waterfall.
Pic 43 - Then carry on down till finally we reached the cars.
The wek end turned out to be great, the weather was kind to us, the views were incredible, and the mountains were still full of magnificent colour. There was plenty of time to enjoy the whole experience at a leisurely pace. So often we rush , to rush down, and all we can say is we were there !