MHC - McKenzie's Cave Waterfall, Mkhomazi Nature Reserve, Central uKhahlamba Drakensberg
21 February 2021

Report and photos courtesy of Dave Sclanders (additional photos submitted by Libby Deysel)

[CLICK ON PHOTOS TO VIEW FULLSIZE - or view pics in accompanying SIMPLEVIEWER Presentation]



Mkhomazi is a very little visited Drakensberg Nature Reserve situated between Kamberg and Loteni on the Loteni road. The nature of the geography of this reserve is very broken and steep, with long steep inclines, high cliffs and steep, deep valleys. Magic waterfalls pop up all over the cliffs during the rainy season. The main attraction to this area is to overnight in McKenzie's Cave. A cave in a valley on the other side the highest ridge in the are. A brutish, no stop climb over a very short distance. On the way, if you know where to look, is a deep cliff hanger of a waterfall, which can be spectacular in the rains, and if you are not afraid of vertigo. From the office to the waterfall is just a hard slow pull, up and up and up. There is no break in the climb, and no shade. This waterfall was going to be our lunch spot, then down, down, down the same way to the cars. The sun did not adhere to the weather forecast for a cool overcast day, but came out all guns blazing, we were sweating as we waited to start at the car park.

With Social distancing in mind, and all the other rigmarole around Covid, We set of, by the time we had cleared the car park, Social Distancing was a thing of the past, the line was well spread out as the steep incline from start to lunch kept the fitter sort of up-ahead, there was a long tail grinding up the mountain side. This would continue for the rest of the morning. We crossed 2 streams where short rests were taken and fresh cool mountain stream water taken in. Then onwards and upwards.


FINALLY, the top of the falls was reached, by now the days temperature was sky high, the sky was blue, and a number of us had also "blown it". For the more hardy, a quick look down the sheer sides of the cliff we were on top of, then a great migration to different preferred lunch spots - trying to find shade where there was none. Hot sandwiches in the hot sun is not really very appetizing. Maybe sitting on a rock on the edge of the cliff was probably the coolest place to be, some cool wind and the occasional spray coming from the waterfall.


Some say there is often the feeling that someone is watching what you do, well here on the cliff top, a fleeting face in the rock called out "Well done you lot, a great achievement on such a hot day!"


Our lookout was trying to find a short cut back to the cars, "all that way Down !!!!!!". The one great secret and lesson of the mountains is - ONLY FOOLS LOOK FOR SHORTCUTS - if there is no path, DON’T GO!!


As we packed to leave, we looked up at the high Rock Cliffs above us, and were very thankful that we did not have to cross them today. If you go to McKenzie's one day, the path is over the crest!! @#^**++.


I had started with bad cramps as I stood up from lunch, it was a nightmare trip back, downhill all the way, causing more stress on my thighs than I could bear. Hiking sticks got me down to the car. A few others also had attacks of the cramps on the way down or at home that night, drinking water, and having some cramp or muscle relieving medication helps in these dire times.

Thanks to my hiking partners for being patient and understanding. Lesson here is for me, go back to a better First Aid box for myself. It is years since I last carried anti cramp medication.

These following 2 pictures taken some years ago will bring back to mind my story
on the McKenzie's Rinkhals, and how big these falls can be - quite spectacular - both pics.


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We are now heading the Autumn, and some of the best times to be in the berg. Look at your calendars and plan a few days in the berg in April/May. But while saying that, The weather forecast may not always be right, go prepared for anything, and enjoy the experience.
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Additional photos courtesy of Libby Deysel


Pic 24: "The largest mushroom in Mkhomazi"!
Pic 27: A zoom in on the eagle/vulture flying in the distance in pic 26

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