Photo from "Another Absolutely Amazing Ashton Adventure" taken on a hike from the Drakensberg Gardens Cottage. See Rose Dix's report and more of Keith's pics at: Blinkwater Trail


The Blinkwater Trail seems to be quite a gem of a hiking trail, largely unreported by the MHC, that was until Katy Hart went on the trail, her fascinating report includes this photo of what she calls Enid Blyton's "faraway tree". See Katy's report at: Blinkwater Trail


Another "tradition" that MHC follows is an annual pilgrimage to see the wild Clivia on the way to Grey mare's Tail Falls at Bushwillow Park, undaunted by the wet and slippery conditions this dedicated team of hikers led by Neville went to see the Clivias. See Neville's report on this hike at: Grey Mare's Tail Falls


From Dave Sclanders Nhlosane hike report: "There is a sort of a tradition that is expected of those whole do reach the beacon at the top of the mountain, and that is that maybe you should leave a piece of your underwear tied onto the beacon. As a few of our party had disappeared from time to time, just as we were ready to start the downhill part, the question was asked "Who had left some underwear on the beacon ??. The response was surprising, hands shot up all from all around the group". Personally I suspect the photographer was asking "who has had enough of this weather and wants to go back down now?" See Dave's full report on this hike at: Satori to Nhlosane


This is one of a series of photos, taken from a Keith Ashton "AMAZING ADVENTURE" launched from the Drakensberg Gardens Cottage, it is all about framing the moment. See Rose Dix's full report on this hike together with Keith Ashton's photos at: Drakensberg Gardens Cottage - Mid Week


For June I move away from the Berg to Boulder Dam at Ferncliffe, Pietermaritzburg, my picture shows hikers setting off on this hike into the still rising sun, the experience of the hike lies still ahead. See my (Rod Hart) photoset of this interesting hike led by Julia Preese : Boulder Dam


Keith's photo, besides being imaginative, shows another aspect of the beauty of the Berg as well as something of the camaraderie of the hiking club. See Rose Dix's full report on this hike together with Keith Ashton's photos at: Drakensberg Gardens Cottage


On pure marketing appeal the April photo of the month has to go to Katy's "I love hiking". This photo taken on the hike to Aasvoelkrans cave. You can ask Katy Hart about the full story behind finding heart-shaped stones in the Berg! See Katy's full report at: Aasvoelkrans Cave

MARCH 2016: "Watching the Weather Brew"

The fascinating thing about the high Berg is that you can literally watch the weather brewing up - not so good is that you have little chance of out running it. This photo from Keith Ashton's set taken on the hike to Wonder Valley. See Keith's full report at: Wonder Valley

FEBRUARY 2016: "Red Hot Pokers and Bees"

This photo snapped by new member Rose Smith while on the Cedara morning hike led by Brian Henwood. See more of Rose's pics at: Cedara Morning Hike

JANUARY 2016: "Holding up the rock - quick hurry past!"

'Holding up the rock' is one of the fun photos from Keith Ashton's report on their trip to McKenzies Cave. See Keith's full report at: McKenzies Cave report

DECEMBER 2015: "A Trail of Hikers"

A 'Trail of Hikers' in Dave Sclanders photo from the December/January hike at Bushman's Nek. See Dave's full report at: Bushman's Nek report

NOVEMBER 2015: "Baynesfield Dam"

Peace and Tranquility, in Katy Hart's photo from the Baynesfield Dam hike. See Katy's full report at: Baynesfield report

OCTOBER 2015: "View from White Horse Cave"

What a view - this photo from the adventurous hike led by Keith Ashton, over the weekend visiting 5 caves in the Bushman's Nek area. See the full report at: Five Cave Weekend

SEPTEMBER 2015: "Along the Way"

Between the hikes led by Deon to Marble Baths and Neville's misty hike to Grey Mare's Tail Falls, I was spoiled for selection for this month's photo choice. I have opted to showcase what can be seen "along the way" by the astute hiker who takes time to view some of the smaller things along the route, together with a photo looking back at the trail from Marble Baths Cave. These pics were selected from the photosets supplied by Deon (Protea), Katy (White flower, and trail) and Charlie (Ladybug): Their respective full photosets are filled with great photos from the Marble Baths Cave hike and can be viewed at: Deon; Katy; Charlie

AUGUST 2015: "Nguni Bull"

Not only do we share tracks with the wild, but in August the Club, thanks to Penny Purchase who also took this photo, was privileged to walk on the private Michaelhouse Conservatory, and walk among their herd of Nguni cattle. See the full report at: Michaelhouse Nature Reserve

JULY 2015: "Wildebeest"

From Keith's UMGENI VALLEY hike - how privileged we are to be able, half-an-hour outside of our City, to be able to share tracks in this beautiful Umgeni Valley with the Wildebeest. See the full report at: Umgeni Valley

JUNE 2015: "Cathkin Mirror"

In his Makulumane report Alistair Nixon describes the view back towards Cathkin as "... stunning, probably one of the best." His photo of Cathkin mirrored in the water gives an idea of what he is talking about. See the full report at: Makulumane

MAY 2015: "Misty View"

Dave Sclanders captured this photo and describes the scene "...we climbed higher, and came to a point, where as the mist swirled an twisted and turned, we could get some views of the valleys and lakes below us. Most awesome of all, across the valleys from us, the dancing grey veil of mist threw us glimpses of the most incredible subtle views of the valleys and high berg beyond." See the full Photoset at: Lakes Cave

APRIL 2015: "Valleys"

Dave Sclanders stands above a valley on an "explaratory hike" one of many such hikes that Dave undertakes in search of new hikes (and elusive caves...)for the club. See the full Photoset at: Highmoor Exploratory Hike

MARCH 2015: "Ouch!"

We are spoilt for choice to select for this months photo, with good photosets coming in from Gilboa, Adamshurst and McKenzies hikes, so I opted for the accompanying imaginative "one of a kind" pic from Katy & Charlies's photoset of the McKenzies hike. See the full Photoset at: McKenzie's Cave


Dave Sclanders photo of hikers setting out early to Whyte's Cave captures a sense of exploration and expectency with this pic - a world of adventure awaits the hikers. See the full Photoset at: Whyte's Cave


From Charlie Guiot, a vicious looking little spider (Long-winged kite spider - Gasteracantha versicolor) spotted along the way of the Dwarf's Dawdle hike at Umgeni valley, in spite of its looks this spider's bite is generally described as "harmless" . See the Dwarf's Dawdle hike full Photoset at: Dwarf's Dawdle


Keith Ashton's photo from inside this amazing cave (with en suite shower). See the full Photoset at: New Year at Aasvoelkrans Cave


Dave Sclanders describes the scene: "shadowy blue/grey mountain tops of Cathkin and Champagne venture out above a blanket of low cloud". See the full Photoset at: Stable Cave


From Charlie Guiot & Katy Hart's photoset this worn track to Bannerman's Hut stretching far into this distance; as with last month's photo means "lots of ground to be covered" and in this case it better also be quickly before the clouds in the background let loose their vegeance. See the full Photoset at: Bannerman's Hut


Alistair's photo of the Giant's Cup in the distance captures the layers so often seen in the Burg, the rough texture of the foreground layers smoothing out as the eye is led into the distance - for the hiker this means "lots of ground to be covered"!. See Alistair Nixon's report at: Cobham Weekend Camp

AUGUST 2014: "iNhlosane"

Always a sense of achievement in gathering around the trig beacon on top of iNhlosane. The beacon itself has suffered a bit from graffiti since last appearing as the Photo of the Month in February 2007. See Daves's report at: iNhlosane


Magical morning light streaming through the trees in this gum tree plantation. Photographer Peter Rippon writes "...not sure if it was mist, smoke, or dust, but the effect is just as beautiful regardless." See Peter's report at: CEDARA


From of Katy Hart & Charlie Guiot's sets of photos from the T.O.STRAND long weekend camp - what an interesting time they had, organised by Bushy Kirby. See Katy's report at: T.O.STRAND There are also three photosets with over 100 photos - access them via the Newsletters page, look under June 2014 reports.


Another magnificent panoramic view - you will have to climb to the top of BULWER MOUNTAIN to see this one. From the hike led by this pics photographer Brian Henwood. See the full report & photos from this hike at: Bulwer Mountain Hike.


I have "lifted" this photo from the exploratory hike led by Dave Sclanders - the hike on which he suffered a heart attack - his report on the hike and his subsequent recovery makes interesting reading. See Dave's report & more photos from this hike at: Lost Valley.


View from the trail on the Lammergeier Cave hike taken from Katy Hart & Charlie Guiot's photoset captures the photographer lining up his shot of the magnificent panorama below. See the full all the photosets from this hike at: �Katy Hart & Charlie Guiot Photoset� or �Dave Sclanders Report & photos�


With Dave Sclanders, Irene Wisdom, Charlie Guiot, & Katy Hart all on the same hike we were bound to be spoilt for choice of photos for February. The pic I have selected shows the magnificence of camping out in "the Berg" - this is the early morning view from Sherry Cave taken from Katy Hart & Charlie Guiot's photoset. See the full all the photosets from this hike at: �Katy Hart & Charlie Guiot Photoset 1� �Katy Hart & Charlie Guiot Photoset 2� �Dave Sclanders Photoset� �Irene Wisdom Photoset�


Hiker taking a swim in the waterfall alongside Aasvoelkrans Cave provides a powerful picture photographed by Dave Sclanders. See the full report at: �New Years Hike Aasvoelskranz�.


An alien looking growth found below Beacon Hill on the pre-Xmas Party hike, spotted and photographed by Rod Hart. The smelly brown spore-bearing slime on top of the fungus attracts flies which serve to spread the spores. See the full report at: �Beacon Hill pre-Xmas Party Hike�.


Well not actually weaving, but taking a break to swing on the frame of his "in construction" nest, photographed by Charlie Guiot along the banks of the Umgeni river on the Howick Meander hike. See the full report at: �Howick Meander�.


Among the first plants to flower in Spring the "Brilliant crimson flowers of Helichrysum vernum" photographed on the Baynesfield Hike by Rod Hart. See the full report at: �Baynesfield�.


Clivia are described as "typically forest undergrowth plants, adapted to low light" they are native to Southern Africa it is not all that often we come across them in the wild, certainly not in the expanses that they can be found in on this Grey Mare's Tail Falls hike. This photo of a single cluster of Clivia flowers was taken by Rod Hart. See the full report at: �Grey Mare's Tail Falls�.


This tranquil morning photo supplied by one of the hikers on the Whale Trail that Neville Lee participated in. See the full SimpleViewer photoset at: �Montebello�.


Photo supplied by Keith Ashton from the Rocky Bay Camp. I love the contrast between the Black Oytercatcher and the brilliant white surf behind her in this photo. See the full report at: �Rocky Bay�.


This photo was taken by Brian Henwood during a "spectacular hike on the edge of Mqeku river valley"led by Bushy Kirby. See the full report at: �Montebello�.


On (yet another) exploration into the Central Drakensberg to look for the so called "Lost Cave" Dave Sclanders describes getting up early to watch the sunrise over the mountains - resulting in this stunning photo. See the full report at: �Lost Cave Exploration�.


"The Kamberg valley is a beautiful farming valley, and at this time of year the Autumn colours of the trees are beautiful, and the red lands being prepared for winter feed are a stark contrast" so Dave Sclanders describes his photo taken on his way to the Highmoor Tenting Weekend. See the full report at: �Highmoor Tenting Weekend�.


From a misty wet walk to "somewhere near the top of Bulwer mountain" the lesson here is that it is wiser and safer to turn and retrace your steps rather than continue blindly - here we follow that sage advice and make our way back. Rod Hart pauses to get this photo as we pass a protea. See the full report at: �Bulwer Mountain Hike�.


From one of our most reported on caves, Cyprus Cave, Charlie Guiot's photo captures the view from inside the cave through a curtain of water. See the full SimpleViewer set of 50 pics at: �Cyprus Cave�.


From the Giant's Castle Hut, tenting weekend hike, Dave Sclanders finds a posy of wildflowers. See more of the flower pics in the full hike report at: �Giant's Castle Hut�.


From our last hike of the year Brian Henwood leads as members stride out along the path in the Hilton College Conservancy trail to Gwen Falls. See more of my pics from the Hilton College Conservancy Hike at: �Gwen Falls Hike�.


Some words of advise from Dave Sclanders on the Bushmans Nek hike "...the climb became steeper and quite an effort for the not so fit hikers. The scenery was very pretty. If one could spend some time dwelling on this changing scenery, and not where the badly overgrown path was leading, the climb was very rewarding" See more of Dave's pics from the Bushmans Nek Hike at: �Bushmans Nek Hike�.


We so often feature Dave Sclanders photographs and highlight his reports, it is about time he in turn is shown. Here MHC newby hiker, Kate Hart, captures "the old Man of the Mountain" huddled under his brolly on the Everdon Estates Hike. See more of Kates pics from the Everdon Estates Hike at: �Everdon Estates Hike�.


On a hike from Sehlabathebe Lodge, Dave Sclanders describes the scene when this magical picture of a tarn was taken: "the ever changing views as the mist lifted, rolled here and there, then finally settled over the lowlands of KZN, we had plenty to take our minds off the hard climb" See Dave Sclanders full report and pics at: �Clear, Cool Sehlabathebe Lodge�.


In the middle of no where, on a bleak and wind swept open plateau, the remains of a long forgotten border post of the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho. See Dave Sclanders full report and pics at: �Windy, Snowy, Bleak Tarn Cave�.


During the June Boston T Party Weekend Keith Ashton captured this pic of "Harry at half-mast" the caption alone entitles it to this Photo of the Month spot. Keith's full report and more pics are at: �BOSTON T PARTY�.


Irene Wisdom captures the glorious golden morning colours before the start of the CANNIBAL TRAIL at Clarens. See more of Irenes pics at: �CANNIBAL TRAIL�.


Lettie Oosthuizen is a keen hiker and her reports are filled with interesting photos providing comprehensive overviews of the hikes she reports on - great records for future hikers to view. Here Lettie's photographic endeavors are watched by a curious little lizard. See Lettie's full report on this particular hike at: �CYPRUS CAVE�.


Quoting Dave Sclanders again: "As we passed a tree in the very thick, wet mist, a sudden fluttering in the bush caught my eye. On closer inspection , a very wet and bedraggled Dragon Fly was seen holding it�s very wet wings out to dry". See Dave's full report at: �SHERRY CAVE�.


To quote Dave Sclanders whose photo this is "There can be no better feeling than walking through the great mountain spaces and enjoying a view that starts at your feet, and runs uninterrupted for as far as one can see". See Dave's full report at: �SINCLAIRS�.


Photo of Chris & Brigitta at the Mzimkhulu River by Keith Ashton to me is a classic "take home to remember" portrait in the Berg. See the full report at: �GARDEN CASTLE WEEKEND�.


Different type of subject matter for this photo of the month, taken by Rod Hart (me), the eerily derelict St. Mary's Seminary built by the Trapist monks in 1928. See the full report at: �DLANGALE�.


Keith Ashton's photo of 9yr old hiker "Mishy" on the Bridge with Champagne Castle, Monks Cowl and Catkin Peak in the background. See the full report at: �WONDER VALLEY�.


Photo of this stunning field of flowers sent in by Brian Henwood from a hike at Didema. See more of the flower pics at: �DIDEMA�.


Photo submitted by John Fourie from an "exploratory" hike seeking out an "alleged secret cave" . See John's full report at: �NDLOVINI�.


Photo submitted by Keith Ashton. We don't often get snow scenes from the Berg. In his report Keith describes this as a spectacular hike despite the harsh conditions as they braved the bitter cold and deep snow. See the full report at: �SWIMAN HUT�.


Photo submitted by Irene Wisdom but since she is the subject I assume the pic was taken by either Mark or Keith. Photo captures the relaxation after a hard hike, this is what hikers come to the Berg for, though a little too close to the edge for my liking. See the full report at: �SHERRY CAVE�.


Photo submitted with Margret Kirsten's report, it most likely taken by Keith Ashton. The photo captures in one shot the grand scale of the rocks in the region of Engagement Cave. See the full report at: �DRAKENSBERG GARDENS, SWIMAN HUT�.


Photo by Dave Sclanders. From an exploration hike to the high Indlovini Ridge, this worthwhile view of the deep and spreading valleys. See Dave's full report at: �COBHAM TENTING WEEKEND�.


Sent in by Irene Wisdom this pic epitomises some experiences of their Strandlooper Trail. See the full report at: �STRANDLOOPER TRAIL�.

MARCH 2011: Sunrise at Whytes Cave

As Dave Sclanders describes it "...with an exciting expectation of a special sunrise, a few of us awoke a bit earlier than the rest, and made our way up to the vantage point from where an un-interrupted view of the sunrise could be enjoyed." See his full report at: �Whytes Cave�.

FEBRUARY 2011: Lake Lyndhurst

Beautiful colours and tranquility captured in Mary Clover's photo taken at Lake Lyndhurst. See the full report at: �Lake Lyndhurst�.

JANUARY 2011: Little Bug

January's photo of the month goes to Deveen Hollingworth's little bug photo for noticing the smaller things along a hike and sharing it with us. See the full report at: �Umgeni Valley Hike�.

DECEMBER 2010: Nandi Falls

Mary Clover's nicely positioned and framed photo of Nadi Falls with the hiking group sheltering behind the falls. See the full report at: �Makukumane Weekend�.

NOVEMBER 2010: Christie must take a closer look

Chris Simpson is to be congratulated on his framing and quick eye to capture this pic. See the full report at: �Sweetwaters Cotage Weekend�.

SEPTEMBER 2010: Highmoor

Tucked away in the Berg is this remnant shell of a cottage, sturdy and with a panoramic view over the valley - but with no close source of water. One can only marvel at the dreams that must have inspired the building of this little home in the Berg. Pic by Dave Sclanders see the full report at:�Club weekend at Maountain Shadows�.

JULY 2010: Tarn Cave

From a number of photos submitted by Irene Wisdom of the Tarn Cave weekend I have selected her pic of Keith standing, somewhat defiantly on crutches, against the rugged backdrop of the Devil's Knuckles. See all the pics at �Weekend Hike to Tarn Cave�. (Click on the photo to give an enlarged image)

MAY 2008: Ride To Rhodes

My favourite of all the wonderful scenic photos provided by Brian Henwood is this scene of the bikers in the tranquil rural environment they often travelled through with foreboding mountain climbs providing the backdrop. Report is at �Ride to Rhodes�. (Click on the photo to give an enlarged image)

MARCH 2008: Dinosaur Cave

What intrigues me about this photo of water cascading over Dinosaur Cave are the sharp contrasts and whiteness of the water giving a rather sinister appearance, Dave Sclanders describes the scene "Water casscades over the cave area and provides a freezing shower (took my breath away as I stood beneath it)" been out in the mountains a bit long I think... Report is at �Dinosaur Cave�. (Click on the photo to give an enlarged image)

JANUARY 2008: New Years Eve

Classic pic of our own Keith & Margaret Ashton celebrating New Years Eve in a cave in the Berg! Photo by Dave Sclanders. Report is at �New Years Eve in A Cave in the Drakensberg�. (Click on the photo to give an enlarged image)


Difficult to select one photo from the fine selection submitted for reports published in November so I have chosen three and will let you, the viewer, decide how you would rate them! First is Brian Henwood's "Picture Postcard" shot from Cobham see the report at Bikers and Scenic Shots. Second is Irene Wisdom's own "Picture Postcard"shot taken while on the way back from a weekend stay at "Sweetwaters" see this report at Sweetwaters. Thirdly Dave Sclanders had been trying out the close up features on his new camera when he had the perception to capture this angle of a dew laden protea, report (and more of Dave's flower pix) at Wonder Valley.(Click on the photos to give an enlarged image)

OCTOBER 2007: 3 Hippo

From the Oct 2007 report submitted by Keith Ashton of the June 2007 Kosi Bay trail. Upriver at St Lucia , Keith captured this spectacular pic of 2 adult Hippo with baby trying to get in on the act. (Click on the photo to give an enlarged image)

SEPT 2007: Hikers on the beach

From the Sept 2007 report by Mark & Mary Nellist: Kwelapha Cottage, this photo of the foottrails of four hikers walking along the beach towards Rocky Bay. Mildly disturbing the symmetry of the pattern is a partial set of prints which appears to join the third persons tracks - see of you can work it out! (Click on the photo to give an enlarged image)

MAY 2007: Tarn Cave - Devil's Knuckles framed

Irene Wisdom has a great eye for framing her scenes - have a look at her photos in these two reports. From the March 2007 Report: Tarn Cave and from February 2007 Report: Whytes Cave. Petro Mostert's delightful writeup of the Whytes Cave weekend is in May's Newsletter

APRIL 2007: The awesome descent down Bannermans Pass

Submitted by Keith Ashton,this photo showing the wet and misty conditions during the MHC Re-Supply Team's descent down Bannermans Pass. From the April 2007 Report: Grand Traverse Re-Supply

MARCH 2007: Peter Wedge nearing Austrian Hut (Mt Kenya)

Submitted by Allison Gunning, though I am not certain who the photo credit belongs to, this picture of Peter Wedge nearing Austrian Hut at 4700m on the Mt Kenya climb tells the story of the high altitude weariness. From the March 2007 Report: Climbing Mt.Kenya

FEBRUARY 2007: Nhlazane

Submitted by Brian Henwood the February Photo of the Month goes to the Midlands Hiking Club group pic on top of Nhlazane - a classic group shot with the participants seemingly frozen in time. From the Newsletter February 2007 Report: Nhlazane

DECEMBER 2006: Father Christmas & the Christmas Fairy

December's photo of the month just had to go to Irene Wisdom's photo from the MHC Christmas Party. Pat and Bushy provide much cheer


NOVEMBER 2006: A Helping Hand

MAIN PIC: This photo submitted by Dave Sclanders for the Giant's Castle - Langalibalele Pass Hike in November 2006, truly captures the moment. Other pics from the same hike receive worthy mention - notably Keith (again) with trowel in hand and then the more scenic shot of hikers seemingly outrunning the cloud banking up behind them


Sunsetting in the Berg

This series of pics courtesy of Dave Sclanders, taken in the Kamberg area looking towards the setting sun, shows the striking lighting changes that occur at sunset. The first pic in the series was taken at 18:05, the second at 18:26 and the last at 18:30. Hikers in the foreground of the first pic are Chantel, Teresa and Allison.


Sunset in the Berg

This month I have taken poetic license and chosen one of our Chairman's (Dave Sclanders) photos from a non MHC hike. Dave was commissioned to spend a week in the Berg with a group of British School leavers (British Schools Exploration Society) when he took this sunset scene. To me what sets it apart is the stark simplicity with the lack of detail leaving the strata of tones to visually impact. You can see more of Dave's photos in his Bergfree Newsletters on his site



This delicate picture was captured by Elmarie Crous whilst on the Giant's Cup Trail


Morning over Tarn Cave

Picture by Keith Ashton, capturing early morning clouds reflected in a tarn over Tarn Cave. Fellow hikers, Rod and Dave, stand silhouetted against the rising sun