2 June 2002


On a bitterly cold Sunday morning six intrepid hikers, namely Keith, Margaret, Mike, Noёl, Morris and Merle, set out to brave the elements after meeting at the Highmoor Wilderness Office at 08:00.  Through breaks in the low clouds we were able to see that the mountains were covered in snow, and there had been a light fall during the night where we were hiking.

Our first stop for mid-morning tea was at Caracal Cave, by which time we had warmed up.   During the summer months there is a waterfall next to the cave, but this had been reduced to a few falling drops of water.   It didn't take long for us to start feeling the cold again, and we set off on a steady uphill climb towards the old Look-out Tower.   By the time we reached it light snow had started to fall and the wind had picked up.   Unfortunately all the window panes in the tower have been broken and offered no shelter at all, but we did change into waterproof clothing.

We then continued on our merry way towards Aasvoelkransgrot (Vultures Cliff Cave) and were lucky enough to see 17 Mountain Reedbuck on a hill in front of us.  There was a lone stag on another hill and after they had noticed us they set off to join him.  We also saw a family of baboons in the distance, which showed no interest in us at all.

On reaching the higher of the two Vultures Cliff Caves Keith led us to a pool in the river which would be an ideal swimming spot - but only in warmer weather.  He tthen led us to the lower of the two caves which has a magnificent waterfall and a beautiful view over the valley.  Here we stopped for lunch. 

After lunch we headed back to the office via a different route, skirting along the side of the hill below the old lookout but above a mountain stream.   After crossing the stream just above a lovely waterfall we hiked gently uphill for a while before descending and crossing in front of the first dam on our way back to our starting point.

Although the weather was not the best, the day was still thoroughly enjoyed by all who participated and thanks go to Keith for his excellent leadership - we never lost our way once.


Merle Brett