REPORT & PICS BY: Dave Sclanders

“MHC – Sinclair’s Shelter” in the Central Drakensberg”
Kamberg Wildlife Area
26 – 27 January 2008
South African Hikers

On a fine February morning, a happy party of hikers gathered at the Kamberg Wildlife area to hike to a little known cave in the Lower berg. The morning was warm and humid, and no one needed to be reminded to drink plenty of water to keep hydrated. Our first stop was at Waterfall Shelter, a rest and adjustments of heavy packs was made, then onwards away from the path, into the wilder area of Kamberg. Here the path dies away , and one needs to know where you are going – no path on the map, no path on the ground. A hard climb over a steep rocky area took us out of the valley to a high plateau – the harder part of the days trek was over. A long gentle rise took us up to the far horizon

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In the middle of nowhere we came across the tracks of a motor bike in the mud of the short animal path we were walking on. Later we saw the tracks of 3 bikes that had been driven through the long grass of the area, their trails like those of some giant serpents snaking there way across the grasslands.


One can only wonder at who had ridden motorbikes up to and around this far away pace. The Kamberg Wilderness officials had no idea as to whome it may have been Surely not a good thing in this wilderness area. Once we had reached our destination, we unpacked, hade a good cup of tea, gathered our selves together, and headed into the higher areas to survey and discover the world around us. Smaller caves, flowers, great views, a clear mountain spring bubbling out of the ground high up on the mountain side – nature and our surrounds were truly magnificent in the afternoon sunshine. Then it was time to head back to the shelter- bad weather was blowing in. Then another cup of tea, change into something warm , and enjoy good fellowship sitting on hard uncomfortable rocks. A great way to relax before the weather closed in and it was time to do supper, and slip into a warm sleeping bag.

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Next morning a good “headwash” in a bucket of clear berg water is a great way to start the day

A sheltered little glade no 5 meters from my bed, held a mind boggling array of flowers, dressed in a fresh bath of dew from the nights heavy mist, were a sight to behold. Droplets of dew hung from the many flowers and stems. A small beetle seemed to be drinking from a fresh dew drop. The flowers sparkled in the early morning sunlight. A incredible sight of natures beautiful , delicate side, only seen by those who get down close to the ground, and take the time to look at this wonderful world that normally only our hiking boots see.

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After breakfast we headed for a high point some 5 kilometers away. Today, the panoramic view of the central Drakensberg was a sight to behold. A blanket of low clouds seemed to make the high mountain escarpment look even higher than usual. The clear air giving us views for as far as we could see. The grass carpet at the foot of the high berg, stretched deep down into the valleys. The ever changing colours of the grass making a wonderfully coloured carpet at the mountains feet. Surely we were/are privileged to be able to hike/trek/walk and enjoy such incredible sites. To be able to hear the silence of the mountain, to see and feel the great empty space around us, to enjoy the feeling of being alone in this great wonderful uKhahlamba Drakensberg World International Heritage site, is surely a blessing to us. So few are able to enjoy this , and realize that it is great to be alive.

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Later, after a lazy lunch alongside a pool in the stream, we shouldered our Backpacks for the last time , and headed for our cars. Around the last corner, far in the distance the well known mountain rock feature known as “Gladstone’s Nose” came into view, Our cars were now not far away.

After such a great week end in the untouched mountains, to know that we would soon be back in Civilization, sent a “sad shiver” up my spine. A question – “are we so civilized that we can look after this world of ours ?”