MBP & MHC – Leaders Training
Southern Drakensberg
uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park
10 - 11 January 2009

Report and photos - courtesy of Dave Sclanders

Wildways Adventures a leading Mountain Guide and Mountain Climbing Training Organization, under the expert tutorship of owner and guide Andrew, has been giving Leader training to members of MBP and MHC members. This week the subject was on how to cross flooded rivers safely , how to adjust your backpacks , and a guest speaker Matt, who gave a most interesting and informative talk on Snakes of the berg, with live volunteer snakes.

The training was held at the KZN Wildlife’s, Cobham Berg Reserve, near Underberg/Himeville in the Southern Drakensberg

The week ends weather did not look at all inviting, with wet, wet, wet weather predicted. For once the forecast was right, rain came and stayed. I suppose very aptly to fit in with the training of crossing flooded rivers. ( unfortunately the rains have been a bit scarce in the past few weeks, so the river was not full – bad for practicing in shallow water)

Andrew started the talks in the camp area, then we headed down to the river to “practice”. One of the 1st steps was to show that if your backpack is properly packed it will float for a considerable time. Lots of good strong plastic bags wrapping all your gear in the backpack is the secret.

Next demonstration how a single person should cross a river with a hiking stick

Then onto the real matter of the day, group crossing atr the same time. All the theory was discussed, then the practical on how to hold, and where to hold, and how to walk through the river.

Some willing volunteers were happy to do more practice, but by now the rain was really coming down, so all returned to their tents, bungalows etc for a long wet and rainy afternoon and evening

Next morning , with a weak sun trying to break the damp sky, it was back to learning how to adjust your back pack. A most important part of how to hike comfortably in your heavily laden pack

Then Matt came with his snakes, and a most informative story on what to do if one should bite you. Also how the snakes react, etc etc. A very informative talk

TO MBP , Andrew and Matt , many thanks for organizing and presenting this training week end. Hikers should all know these basic things about spending time in the outdoors, it maybe that one day as a father or mother you may need these skills, not just a club leader.