Midlands Hiking Club
Whyets Cave
Southern Berg
12 – 13 March 2011

Pictures and story by Dave Sclanders

A group of hikers from MHC & MBP clubs met at the Bushman’s Nek offices of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife offices to fill in the required Mountain Hiking Rescue Register, and then set off for the very comfortable Whyets Cave . The cave is not very far away, but the climb seems to go on and on. Off course when you come home, it is downhill all the way.

The day was hot and clear, with great views all around us. Plenty of recent rain had kept the grass green, the streams fresh, but at this time of the year flowers were few and far between. Rounding a corner we looked straight up the well known , and challenging to climb, Rhino Peak.

Once we had reached the high contour that would eventually lead us around to our lunch and overnight cave, we walked on old paths that gave us great vantage points into the valleys around us and below. Our lunch spot was in the lea of a huge rock outcrop.

Not far from where we stopped for lunch was a cave that was visited thousands of years ago by the long gone San bushman people who left wonderful paintings of their life and times.

On a rock nearby sat a very brightly coloured grass hopper, catching the lunch time sun. Meanwhile round the other corner , a serious lunch time “snooze” was being enjoyed by some of the hikers

Then it was on again, following the old path around the high mountain side to our cave.

Sunrise in the Drakensberg can be a dramatic time of day. At previous visits to this cave I have experienced wonderful sunrises from this high setting, see my website at www.bergfree.co.za , see Newsletters 45 and 88.

So 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.

The early sunrise lit the waterfall that fell into the pool not far from the sleeping area, and as usual the early morning Rainbow was to be seen in the falling water.

Heading for home, the suns reflections off the white clouds made it difficult to take photos into the valleys, so trying something new on my camera I set the automatic settings to BEACH and or SNOW and took the pictures into the white hazy and glare of the rising sun. The drifting clouds added a soft edge to the shining dam water far below

We passed a small “Tarn” or rock pool – these pools only happen in the rain season when the rock basins fill with rain water, then become completely dry once the rain stops and the sun sucks all the water up. Yet in the dry mud and sand bottom of these pools , some seeds do survive , and when the next rains come, they sprout and form amazing small water gardens.

Then it was “head down and head for the cars”.

A great week end with good weather, and wonderfull scenery. This cave is always a good cave to go to. A good walk with lots to see and experience .

Thanks to Keith for leading us on this trip.