Ka-Dedakushe Falls
Highmoor Nature Reserve
Central Drakensberg
16 November 2013

Report & Photos courtesy of Dave Sclanders

Highmoor Nature Reserve in the Central Drakensberg and only 130 odd kilometers from Pietermaritzburg is one of the most unused hiking areas in the berg. The area is easy to walk being made up of rolling hills with many vlei areas. However, Highmoor does experience very changeable weather that can just descend on you in a very short time. Weather vigilance is a very essential part of your day, as well as knowing where you are in relation to the office.

Following a very wet and stormy Saturday evening, 12 of us met on a very lovely Sunday morning at the Highmoor office . Some who shall remain nameless, had decided that if they arrived late, the weather might be better, but the early arrivals can testify to the fact that the weather was great from Sunrise . A late start will always compromise the afternoons finishing time !!!!!!

We set off over the rolling hills, and soon had our first stream crossing which would have been a bit more challenging if Highmoor had experienced the rain that we had received in Howick on Saturday evening. Just around the corner we were very privileged to see a very rare pare of Oribi looking at us. Then it was onwards , and our first hill of the day was negotiated easily by some, and others seemed to find that the oxygen content of the berg was very limiting at this particular point.

Pic 2 First stream crossing
Pic 3 A pair of inquisitive Oribi
Pic 4 The first hill
Pic 5 That was easy !!!
Pic 6 Where has the oxygen gone ????

Later we had a rest at the old plaque site, where Keith gave a short talk on our very unpleasant hike to the same area some weeks ago but from the Giant’s Castle side ( see the clubs Newsletter for the 21 – 22 September 2013 For the write up on that unpleasant hike)

Pic 7 Giant’s Castle to the left
Pic 8 Cathkin 7 the Monk to the right
Pic 9 “Now, just a month or so ago , we hiked down there …….”

We walked on and had incredibly views of the great valleys of Giants Castle. Then it was downhill all the way to ka-Dedakushe Falls. Where our lunch break was to take place.

Pic 10 Giants valleys
Pic 11 The falls
Pic 12 Time out for lunch.

The spring flowers of the berg were just starting to come out, and the veld was well covered in parts with an array of flowers

Pic 13 – 18 “ Watch out , flowers underfoot !”

Then, someone spotted a snake , well – on closer inspection it was not a snake , but a rather rare find a “ 2 legged skink “ it is a part of the lizard family.

Pic 19 The Snake or “2 legged skink”
Pic 20 Enlarged picture – note the small leg just behind the head

As we headed for the cars, we looked down into the valley that separates’ Highmoor from Giants Castle - see my newsletter on the club website “ Highmoor – Giants Circular Hike – 15 – 17 June 2013. Then later as we passed one of the less visited dams on Highmoor we came across a pair of Hadeda on “Hadeda Island” As time was now marching on , we picked up the pace and headed straight to the cars.

Pic 21 Valley between Highmoor and Giants Castle Reserves
Pic 23 Hadeda Island
Pic 24 The “quiet dam”
Pic 25 Picking up speed and heading back!

A few of the party still had a bit of energy, so we headed down the slight valley below the Highmoor Camp to the spectacular waterfall

Pic 26 Highmoor waterfall

As we headed home, Kamberg Mountain stood out proud and clear on our right, with big storm clouds brewing behind her.

A great day at Highmoor, great weather, great sights, and great hikers . We would look forward to more of the clubs “armchair hikers” joining us on these easy day walks.