Sunday 30 July 2017

Report and photos by Rod Hart

[CLICK ON PHOTOS TO VIEW FULLSIZE - or view pics in accompanying SIMPLEVIEWER Presentation]

The Cumberland Nature reserve hike is described as a Grade 1, 8km, short beginners hike to the Kranz (route 11 & 12 on the map returnig via points 15, 2 to 3)and back, and it was certainly pleasant, cool, dry weather to spend the morning hiking in this pleasant environment. In all 19 hikers started out (and returned safely) on the approximately 3 and half hour hike.

On the way in through the reserve we passed a homestead with a magnificent array of aloes - really stunning against the rising morning sun. The small dam, which I believe now hosts a crocodile, was still and reflected the surrounding bushveld. A family of giraffes along the roadside was a surprise, unseen on previous visits they were quite bold and cooperative in hanging around to be photographed.

First stop just after the start is to view from the top, the falls (unfortunately without water at this time of year). All along the way there is a colourful assortment of aloes. A short diversion branching off to a ledge for a better vantage point of the falls gives me, the photographer the opportunity to photograph most of the group in turn as they reemerge (photos 11-14). A short rest (photo 15) after the exertion of the climb back up and then we are off again to the next viewpoint.

The next viewpoint gives the opportunity to lookout over the Umgeni river winding through the valley (photo 23) - a more advanced hike route goes right down into the valley and tracks along the river, that is quite a hike!

Off again hiking past our next planned rest point, the Kranz Hut, as it was occupied, and onto the top of the Kranz for our morning/early lunch break and an even more elevated view of the Umgeni Valley.

A little way down from our stopping point a path leads off to a fissure in the Kranz with a slim rock ledge leading over it, which some of the braver hikers investigated and clambered onto. To Katy's dismay one hiker (a more season climber we hope) clambered down the fissure on a rope that was fixed in place there. To Katy's relief he reappeared safely as the group reassembled!

Along the road back to our start point we came across the family of giraffes who mostly seemed as interested in gawking at us as we were at them.

A great hike in one of our favourite spots close to Pmb, thanks Katy for leading.