13 May 2018

Report and photos by hike leader Alistair Nixon

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

Nhlosane, one of the Big 4 challenges, is a testing hike.

The weather was cool as snow had fallen the previous day at Sani Pass and Afriski and low cloud meant the summit was clouded over.

Our round trip was 5 hours including an additional detour along the ridge. Many of the 14 hikers (including seasoned hikers) agreed the initial ascent up to the ridge was very demanding.

Once on the ridge there is a beautiful view into the next valley with its cascading waterfall and many dams. The ridge is flat with a slight challenge at the end as the path is a bit of a scramble down. Could be testing for some who don t particularly like heights. Everyone managed without incident.

The saddle is where the long gradient to the top starts. Our advice is to take it slowly and incrementally. Take note of the stone walls presumably constructed so cows would not fall over the edge in the mist. A considerable number of man hours went into its construction.

The reward in getting to the top is being able to relax and have lunch at the beacon, festively decorated with a number of clothing items. 360 degree and panoramic views.

The route down follows the contour path which runs under the ridge. It is a most picturesque route and should be rewarded with plenty of stops to simply absorb the beauty of midlands KZN. A short deviation half way down leads to Leopards Leap waterfall.

Ian and Sally, the owners of Mountain Park had tea with scones and jam ready for us on our return. A most generous gesture. The delightful setting and relaxing patio lead to much discussion and conversation about future outings.

Irrespective of how many times one has done the hike it is always reveals different aspects particularly now in the changing seasons.

1. Prepared for the ascent
2. Nhlosane shrouded in mist
3. Nhlosane indigenous flower garden
4. Looking back to Mount Park
5. The summit reveals itself
6. A well deserved break

7. Approaching the Ridge
8. Scrambling down to the saddle
9. The ridge in the background
10. Keith exploring the stone walls
11-14. Mist coming in
15. The next valley

16. Lunch at the beacon
17. Jacobs family enjoying lunch
18. Clive and Erica discussing geology
19. Looking back towards the Dargle valley
20 Happy group

21. Coming off the top onto the contour
22. A moment to enjoy the beauty of the valley
23. Contour path
24. Descending through the flowers
25. On the contour
26. Top of the falls
27. Keith contemplating going down

28. Tea and scones in the diningroom
29. Relaxing and chatting