Hike: Demagtenberg, Karkloof
Date: 7 April, 2019
Hike leader: Chris Dobson
Hiker no:18 hikers
Distance: 12 - 14 kms.
Duration: 4 -5 hours

Report courtesy of Alistair Nixon, photos courtesy of Dave Sclanders and Alistair Nixon

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

Demagtenberg hike has not been on the schedule for over 10 years. It was previously done by Chris who had the vision to revisit it. Getting permission was a huge problem but after countless phone calls that was resolved. Once permission was granted a recce was done with Chris, Andy, Marlise and Alistair. That was a bit of a blood letting expedition but very exciting because it required bundu bashing through indigenous forest. This hike was inconclusive so Chris and volunteers undertook a second more successful hike. And so the BIG day was given a thumbs up.

Demagdenberg's is historically significant because of its claim to be where Goodman Household made the first ever heavier than air flight (glide) in 1871 eclipsing the French flight in 1896. It is approximately 20 kms from Howick to the hiking point which is at Benvie Farm (not Benvie gardens).

The departure point is from the dam alongside the now derelict old farm buildings, up through the pine plantation onto rolling grasslands. The wild dagga flowers were in full bloom. There are a number of streams, some more difficult to cross than others. Not to mention the barbed wire fences we had to negotiate! Much of the hike is set to the backdrop of the Karkloof range of mountains much of it covered in indigenous forest. As with so many of these hikes the views showed KZN in its true beauty - rolling hills, lush green fields and blue hills in the distance.

The hike headed towards the indigenous forest set close to the mountain cliffs but we avoided these. After numerous pauses to enjoy the view we descended to the river heading for the road to take us back to the cars approximately 4 kms from here. At this point we met the farm owner who directed us to his new glamping development nestled perfectly in a forest. Tents will in the future will be erected permanently. This has great potential for future weekends of glamping and other hikes and further exploration in the area. Chris is planning more exploration of the area for further hikes

1 meeting point
2 old farm buildings
3 view upwards of the hike
4 karkloof range and indigenous forest
5 wild dagga in bloom
6 wild dagga in bloom

7 navigating forst stream crossing
8 one of many crossings
9 another crossing
10 heading to the grasslands
11 crossing ruins of a stonewall
12 hill of unknown name
13 hill of unknown name 2
14 a brief break

15 barbed wire fence challenges
16 another fence
17 a lone ranger
18 lone ranger poses
19 heading to our highest point
20 negotiating our last hurdle
21 final rest before getting to the cars