MHC - Mt Lebanon, Highmoor Nature Reserve, Central Drakensberg, EKZN Wildlife
26 May 2019

Report and photos by Dave Sclanders

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

Mt Lebanon in the Highmoor Nature Reserve in the Drakensberg has not been done as a day hike by the club for a long time, so as the best days of berg hiking were coming to the end for this year, it was decided to visit the top of this mountain again. The views of different parts of the Central Berg, from Reddie Peak in Loteni in the South to The Turret at Monks Cowl in the North are easily recognizable on a good day. Then the sweeping valleys and low lying areas between make the scenery even more dramatic.

13 hikers set off from the Highmoor office in high spirits, the weather was cool, and the air was clear, crossing the Kamloops dam, the slight climb up the hill started a few heart beat increases. Taking an old route, we followed and lost the trail a few times, but eventually picked up the more used path going in the direction of Mt Lebanon.

We had taken another route off the main path and dropped down into another valley that gave us great views of the high ground of Highmoor before it dropped into the farming area far below. The annual winter burning of the tracer lines before the burning of the fire breaks was well in evidence. One has to take ones hat off to these incredible people who walk kilometers over the most incredible country to burn these fire lines and eventually the fire breaks .Rounding the corner we looked up at the summit of Mt Lebanon, our lunch time break, was it really that steep and far away.??

We found the cairn at the bottom of the climb that used to be the start point of the path that would lead us to the top, the cairn was there, but the path was gone, long lost and overgrown. A short break at the cairn to enjoy some energy building nibbles and drinks, and then every hiker for themselves to get to the top. No path, no rush. Before we knew it we were at the top, everyone was very happy with themselves.

From the summit incredible 360 views around were enjoyed by all, and the lunch spot , just over the crest out of the coldish wind was a great place to chat, have a quick snooze, or just look around.

Then it was time to start the trek back to the cars. On the way, we passed a cairn of rocks that some may remember from a "Night spent on top of this mountain some time ago because of bad weather!!!"

Getting back to the cairn at the bottom of the climb was easy, then it became a bit more dramatic. The path through the rocks and long grass was "unfindable" So a bit of serious "cross country grass bashing" was resorted to until we finally found the path that we had originally come in on, before we did our "round the hill walk". For those who were hiking with us, I wondered how they would have felt if the mist had been "down and thick" and they were in that same area?? At last we arrived at the bridge crossing just before the car park, a sure sign that we were home and safe.

As there was still a little bit of time on our hands, and a number of hikers had not seen the waterfall and valley below the bridge we had just crossed, a short detour was made to add this experience and view to an already over taxed brain.

Thanks to all of you for sharing this great day in the mountains.


May is now over- the last of the best months to hike the berg in. Great views will now diminish into blue haze as the fire burning volume increase and blocks clear berg views. The grass will become drier and drier, all hikers missions now are - no fires in the berg. Make sure you know where you are going, watch the wind, and watch the horizon for smoke that may indicate a future problem for you. If wind and smoke are coming towards you, start making "evacuation to safe area plans". Don't wait till you can see the fire, it may be too late to get out of its way.



Don't see it as a nuisance, see it as your insurance in a time of emergency