Report by Libby Deysel, photos supplied by Libby

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Twelve hikers namely, Astrid, Gill, Margret, Tony, Ralph, Sue, Peter, Vanessa, Ken, Christa, Anne and myself met at the Wessa office at 8 am. It was a first visit to the Reserve for Tony, Ralph and Vanessa. We drove to the Inkonka car park and started the hike along the Black Eagle Trail. The paths were in good condition and we reached the cottages at the end of the Black Eagle Trail rather quicker than I had anticipated. Christa, Tony and Ralph wanted to do the Dwarfs Dawdle. I was a bit reluctant to lead the group on that part of the reserve as there had been rain during the week and thought it might be slippery. The rest of the group decided to walk on and wait for them where the path joined up on the ridge and we had our tea break and a good rest while we waited.

On joining the group we carried on along the ridge path to the picnic site and view point where we stopped for lunch. We could not see any animals in the valley, but had a clear view of Albert Falls Dam. After lunch the group split again as some members preferred to walk along the road, while the rest of the group returned along the ridge path and continued back along the Black Eagle Trail, stopping for a brief chat and water break at the cottage. We only had a glimpse of Blesbok as we returned to the cars as they had been grazing near the road.

Unfortunately I had no time to recce the route when I took over as leader of the hike in Umgeni Valley and was unsure of whether the times and distances given on the map were one way or not. Consequently, the hike was quite short. However, the group appeared to be satisfied with the distance covered and the fact that it was quite casual and not rushed.

Libby Deysel