Drakensberg Hiking Trip Review
Drakensberg Hiking Trip Adventure > South Africa Adventures Client Thys Taljaard writes about his memorable 3 Day Drakensberg hiking trip to Cathedral peak.
In the winter of June 2016 I went on a 3 Day Drakensberg hiking trip to Cathedral peak which is situated in the central part of the mountain range. At the crack of dawn on Friday we left the hustle and bustle of Gauteng and hit the open road. It was a rather long and tiring journey but by 14:00 we had signed the necessary hiking permits, checked our gear and were ready for the hike.
As it was winter we did not expect to see much water in the river but to our amazement the river was filled with ice cold water that had melted from the snow on the mountains. Our first major obstacle was crossing this icy river. With a large amount of effort made possible with our guide’s ropes we managed to get across. (It was all uphill from now on) We got into a steady rhythm and made our way up to Shermans cave which was going to be our home for the night. I walked behind the group and encouraged everyone from the back. The walk was rather slow as everyone was tired and felt as though they had “jelly-legs”. Luckily Darren and the others that were quite far in front took regular breaks to ensure that we didn’t fall too far behind.
Finally we arrived at the cave and settled into the nesting process of fluffing out our sleeping bags and finding our teddy bear for the night. Darren made us each a plate of warm food. It was rather quiet while we ate-I’m not sure if the food was good or if we were all just too hungry to talk. It was not long before everyone settled into their sleeping bags and fell asleep.
As with most Drakensberg hiking trips, we were up bright and early in the morning, eager for our summit. The climb was at a steady pace but I became overwhelmed with excitement when I saw the first few signs of snow. The higher we climbed the more snow there was to see. As the sun rose the snow immediately started melting and water slowly started filling the gully. We reached a point where there was so much snow that everyone forgot they were tired and released their inner child. A hopelessly failed attempt was made at building a snow man. It was all fun and games until we realized that we needed to get back on track and do what we were there to do-summit.
The last stretch before our goal was extremely steep and covered in a thick blanket of snow. It started getting late and the later it got the more dangerous it became for us. As a group we decided against summiting as safety always comes first. Enjoying ourselves in the snow was a major highlight and so no one was disappointed about turning back.
The descent was very slippery and I lost my footing a couple times. Although slippery and challenging, going down was a lot easier than going up. We eventually reached the cave and everyone split up and tried to clean themselves before the evening cold presented itself. Food was served, many jokes were told and a whole bunch of nonsense was spoken before the exhaustion from the long hiking experience kicked in. Once the exhaustion kicked in the tremendous amount of snoring began.
Getting up in the morning we were not half as energized as the previous morning, everybody knew that when they reached the bottom they would be going back to the hustle and bustle of their everyday lives. Once again going down was much easier but if it was not for the hiking pole gravity would have done quite a bit of damage.
And so all great things come to an end. We all returned to our busy lives; but not all was lost-we carry with us new and wonderful memories that were created on that mountain. Next time summit will be ticked off the list!