In March 2016 we decided to do this hike with some friends. It’s still a chilly time of the year and it’s a very unpredictable area with the summit being around 2000 metres+.
The start of the hike if you’re using the chain ladders, is from Sentinal car park at Witsieshoek where you need to sign the registers and pay an access fee. These fees go to Witsieshoek mountain resort and will be used should a mountain rescue be needed.
From the car park there is a well laid out foot path to the chain ladders with magnificent scenery along the way.
These altitudes are accessed via a few gorges or you can go the easier way up a 100 rung chain ladder that is broken into 2 sections. It isn’t as bad as it looks as I am not fond of heights but made it easily even with my backpack.
There were a lot of people at the top of the chain ladders. Some had got there and just catching their breath before carrying on others waiting to go down.
As we planned to stay at least 3 nights on the top we took tents and general hiking gear and all our own food.
The source of the Tugela River, the 2nd highest waterfall in the world, is an easy walk from the chain ladders.
It was really windy and cold but thankfully not raining. Too windy for a tripod and sunrise pics unfortunately.
We decided to pitch tents fairly close to the falls and within in site of the guard hut as we knew there were rangers staying there which was a good thing having heard some scary stories about attacks on hikers over the past few years.
Day two our goal was a cave some distance away. We also planned to go along the edge of the escarpment but this changed as it was far too windy and setting camp too close to the edge didn’t sound like a good idea. It also turned out that the shepard’s were occupying the caves.
As you can see there really isn’t anywhere to pitch tents that’s out of the wind and the weather was very very windy and a lot of the ground was quiet mushy. We eventually found a good spot to put up camp.
We decided to spend the third night closer to the guard hut and chain ladders again so on the third day we made our way back in that direction.
The wind was absolutely hectic, so much so we could barely keep our gas stoves lit to make a hot drink let alone breakfast. Very miserable indeed.
By the time we got to the guard hut we were pretty exhausted and hungry for something hot and a cup of tea was really really needed. We got ready to go put up tents but the guards convinced us that sharing the hut was a better idea. They didn’t have to do very much to convince us, simply being able to get out of the wind to make tea was more than enough. Who cares about the hard floor.
After a not so good night, we were all more than ready for the walk down the ladders and the drive home.
I did run Endomondo for this hike but only seem to be able to find the first day. I now run Relive and absosultey love it especially when I’m able to pop the link into my website and get this sort of view of the first day.
Feel free to have a look at it here.