A road less traveled: Injisuthi

Potholes and cows on the road to Injisuthi.

All sorts of obstacles make a trip to Injisuthi memorable.

Injisuthi was the third and last reserve in the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg National Park that I visited during my South Africa trip this April. In contrast to Monk’s Cowl and Cathedral Peak where we walked on the first two days, the escarpment in Injisuthi is somewhat lower (around 2,000 m vs. 3,000 m). The whole area is also more remote than either Monk’s Cowl or Cathedral Peak, which made the drive to Injisuthi as much of an exciting experience as the short walk itself.

Part 1: Getting there

The drive to Injisuthi from Inkosana Lodge (in Champagne Valley) is quite long. In fact it was significantly longer than we thought it would be. The 31 km long road from a turn off at Loskop to the Injisuthi camp was positively the worst road we drove on in South Africa. Sometimes tarred, sometimes crumbling off on the curb, but always ridden with potholes it requires a 4×4 or very slow driving… else you will at least lose a hub cap as we did.

However, there is a little adventurous edge to the drive that goes deep into the valley and gradually opens up great views of the whole Injisuthi area.

Road to Injiusthi camp

Driving deep into the valley towards Injisuthi camp

Part 2: Grindstone cave

A view from a cave with a waterfall

Inside the first Grindstone cave in Injisuthi

We paid the park fees at Injisuthi camp and set-off to the Grindstone cave. After a short walk through a yellowwood forest we started gradually climbing up on to the escarpment and then continued along the side of the rock up and down well above the Old Women Stream until we found the first Grindstone cave.  The cave is hidden behind vegetation and ‘curtained’ with a waterfall. After a quick inspection of the cave, we turned back rather than continuing along the loop through Cataract Valley. As we now knew, we had a long drive back ahead of us, one that we definitely didn’t want to do in the dark. In the end the walk was fairly short. In total it took us about 2.5 hours there and back, but it was a nice taster of the area and an opportunity to experience the Drakensberg in fog rather than scorching heat.

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