Autumn is in full swing here in Munich. It is grey, cold and it won’t be long until it starts snowing. This made me reminisce about the completely different autumn I experienced in the Drakensberg (South Africa) in April. In the South African version of autumn, I spent four days at Inkosana Lodge in the Champagne Valley and explored the surrounding uKhahlamba-Drakensberg National Park in scorching heat. During that time I did three day walks in three of the park’s reserves. Here’s a quick summary of each of them.
#1 Monk’s Cowl: Nandi’s Falls & Keartland’s Pass
Monk’s Cowl is the nearest National Park reserve to Inkosana Lodge, so quite naturally it was the first place we explored. There are a couple of waterfalls and a few rock pools in lower altitudes as well as routes higher up to a few summits like Cathkin Peak and Sterkhorn. We chose Nandi’s Falls and then tried to make it as far as Blind Man’s Corner, but run out of time. We even had to jog back to the gate to make it in time before 6pm. This was the hottest of the three walks – I nearly melted and dehydrated.
Full trip report: Feeling the heat in Monk’s Cowl
#2 Cathedral Peak: Doreen Falls & the Rainbow Gorge
This outing in Cathedral Peak was a spectacular hike at low altitude. We swam in a rock pool filled by the Doreen Falls, walked through a rain forest in the Rainbow Gorge and saw Eland, Bushbucks and a whole troop of seven Chacma Baboons in between. Having learnt from our mistakes on day one we also managed to escape some of the heat by picking a less sun-exposed route. The drive to Cathedral Peak from Inkosana Lodge is about an hour long.
Full trip report: Day two in the Draknesberg: Cathedral Peak
#3 Injisuthi: the Grindstone Cave
Our walk in Injisuthi was the shortest of the three, as the drive to the reserve took longer than expected. The road to the Injisuthi camp where most of the local walking trails start is very bad. It took us about an hour and a half to get there from Inkosana Lodge and cost us a hub cup. Going back, we needed 2 hours, but avoided loosing any further bits of the car. In the end we only managed to walk to the Grindstone Cave, the closest destination from the camp, and back. Still it was nice to see a different, even more secluded part of the National Park.
Full trip report: A road less traveled: Injisuthi