Overnight Hiking

A wilderness area is an area of land that has been set aside and managed in such a way that its pristine character is not altered. It is one of the most important categories in the zonation of conservation areas.

WILDERNESS PRINCIPLES

To ensure that the character of a wilderness area remains unaltered and suffers no impact through mans use, a number of principles are applied in the management of these areas. Visitor numbers are managed to ensure a quality experience. Management input is kept to a minimum so that natural processes can continue to operate.

For the visitor to a Wilderness Area this means that
:

- there is an emphasis on solitude and self-reliance
- you have the right to risk
- you may only walk or ride horses, (lone hikers are discouraged)
- please relieve yourself at least a five minute walk away from any cave, campsite, forest, watercourse or path
- no fires are allowed, even in caves
- you may leave your footprints but nothing else, so that others have a real wilderness experience
- what you take in, is taken out, including litter and candlewax

VISITOR MANAGEMENT

In order to minimize the impact of overnight visitors in wilderness areas, the following strategy is applied:

  • no party may exceed 12 persons
  • caves are booked only by one group at a time
  • Visitors should consult the official fees and charges pamphlet which is available in all Ezemvelo areas and from Head Office, P.O. Box 13053, Cascades, Pietermaritzburg 3202, (telephone 033-845 1999)
  • Should the station concerned not receive the full payment within 14 days the reservation will be cancelled
  • Payment for reservations made at short notice must be made at the station concerned on arrival
  • Cave bookings are controlled locally so that any adverse impact on the environment by visitor numbers can be dealt with immediately
  • Visitors should therefore book directly with the Ezemvelo station concerned (see below)
  • the limits set for the maximum numbers of people in a cave/catchment/camping site will be enforced
  • caves may be temporarily closed for a recovery period
  • the use of tents in the wilderness area is allowed unless demarcated as a non-camping area on the official Drakensberg map (on sale at Ezemvelo stations)
  • no camping is allowed within 3 km of major camp developments or within 1 km from a mountain hut
  • persons who touch or interfere in any way with rock art are liable to a fine of up to R500 000 and/ or imprisonment up to 5 years. This includes the application of water or any liquid to the paintings to make them more visible
  • Visitors are advised that they should carry camping equipment even if they expect to spend a night in a cave, as weather conditions or other factors may result in their not reaching their objective
  • Furthermore, ALL hikers should fill in the mountain rescue register (available at all Ezemvelo offices in the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park) before they set out on their hike
  • It is recommended that all overnight hikers read the brochure, ‘It's Tough at the Top - Hiking Safely in the Drakensberg'


RESERVATIONS AND PAYMENT

Reservations should be made at the Ezemvelo Serviice station concerned. A full list of contact addresses and telephone numbers is given below. Parties who arrive without having made a reservation run the risk of being turned away if the area concerned is full, or closed for management purposes.

CAVES AVAILABLE IN THE UKHAHLAMBA DRAKENSBERG PARK:

 

CATHEDRAL PEAK
Private Bag X1,
Winterton 3340
Telephone: (036) 488 1880
Fax: (036) 488 1677

Twins Cave Maximum 12
Xeni Cave Maximum 12
Shermans Cave Maximum 10
Outerhorn Cave Maximum 10
Ribbon Falls Cave Maximum 6
Barker's Chalet Maximum 5
Bell Cave Maximum 5
Schoongesicht Cave Maximum 8
Ndumeni Cave (i) Maximum 4
Ndumeni Cave (ii) Maximum 4

MONKS COWL
Private Bag X2,
Winterton 3340
Telephone/fax: (036) 468 1103

Hospitaalspruit Cave Maximum 10
Anton's Cave Maximum 12
Nkosasana Cave Maximum 10 (winter)
Maximum 4 (summer)
Cowl Cave Maximum 6
Stable Cave Maximum 12
Wonder Valley Cave Maximum 12
Zulu Cave Maximum 12

INJISUTHI CAMP
Camp Manager,
Private Bag X7010
, Estcourt 3310
Telephone/fax (036) 431 7848

Lower Injisuthi Cave Maximum 8
Grindstone Cave Maximum 12
Marble Baths Cave Maximum 8
Kaula Cave Maximum 12
Small Cave Maximum 4
Bridge Cave Maximum 6
Sicocosebhaca Cave Maximum 12

GIANT'S CASTLE
Camp Manager,
Private Bag X7055
, Estcourt 3310
Telephone: (036) 353 3718
Fax: (036) 353 3775

Spare Rib Cave Maximum 12

HIGHMOOR
PO Box 51,
Rosetta 3301
Telephone/fax (033) 263 7240

Aasvoëlkrantz Cave Maximum 8
Caracal Cave Maximum 8

MKHOMAZI
PO Box 105,
Nottingham Road
3280 Telephone/fax: (033) 263 6444

Sinclairs Cave Maximum 6
McKenzies Cave Maximum 12
Cypress Cave Maximum 6

LOTHENI
PO Box 14,
Himeville 3256
Telephone/fax: (033) 702 0540

Ash Cave Maximum 4
Yellowwood Cave Maximum 6

VERGELEGEN
PO Box 53,
Himeville, 325
6 telephone: (033) 702 0712

Mlahlangubo Cave Maximum 12
Bird's Nest Cave Maximum 8
COBHAM
PO Box 168,
Himeville 3256
Telephone/fax: (033) 702 0831

Gorge Cave Maximum 2
Pholela Cave Maximum 12
Spectacle Cave Maximum 10
Gxalingenwa Cave Maximum 12
Nutcracker Cave Maximum 6
Lakes Cave Maximum 12
Weaver Cave Maximum 10
Chameleon Cave Maximum 10
Venice Cave(2 caves of 4 each) Maximum 8

GARDEN CASTLE
PO Box 378,
Underberg 3257
Telephone: (033) 701 1823
Fax: (033) 701 1822

Wilsons Cave Maximum 12
Bushmans Cave Maximum 12
Tomatu Cave Maximum 12
Fun Cave Maximum 12
Verkyker Cave Maximum 12
Engagement Cave Maximum 2
Pillar Cave Maximum 12
Sleeping Beauty Cave Maximum 12
Mashai Cave Maximum 2
Goats Cave Maximum 12
Lammergeyer Cave Maximum 12
Tarn Cave Maximum 12
Halfway Cave Maximum 4