Like cavemen, with style

This year, I joined the Mountain Club of South Africa, one of the oldest mountain club in the world. And recently, I organized and lead a beginner’s hike including… a night in a cave! This sounds a bit exceptional but here in the Berg, it’s pretty common. As you would for a cottage or any accomodation, you can simply book each cave (sometimes rather a balm or rock shelter) listed in the Park.

The adventure starts the day before the departure when I realized that I booked the cave for the week actually following the hikd … and that 12 people were supposed to take part in the hike would find themselves thus without lodgings. Big panic because the cave in question, called Marble Bath, was already booked! Fortunately, a cave in the next valley, Lower Injisithu, was available and included a similar mileage: 7-8 km with a slow gradient, with superb views and possibility of swimming. Phew, we were saved!

The rendezvous is given at Injisuthi camp in the northern part of the Berg. The winding road turns almost into 4×4 track for the last kilometers but everyone arrives safe and sound. Arf! The weather is unfortunately not at the rendezvous and we start our weekend in the rain.

22396592_10155160027359075_860138971_o
We keep our spirits up. Nothing can stop us ! 

Quickly, we move deeper in the valley under the mist. Halfway, the sky finally emerges and lets us admire the escarpment.

Injisuthi01

Injisuthi05

In 3-4 hours with a chill pace, we finally arrive at Lower Injisuthi Cave. The wind has risen, we are all more or less tired, and frankly, a little cold. After the rain and tutti quanti, I have trouble warming myself, photo proof: technical sweater, fleece, gloves, wool beenie, all in a goose down sleeping bag! Otherwise, it’s rather cozy!

The idea was to make an event out our night in the cave (the first time for the majority of the weekend explorers!). On the menu, a Belgian-style cheese fondue: beer is used instead of wine. Cheese is not really a south african thing and as a european it can really be dissapointing and; unfortunately we only find cheddar and if we are lucky, Emmental. Well I’m exaggerating, but if you want more, you have to look a little. The result was more than delicious!

Fortunately, the wind finally calmed down. Before taking refuge in our sleeping bags, we spent a little time alone with the stars. There is very little light pollution in these mountains (or not at all!), we can therefore generally admire the Milky Way.

Injisuthi23
Breakfast !
Injisuthi27
Lower Injisuthi is hidden under the rock face that we can see on the left

Injisuthi34

Injisuthi39

Two weekends later, I kept on going  in the south of the escarpement from Garden Castle. On the program, 2 caves: Sleeping Beauty and Pillar Cave. These are 2 very popular caves because of a very easy access BUT we decided to take an original angle by literally taking a path off the beaten path. Unfortunately, I injured my ankle the first night and we had to fall back on the popular trails. But, the magic was still with us!

This time, we make a little folly: we hike at night! What an epic adventure. Difficult to navigate day in general because the cards are not precise, it becomes even more complex at night with the fatigue of the day’s work and the road … and then, the fog rises! But, we arrive safe and sound to discover this beautiful cave.

Sleeping_beauty_pillar02
Sleeping beauty is huge !

We go down the valley to the camp for a swim in a natural pool, Mermaid pool! Or how to get a free and refreshing spa in the mountains …

Sleeping_beauty_pillar
Not sure if cavemen wore bikini though ?

Sleeping_beauty_pillar26 copie

 

Sleeping_beauty_pillar31
We move into the beautiful valley leading to Pillar Cave, the Rhino Peak is watching us

 

Sleeping_beauty_pillar06 copie
The valley were Sleeping beauty is hidden
Sleeping_beauty_pillar34.JPG
So much space and what a view ! In Pillar Cave.

And you, when are you joining me for a (skinny?) dip in a Berg pol and night in a cave?

Advertisements

One thought on “Like cavemen, with style

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s