Leader: Peter Burman
The Black Wildebeest trail (photos below by Charley Lewis) is situated south of Van Reenen’s Pass in the Sandspruit conservancy, near the Drakensberg midlands of KZN.
All 18 of us arrived on the Friday evening at “Siggy’s Camp”, a spacious and comfortable hut.
Peter, our leader, allowed us to have a fairly late start of 8.30am. The earth was dry and dusty, due to lack of rain in months and the rivers were low. A very old fig tree created great interest as everyone examined how it had entwined its roots over and around boulders on an edge of a plateau and thus making an island for itself. We all enjoyed the game viewing - Black Wildebeest, kudu, impala, zebra and Eland.
The hike took us up and over undulating hills and slopes with patches of indigenous trees. We settled for lunch at a small Lapa overlooking the Sandspruit River – probably a good place to swim in the summer when the water level is higher. The trail ends with an easy meander along the river to the River Camp. The location and facilities of this camp are really lovely, set on the banks of the river. Two thatched rondavels, two donkey showers, proper loo’s, a separate Lapa for the kitchen, gas stove and lamps provided – all around a central braai area. We all had a good evening of chatter and a great amount of laughter around the fire before retiring for a good nights sleep. Two of us slept under the stars outside, either out of choice or were escaping those “noisy snorers” (some of us enjoyed red wine with our meal ! )
The next morning also began with a late start. The hike being only 6 / 7 km. The route took us over the hills, along the river, through the long grass and thorn bushes to arrive at the Siggy’s Camp just before midday.
All in all – a memorable hike, fairly easy walking – would be best done in the summer months to take advantage of those river swims.
A great thank you to Peter for his relaxed yet superb leadership.