Make sure you have water ...
The Koranna burg is situated in the Free State near the hamlet of Maquad. It had been hailed as a must-do by many a seasoned hiker, and Bev took the plunge and put it on the youthful hiking calendar.
I, as hike leader had not done too much homework on this one, and was quite glad to see many familiar faces, who would pardon any mistakes and quite a few new faces who hopefully would not know the difference.
Having a conversation with the resident farmer in the morning, and studying madly at tea and lunch breaks, I managed to acquaint myself with this fascinating area, enjoying it all the more.
The Koranna refers to a tribe which lived in this area at about, surprise surprise, the same time as the first ‘whiteies’ came along with their incessant need to fence every thing off and use the word “mine” as much as possible. The tribe was split into placid farming faction who just wanted to, well, farm I guess, and they drifted along the edges of the fences and faded away on the tide of vague promises and little else.
The other faction chose to fight and terrorised the area for a number of years. They used this particular mountainous out-crop as a base, and hence the name.
The walks are long but not particularly difficult except at the end of day one where the sign says 1km to camp, but its closer to 3 and they forgot the steep climb and the lack of drinking water.
The camp is supposed to be a cave, but it has been bricked up to form a sort of house, which was a bit of a pity. I would probably have written something else if this was the middle of winter. Anyway, it was a wonderful evening and most opted to sleep outside anyway.
Day two is a gentle walk and you can make it back to base by about 2pm, all going well. Things seen on the way: This was still into the dry season, and the first good water was at the lunchtime cave, about 12 kms into the first day. Good shelter from the sun and , I believe, permanent water.
You can then stop in at the remains of Jonas van Tonders house. Now old Jonas was a Zulu who was rescued by a Boer from a village after the battle of Blood River. He made his house by enclosing one of the many overhangs in the area. Some of the fruit trees, which he planted, still exist. On day two, the cave where the Korana held out against the white farmers can be visited. You need to crawl through a natural tunnel but you get to see the hide out and their escape route, which had the farmers fooled for a long while. If you speak to the farmer before hand, he will arrange to meet you at a point on day two, and show you some bushman paintings. These are some of the best that I have ever seen and well worth the effort.
A very enjoyable hike suitable for most, just watch your water in the dry season and possible flooding or high water in the rainy season. Also don’t let the numbers get too big, if it does get cold, the cave will only sleep about 10 comfortably.
Another good one chalked up by the youthful hiking bunch!
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