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Easter Weekend Backpack

Giants Castle and Lotheni Pass


Easter weekend 21st to25th April 2011 Back pack Giants Castle /Lotheni camp and return to Giants Castle.

Participants: Neil Ransome,  Gert  Jan  Rijsewijk,  Cathy  Phillips, Tracy May, Roy Harris, Ann Bell, Denise Dexter, Paul  van Beek,  Johan  Potgieter,  Coen Tereblanche, Fernando Contraves, Bernard Robinson, Nick West,Janet Montieth, Sian Du Plessis.  15 persons in all

On Thursday evening we all arrived at White Mountain holiday resort. We decided to sleep in chalets instead of camping and eat at the restaurant. The set menu we had for supper was  good and the chalets were  well  kept.

On Friday morning 22nd April we drove to Giants Castle camp site. After parking our cars and settling payment for the week end hike, we left the camp site at 8.45am. The day was sunny and we reached Giants Castle pass in the early afternoon except for Fernando who arrived much earlier than anyone else. At the top it was misty and it was difficult to find a flat spot to camp which was not water logged. As dusk fell the temperature dropped to 1 degree C. We had climbed 1441m up to 3104m altitude. Next morning we left the camp site at 8am and arrived at Lotheni  pass  at 9.30am. On version 2 the map showed that Lotheni  Pass is not used anymore and that  eNtubeni Pass is the preferred pass. Fortunately the passes are not too far from each other. Walking down the pass took a long time as this pass, I am told, is only used during the winter months because in summer the grasses are very thick and it makes hiking difficult. From 3053m altitude we walked 18.361km down to 119m altitude. It was a long day as we had to crisscross the Lotheni  river about 10 times, as there were no places to pitch a tent . We eventually  arrived at Lotheni  car camp at about  7pm.Thank  goodness they had hot showers and level  ground to camp on. The decent from the top of the pass down to Lotheni camp was 2934metres.


The next day Sunday three members of our group decided to stay on at Lotheni  and get a lift back to Giants as blisters, sore knees and a sprained ankles hindered their progress.


On Sunday we went up Taylor’s Pass which is one of the most beautiful passes I have walked on, alongside gorges and waterfalls. The vegetation was completely different to the normal Drakensberg passes. The ascent from Lotheni  to the Giants ridge our third night camp  was 1376metres and the distance  we walked was  18.5km. We all decided to walk until we were approximately 6km from the main camp so that we could arrive early on Monday .The decent from camp 3 to  Giant’s base camp is 2159m down to 1750m  We  arrived at 9.00 am but had to wait for the three  who managed to get a lift back from Lotheni. They eventually arrived at 12.00noon.

Overall it was an enjoyable hike, with enough challenges, strenuous walking and good company.

Writer N.Ransome


Last Update: 2011/06/24 / Author: Admin
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