Tag

winter hiking - Scuttle

Hiking the Mnweni Circuit with Cobus du Preez

By | Hiking | No Comments
Drakensberg

Mnweni Circuit: A majestic section of The Great Escarpment

Location: Drakensberg, South Africa

The Mnweni Circuit is a mind-blowing, multi-day hike in the dramatic Drakensberg. It will test your grit across approximately 42km, depending on which detours you choose to take. The route is unmarked, the terrain is challenging on many levels, and you need to be completely self-sufficient. Add a cold front and 50cm’s of snow, and it becomes an adventure to remember. It’s the only part of the area that doesn’t fall under the Natal Park Board, making Mnweni one of the most remote hiking areas in the region.

We chose to do the hike over 2 nights and 3 days – but if we had a choice, we would have spent an extra night in the Ledges cave. It is the perfect spot from which to explore the escarpment a bit more and to take in the magnificent views.

Day 1: Mnweni Cultural and Hiking Centre to Shepard's Cave

Total time: +/- 6hours
Total distance: +/- 17km
Total Ascent: +/- 750m

Day 2: Shepard's Cave to Ledges Cave via Mnweni Pass

Total time: +/- 6hours
Total distance: +/- 10km
Total Ascent: +/- 1400m

Day 3: Ledges Cave to Mnweni Cultural Centre via Rockeries Pass

Total time: +/- 7hours
Total distance: +/- 13km
Total Descent: +/- 1400m

Scuttle Tips

Take a Spot satellite messaging device with you. It offers emergency communication in the event of an injury (or extreme weather) as well as live tracking for family and friends back home. (Click text for more info)

Our Vango Mirage Pro 300 Four Season Tent is the perfect companion for the Berg and all the climates it might offer. It only weighs 3.6kg so 1.2kg per person. Read more by following the link.

Tell us about your experiences by sending us an email to adventures@scuttle.co.za. Alternatively share it with us on Facebook. We would love to hear from you.

Subscribe to get more Adventure secrets like this

Back to Adventures

Hiking the Fish River Canyon

By | Hiking | No Comments
Fish River Canyon

The mighty Fish River Canyon

The second largest canyon in the world

Location: Southern Namibia

The Fish River Canyon is majestic. There are few other hikes like it and it is absolutely worth it. What makes it so special is the feeling of remoteness. Once you descend into the Canyon, your only option is to carry on down the snaking river. The high canyon walls initially make it ominous and scary. Almost like going down a tunnel. Not to scare anyone but there is only one (emergency) exit out of the Canyon during the route, about halfway. My two excursions down the Canyon has luckily not led me down (or up) that route but I have heard it is an absolute last resort. So, 5-6 days of following the flow of the Fish River. Absolute magic.

Lots have been written about the hike and many guides exist to make your journey easier. (Our friends at Hiking South Africa has a great resource article. Just click on this text to follow the link.)

Scuttle Tips

There are a few things that we have experienced and which will make your experience much more rewarding:

Make sure you have a good backpack that is properly fitted for your dimensions. Of course it is advisable to have used it before on previous hikes in preparation of this one, but that is not always possible. We have a range of great Osprey packs and can assist you to find the most suitable one based on your requirements. That said, the key is "lighter is better", always.

One can braai (barbeque) in the Canyon, so take meat and a small grid for the first 2 nights. It is worth it. Use the heavy items first and leave the dried food for later.

Nights can be cold and if you are not sure if your sleeping bag is up to it, throw a sleeping bag liner in your pack for extra warmth. It creates another layer of insulation in between your sleeping bag and you. It is small and light with a big benefit.

Take a lightweight mattress like our First Ascent Aero 5.5 mattress. It only weighs around 600 grams and punches way above its weight when it comes to size, weight and comfort. No restless nights touching the ground as the air pockets keep you well off the ground. Take a thick plastic sheet to protect against thorns and to provide another layer against the cold. (Click link to read a review by Hiking South Africa)

The Jetboil Flash cooking system is a great combo for an all in one cooking kit. It also boils water in only 100s so great for a quick tea break. (Click text for more info)

There is no signal in the Canyon, so the only form of communication are fellow hikers. Alternatively you could take a Spot satellite messaging device with you. It offers emergency communication in the event of an injury. (Click text for more info)

Camping at Ai-Ais the night before you start is a great idea. Another, even better idea, is to book into the hotel at Ai-Ais after the hike (pre-book). A soft bed with fresh linen together with the warm springs is just what the doctor ordered after 5 days in the Canyon.

A short film about hiking the Fish River Canyon by Arno Pouwels.

Tell us about your experiences by sending us an email to adventures@scuttle.co.za. Alternatively share it with us on Facebook. We would love to hear from you.

Subscribe to get more Adventure secrets like this

Back to Adventures

An overnight hike in between cold fronts

By | Hiking | No Comments

Take a chance, win a prize

Distance from Cape Town: 1 hour

It was Friday lunch time, no plans for the weekend and the weather looked good. The last couple of weekends were spent in the comfort of home while the winter weather rolled through. No more sitting in front of the fire, listening to the rain. This weekend's weather seemed perfect for a quick overnight hike. No clouds in the forecast, so crisp but great for watching stars from your warm down sleeping bag.

For most, a lastminute decision like this leads to an increased heartrate but the reason for it can fall into 2 categories. Either it leads to stress due to the lack of planning and the unknown of what lies ahead or it leads to excitement knowing that from great risk comes great reward. Ideally it should be a bit of both as not all great adventures are planned to perfection but all great adventures lead to excitement. Our lastminute decision paid off. A fairly cold night was crowned by a beautiful sunrise the next morning. The colours were mesmerizing and after the third coffee it was time to explore. Luckily there was no rush to get back home. The rugby was only in the afternoon. What a trip. What an adventure. We made a note to do this more often.

Tell us about your lastminute adventure or ask us what you need by sending an email to adventures@scuttle.co.za or sharing on our Facebook.

Tell us about your experiences by sending us an email to adventures@scuttle.co.za. Alternatively share it with us on Facebook. We would love to hear from you.

Subscribe to get more Adventure secrets like this

Back to Adventures

Hiking to a Hidden Gem

By | Hiking | No Comments

Hidden cave in your back garden

Distance from you: go and find out

There is nothing like exploring your own "backyard" and coming across a hidden gem. Be it the most amazing waterfall you only see in movies or a colossal cave you dreamed about as a child. It is out there, waiting to be discovered. The reward is great and the effort, most of the time, very little. You just have to go and explore.

The photos below is of such an adventure. We had heard about this cave but was not sure where exactly it is or how much effort and "head for heights" it would take. We had to go with the little information that was available and find it. And what a find it was. It is a huge cave with lots of space and the most amazing views and it is next to a beautiful waterfall. Best time of the year to go is in winter as the waterfall makes you think you are sleeping next to the ocean (and drowns out any snoring from fellow hikers).

Tell us about your local hidden gem or your efforts to find it by sending an email to adventures@scuttle.co.za or sharing on our Facebook.

Tell us about your experiences by sending us an email to adventures@scuttle.co.za. Alternatively share it with us on Facebook. We would love to hear from you.

Subscribe to get more Adventure secrets like this

Back to Adventures