Safety in the Mountains

For Your Safety and Enjoyment in the Mountains From KZN Wildlife newsletter: The Drakensberg lies in the summer rainfall area of Southern Africa (October to March). During this time thunderstorms, accompanied by sleet and hail, can occur several days in succession. They are normally preceded by a small fluffy cloud build-up at high altitude by mid-morning. By midday, the storm is usually fully developed and lasts until mid-afternoon. This weather pattern makes early starts very important for the climber and hiker. During November through to February it is normally possible to begin walking by 7 a.m.
>From September to April it is also usual to get periods of several days of rain and mist shrouding the summits, making hiking very unpleasant, if not impossible. Daytime temperatures can become very high and may be accompanied by high humidity. When heading out into the mountains:

  • Always stick to paths unless specifically allowed to walk cross-country.
  • Close all gates.
  • Do not damage or disturb any flora or fauna.
  • Do not litter in anyway.
  • Do not camp in any cave that has San/Bushman rock paintings or artefacts in it.
  • Get permits if applicable.
  • Do not make fires outside of demarcated fire places.
  • Do not make fires in any caves.
  • Do not camp in game reserves unless specifically allowed to.
  • Do not take short cuts that can cause soil erosion.
  • Always take the time to complete the mountain register correctly and in detail as it is very often the only information the rescue team has to go on if you have an accident or get lost. Your life may depend on this information.
  • Remember that in certain areas you are entering Lesotho. If you intend hiking on the summit, carry a passport and your official KZNNCS receipt. Avoid crossing the border, if possible, by remaining close to the escarpment.
  • Never leave any equipment unattended, and place al your belongings inside your tent at night. Hiking parties should consist of a minimum of four people.
  • Do not camp near a stream or river as you could be washed away in a sudden storm.
  • The weather conditions can change very rapidly.
  • Always keep together and ensure that no-one falls behind.

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