On Tuesday morning I woke up at 5 am and I warmed up the car, and I was ready to go, but just as I was leaving the house I had to go back inside and work till 10 am, as I had no option but to get the work done before I left.
I wasn’t sure if it was even worth going now, knowing very well that it would be crazy to try and hike up the first two days of the hike in only an afternoon. I just hoped that I would get to the top of Judge’s Pass before sunset at 7 pm. I finally got in my car at 10 am and drove to the Drakensberg.
The Trek Up The Drakensberg Escarpment
I started my solo hike up from Injisuthi Camp at 12:10 pm, knowing that I had left rather late, I raced without stopping to try to get to the top of Judge’s Pass before 7 pm. The scenery along the hike up was truly magnificent and the views were mesmerizing. I couldn’t believe how tall the mountains were while I was climbing up the escapement and once I thought I was at the top, it just kept going up and up.
I got up to Judge’s Pass at 6 pm and I pushed to try and get up the last 300 meters of the pass before sunset. Unfortunately, as I was almost at the top I was briefly disoriented and my GPS started shifting and giving me false readings. I took a wrong turn while bouldering up the very top part of the pass and took a dangerous wrong turn just as night hit and I almost got stuck on the cliff face for the night. I had to stay calm and find a way back down for around 50 meters to get back to the path and get back on track up the pass again.
Arriving in Lesotho on top of the Drakensberg
I walked across the top of the escarpment for almost 3 hours in complete darkness and made my last climb towards Injisuthi Summit Cave which was a tough climb at night and I left going off the path and having to walk back towards it using my GPS.
About 500 meters from the Injesuthi Summit Cave, I got lost again and I couldn’t find it. Funny enough just as I got lost, I gained cellphone signal so I was able to call home and tell my family that I am very close to the cave but it’s so dark that I can’t find it. I walked towards a black wall which I made out must have been the cliff face, but I still couldn’t see a cave. As I got closer to where it said on the map that the cave was, I was reassured by the loudest snoring that channeled out of the cave opening like a megaphone. It was music to my ears and I began to climb quickly to the entrance of the cave where I saw humans for the first time since early that afternoon. My arrival time at the cave was 10:45pm
Injesuthi Summit Cave
At the cave, I finally meet up with my friends Jonathan and Danny. The plan was to get to the cave that evening so we could all summit together in the morning. I have wanted to climb this peak for a few months now but I never got around to it, so when Jonathan told me that they were going to climb it, I tried my hardest to get there on time to summit with them. If it wasn’t for them wanting to climb it, I don’t think I would have even gone to climb it.
Summiting Mafadi Peak
The next morning we woke up and left the cave, and arrived at the summit of Mafadi at around 9 am. We took photos and shook hands, and with a great sense of accomplishment, we began our hike back down towards Lesley’s pass.
At the top of Lesley’s Pass, I said bye bye to Jonathan and Danny and started a fast pace down the pass.
I got lost halfway down but it was worth it because I found a beautiful Berg Adder right next to where I went to fill up my water bottle in the river. After spending a few minutes with the snake, I checked my GPS and saw that I had to climb back up another 100 meters to get to the path again.
The last stretch
Once I was back on the path, I continued to walk down the pass and towards Marble Baths Cave and carried on towards the Injisuthi Camp. After walking 24,27km on the first day and 27,30km on and the second day, I arrived back at the camp and finished my hike at 6:32pm.
This was one of the hardest hikes that I have done but what an awesome adventure it was!