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Saturday, 7 April 2012

Road to Loteni (3).

Land of mountains, trout streams, water falls and birds.

After about 3 travelling  we finally turned onto the road leading into the Loteni Nature Reserve. The first part of the road goes through Zulu tribal and with beautiful stretches of the Loteni river flowing alongside. Every bit looked like it could hold nice fish. To fish here one would need to get permission from the local Induna (Chief), and he might live miles from here.

Click on photos to enlarge.

Bridge crossing the Loteni river, looking upstream. This photo was taken as we were leaving. Photo credit Enrico Bucceri.

Looking downstream from the bridge.

The first bird we saw on entering the park was this Jackal buzzard, (Buteo rufofuscus).Preferred habitat mountainous country up to 3,000 metres. Prey; small mammals up to the size of a hare, it will also take lizards, frogs and insects. Name is a result of it's jackal like call.

Tributary of the Loteni stream, crystal clear water. This stream joined the Loteni about 20 metres further down.

Took this photo of the water in the tributary from the small road bridge crossing the stream. Water from streams in the Drakensberg is drinkable as is, no purification necessary.

Detail of the tributary showing it's decent in shallow steps, a small stream fly fishers dream. I hope to go camping at Loteni in about 2 weeks time and I'm going to fish this little stream, Lord willing. A 2 weight, or even lighter fly rod will do very nicely here. There many of these small streams here in the Loteni valley, one could almost spend a lifetime fishing them.

Another beautiful waterfall tumbling down the foothills of the Drakensberg.

Zoomed out view of the same waterfall. This photo gives you some idea of the ruggedness of the area. Somewhere down in that gorge, another small stream.

Loteni river with the Drakensberg escarpment in the distance, towering 3,000 metres above sea level.

In a previous post I wrote about the Mountain Rescue Register. Every entry point into the Drakensberg Wilderness Reserve has a Register. This register has to be filled in if you wish to hike or camp in the Berg. All relevant details, such as number of persons in the party, contact numbers, address, etc., - when hiking in the High Berg a minimum number of three persons is advised -, route to be hiked, (as exactly as possible) how far, how many days and when you will return. There are detailed hiking maps available at the Mountain Rescue Register. When you exit you have to sign out. If you don't return when you said you would a rescue party is sent out to look for you. Woe betide you if you returned and left without signing out, you will have made a lot of people very, very angry.

Part of the entrance fee to the reserve goes into a special rescue fund to cover rescue expenses. South Africa has highly skilled and experienced mountain rescue teams throughout the country. They consist experienced members of the South African Mountain Club, who are called in to help rescue people in trouble or lost on any mountain in South Africa. (These are all volunteers who drop whatever they are doing to rescue people, sometimes at extreme risk to their own lives). Police and Air Force helicopters are also available for rescue operations. 

The Drakensberg can be extremely dangerous, like any other mountainous region in the world. In a matter of minutes the weather can change from sunny and warm to freezing cold, snow storms can occur in any month of the year even mid summer. During the summer months violent thunder storms occurring  almost every day in the High Berg.

Next post, fly fishing and wild brown trout.


Shoreman said...

The registry is a good idea. One can't be too safe in that kind of country.


OneStonedCrow said...

Goodness - you do live in a spectacular part of Africa - I can well imagine that the Mountains could turn angry quickly ...

... do you speak Zulu?

Phillip said...

One Stoned Crow,

I do speak Zulu, but I would not call myself a Zulu linguist.

Jo said...

Hi Phil, seems surreal to see these photos on your post when I saw them sitting next to you at your laptop last week. The wonderful world of technology. It was good to see you again. Love Jo