My initial reaction to the first report was that it had been blown out of all proportion. These incidents have in recent years unfortunately occurred from time to time in all regions of the ‘Berg, in wilderness areas in ALL parts of the country and indeed all over the world. Some more serious than others.
A meeting of interested parties was held yesterday at Royal Natal National Park. I have gleaned the following from friends in the hospitality and adventure tourism businesses in the immediate area of Witzieshoek who are in the know. They also attended the meeting yesterday.
This does appear to have been a very serious attack indeed, and must be condemned and investigated.
- It happened kilometers from the immediate area of the chain ladders, way into Lesotho.
- There may, this is not sure, have been at least some provocation on behalf of the hikers.
- This happened at night and not in the day.
- The initial report by the official seems to have been ill advised and unfortunate, the press picked this up and ran with it.
- The chain ladders fall in OFS and Evemvelo KZN does not get the revenue from entrance fees.
Ongoing discussions are under way.
The chain ladders remain open to all as they should.
My advice to guests is as always—–
- Take good, honest advice, especially on overnight hikes.
- Be sensible.
- Go in small groups.
- Don’t underestimate the Drakensberg, especially doing peaks in a day.
- Respect the locals.
- Obey the rules.
- Enjoy the freedom of the hills !!!!