Details of the 3 Day Cathedral Peak Hike-19km in 3 days
Join us on this 3 day, 2 night Cathedral Peak Hike in the central part of the Drakensberg mountains. The hike is perfect for novice hikers or for those of you who would like to experience the magic of the Drakensberg. The hike is fully supported so you don’t need to worry about the logistics, food, equipment and route.
Dates of the Cathedral Peak Hike
12-14 March 2021
Cost of the hike
R1,800 per person
Seems expensive? (seems like a quote is in hand compliments of A Guy called Ritchie) Well, this seems to be a complete waste of our time. Service and hiking fees for this calibre of fun and challenge is R5,000 in any country you’re lucky enough to find one in. And you’re haggling over the price? What school of finance did you come from? “It’s a deal, it’s a steal, it’s the Sale of the Century!” In fact, I think we’ll keep it!
What the cost includes
- Hiking Permits for 3 days
- Breakfast and dinner on the mountain
- Cooking and eating utensils
- Rope and harnesses for the exposed sections
- Medical kit
- Sleeping bags
- Sleeping mats
- 24 dad jokes
What the cost excludes
- Transport from JHB. Sorry folks. Covid causing havoc with our plans. We used to provide transport but people freak out about being in same car with others.
- Porters ( they can be hired for R400 a day). But you won’t need. The first and last day are short hikes.
- Lunches/snacks on the hike
- Your hiking equipment/clothing
- My wife
- Us putting up with your moaning. We are willing to accept a reasonable amount of moaning. And by reasonable, I don’t mean the whole day. That’s liable to earn you a Burmese-roundhouse-sphincter-kick with a follow up of the three fingered eye-jab. Would it hurt? Hell yes!!Let’s just say that you won’t be the prettiest person at a Justin Bieber concert anymore….it’s also quite difficult to pick up your teeth with broken fingers
How to make a booking?
Each person in your group would have to complete the online booking form. the link is detailed booking form
When is payment due and how do I pay?
Payment to secure your booking is due by 8 March. Payment can be made into our bank account below. Please use you name as reference:
Account Type: Cheque
Account name: Soul Mountaineering
Account no: 10438938099
Where do you have to meet on 12 March and the time?
You will need to meet us at the parking area at the Cathedral Peak Hotel. The meeting time is 10:30am.
Cathedral Peak Hiking trail distances and daily itinerary
The total distance covered on the Cathedral Peak hike is about 20km broken up as follows:
Day 1: 12 March
Duration: 2 hours
Altitude Gain: 400m
Camp: Sherman’s Cave
We meet at the hotel parking by 10:30am. After a briefing and equipment check we start the hike by 11:30am. A relatively easy day today. A few steep sections but they are short lived. There is one river crossing at the beginning of the hike. Usually the water comes up to your knees. If it more hectic than that, we may decide to take an alternative route through the golf course. We should be in Shermans Cave by about 3pm. We then start the nesting process, have a cup of coffee and get cozy. The cave is more of an overhang. We will be sleeping next to each other. No privacy I’m afraid. So you will need to take a short walk to sort out the sweaty clothing and armpit issue. There is a river close by you can use to refresh yourself in. NO SOAP OR ANY OTHER ECOLOGICALLY HARMFULL COSMETICS ALLOWED. We will prepare dinner from about 6pm.
Day 2: 13 March
Duration: 8-10 hours hours
Altitude Gain: 900 m
Camp: Sherman’s Cave
Wake up call is at 5:30 am. Breakfast and hot water will be ready from 6am. We aim to start the hike by 7am. YOU WILL ONLY NEED A DAY PACK TODAY WHICH WILL INCLUDE YOUR SNACKS, WATER AND WATRERPROOF GEAR. The objective is to hike to the summit of Cathedral Peak, have a cry on the top and descend gain via the same route. Comprende? We will be ascending about 900m. It will be tough going. But we take it slow. Most of the route is non technical and provides easy walking conditions. The gradient in some parts might slow you, but you will bee rewarded with some flat parts to.
WARNING!!!!! The last 500m to the summit of Cathedral Peak has a few exposed sections that can be quite intimidating for some-especially if you are scared of heights. The final push to the top involves a bit of scrambling on some steep and exposed paths. We will set up ropes and provide harnesses for the more challenging sections. If you are not comfortable with this part of the hike, stress not. You do not have to do it. You can return to camp or chill out and wait for us to summit. The route down follows the same path up. We should be back in the cave by about 5:30pm. Once again, hot water, inner thigh massages and dinner will be prepared.
Day 3: 14 March
Duration: 2 hours
Altitude Drop: 500m
The last day of hiking. Wake up at 6am, have breakfast and start hiking by 7:30am. We should be back at the Cathedral Peak Hotel by about by about 9:30am. We usually chill out on the hotel terrace before everyone departs.
Is this hike too difficult for me?
Why do you say yes?
Because you are asking the question
What Soul Adventures supplies on the hike?
This is what we supply on the trip. Please refer to the section on what you will need to bring
- 2 man tents ( we will use tents if we cannot get availability in the cave)
- Cup, spoon and bowl.
- Park Fees
- Breakfast on the mountain (x2)
- Dinner on the mountain (x2)
- Sleeping bags if you need
- Backpacks if you need
- Sleeping mats if you need
- Ropes and harnesses for the exposed summit sections
What we DO NOT supply on the hike
- Porters (you will be required to carry your own backpack with sleeping bag, snacks and clothing)
- Blister medication
- Erotic massages
- Transport from JHB ( until covid decides to voetsak)
Do I get my own tent if we have to use them?
Yes you will. Social distancing protocol. Of course if you are a couple then you will get a tent that you can share. No hanky panky in the blankie.
Things to know about sleeping in Shermans Cave
If you like your privacy then we will give you a tent. The cave can sleep up to 12 people. But of course with social distancing we will gave to cut that down to 6 people. If the group is bigger than 6, we will set up tents just above the cave ( about a 5 min walk away). Okay…so back to the cave. If you are sleeping in the cave please take into consideration that your privacy will be limited. Getting changed, having a wetwipe bath will be difficult. You could take a 5min walk to the river to refresh and change. HOWEVER….we are in the mountains. What if it is pouring with rain? Hmmm. Then you are going to have to improvise. and no, it is not your guides fault it is raining and you are grumpy.
Very important. Dial 6 now and asked for Dave
What about lunch?
Our modus Operandi in the mountains is all about keeping the rhythm and momentum going. We take breaks every 45 minutes for about 10 minutes. That gives you time to fuel upon snacks, energy bars, nuts etc.
What do we suggest for snacks?
You are going to need snacks for basically 4 days. Now don’t go stock up on heavy, bulky stuff. We suggest a mixture of nuts, biltong, energy bars, and dried fruit. And try compartmentalizing the food into small zip lock bags for ease of use and convenience. You may want to also consider a powdered energy drink or rehydrate solution to help with energy. Just bare in mind you are going to be burning some serious calories. And for all you protein only type, may we suggest you drop that idea for this hike. Try and get snacks that cover carbohydrates ( 60% of your RDA), Fats (20% of your RDA) and protein (30 % of your RDA).
What equipment would I need for the hike?
Ok, so you are going to spending 2 nights in the mountains. So you are going to need to have the correct equipment to survive in the mountains. Sounds dramatic I know but safety first. We are not going to be spending the night on top of the escarpment where conditions can get bad. We are spending both nights in Shermans Cave which is in the lower regions. So the conditions wont get as hectic as on the top.
These are the basic things you will need, but please check out the following links for a more detailed description.
- A 65 to 75 litre backpack ( it must be able to fit your sleeping bag, clothing, snacks, water, sleeping mat). A 35 LITRE DAYPACK IS NOT SUFFICIENT (unless you can fit all your stuff in it. And good luck with that we say)
- Sleeping bag that can handle 10 Degrees Celcius-it is summer and the cave is protected and usually not too cold. ( Of course you can sleep in your fleece jersey if you feel cold. A good sleeping bag liner also adds a few degrees to the sleeping bag rating)
- Warm fleece and waterproof jacket. The rainy season is here, we always prepare for the worst. Getting wet in the Drakensberg can be potentially dangerous and lead to hypothermia.
- 500g of Powdered water ( in case the rivers are dry)
What should the weight of the backpack be?
The guideline is not more than a third of your body weight. The average weight is about 12kg.
What are the hiking conditions, terrain and difficulty levels like on the hike?
So, mountains are not easy. There are going to be some challenging sections that are going to need you to dig deep mentally as well as physically. The paths are mostly single track and sometimes hug the edge of the mountain. And yes….there is going to be a lot of ‘uphills’. But stress not. It’s not the mountain you conquer but yourself. We will mentally guide you through the tough sections to help you get to the top. But for the most part, the hike is pretty easy and a moderate level of fitness will see you survive with maybe a few sore leg muscles as a reminder of the awesome hike you just completed. To give you an idea of the difficulty, we average between 1 and 1.5 km/h. This is due to various factors like the gradient, terrain, weather conditions, fatigue, altitude and hiding from the coronavirus.
What if it rains?
So what if it rains you ask? Well then we dish out a big dollop of sympathy and carry on with the hike. Obviously you are going to have to ensure you have all of your bags and yourself waterproofed.
Rainy Seasons are from October to March. The chances of rain and thunderstoems is high. But again…we are dealing with mountains and they have their own set of agendas and love working with Murphy and his band of merry law makers. We will check the weather a few days prior to the trip to see if their is a chance of rain. But if Murphy decides to send a cold front, then we need to be prepared.
How do I go about waterproofing my gear?
Okay so the first thing you will need is a rain jacket to keep yourself dry.
What we suggest for your gear is pretty simple. You will need 3 waterproof bags. (Either thick plastic bags or the more expensive waterproof bags that can seal-you can get both from a reputable hiking or outdoor retail shop). The first bag you use for your clothing. It must be large enough to fit all your clothing. The second bag is for your sleeping bag. You do not want to get this wet!!!!. The third bag is for your sleeping mat.
And over all of this you will need a backpack rain cover for extra protection. And also a few zip lock bags to keep your cell phone and toilet paper dry.
Do I need Gaitors?
If you are asking ‘what are those?’ then probably not. In fact I have never worn them and I have been up there like 50 times. Gaitors are used to keep snow out of your boots. And rain. But I find my hiking pants cover the boots so they keep the rain out. And the possibility of snow is minimal.
Do I need hiking boots or are trail shoes sufficient?
Yeah you can get away with trail shoes. Just bear in mind that if it rains you are going to get wet feet. If you cool with that and promise not to bleat in our poor guides ear about wet feet..then we cool with it.
Water bottles vs bladders
If you are looking for approval on a bladder then you’ve come to the wrong place. I have spent way too much time in the mountains to see the disadvantages of a bladder. They are squishy. They are difficult to pack in your backpack. They leak. The mouth pieces break. And they are not easy to fill with water which is sometimes a freezing trickle from a rock. And you never know how much you have drunk. I prefer 2x 1 litre Nalgene water bottles with a wide mouth- Easy to fill up-Easy to drink from- Versatile. Easy to clean.
Where do we get water from?
You will need to carry 35 litres of water in your backpack. No? Okay then join us in drinking the pure Drakensberg water. There are streams along the way to hydrate and fill up from. We will advise you on where they are so you never run out.
Do we need water purification tablets?
No. The water in the Drakensberg is pure. No human settlement and no animals to pollute the water. Sometimes you get a few floating things like grass and the likes but nothing that will kill you. And water purification drops are not going to dissolve the grass particles either. We have never had an upset stomach from the water.
What about wees and poohs?
Okay so there are a few rules and procedures when it comes to this wonderful human experience in the mountains. First of all let us star of by telling you that there are no toilets in the mountains. Eish. So you are going to have to find a suitable spot for your business. The modus operandi? Dig a whole and a) burn the toilet paper or b) keep it in a ziplock bag and carry the paper out with you. We leave the mountain as we found it!!!! No trace that we were ever there. And of course you are going to have to bear with us in terms of where you can go. The mountain is pretty limited in terms of space due to the terrain. And privacy is also a big concern. So we will work out a plan on the mountain in terms of how where and how. All part of the experience right?
How do I wash or keep myself clean?
There are obviously no showers in the mountains. And we can’t fit any in our backpacks . So you are going to have to live with the fact that you are going 3 days without a shower. And there is no bathing in the rivers allowed either!!! Unless you are brave enough to jump in without soap. We respect our rivers and would like to keep them as pristine as possible. Having said that, there are no rivers really on the hike big enough to swim in. So…..its wetwipes and hand sanitizer to keep you all fresh and lovely smelling I’m afraid. And bear in mind you are going to be sharing a tent with a possible soul mate so keep those smelly feet under control.
What are we going to be eating on the hike?
So we are going to be bringing our very own mountain chefess Emma, who has worked out the art of creating tasty and nutritious food in the mountains.
Breakfast: oats with peanut butter, honey and cinnamon.
Dinners: Depending on her mood, Emma will conjure up a really cool meal. We keep things pretty healthy. So no 2 minute noodles. She will create stews with quinoa, couscous, potatoes, onions, vegetables and a secret sauce with either smoked chicken or tuna. Obviously if you are vegetarian there will be a vegetarian version. We have your booking forms with your requirements so stress not. And please be kind to Emma. Cooking in the mountains is not easy. And we don’t want you to get the ‘special’ order
What happens at meal times?
You will be assigned a plate, spoon and cup at the beginning of the hike. It is yours for the duration of the hike. At meal times you present yourself in an orderly fashion please ( no biting, scratching or pushing allowed) and help yourself to Emmas delicious food. Buffet…. but mountain style!!! After you have finished eating, there will be a bowl of hot water for you to clean your bowl, spoon and cup with. Then of course……put them away safely for the next meal. You don’t want to be eating with your hands from a rock if you misplace them. At the end of the hike we will collect the mountain cutlery from you again.
It’s my first overnight hike ever and I pretty freaked out!!!
That’s super cool. In fact 80% of the people joining the group are also on their first overnight hike. So there will be a lot of people walking the same path as you. So take it easy and enjoy the experience. Of course there is going to be pre-climb anxiety. That is super normal. We have been taking people up mountains all over the world and it is normal. Let’s face it…you are on an adventure. It’s not meant to be predictable. Adventure is all about stepping out of your comfort zone into a world of uncertainty. And that is what mountains are all about- Uncertainty. We deal with whatever comes our way. Bad weather, cold, smelly socks etc etc.
Please be kind and understanding to our guides.
Sometimes things cannot go according to plan in the mountains. Sometimes there are things that are beyond our control. Sometimes decisions are made or change of hiking plans. We are in the mountains. Please be patient and understanding with our guides. I promise you they will be trying their best (sometimes under some hectic conditions) to make you experience the best ever.
Can I bring alcohol on the hike?
Okay so a debatable topic. We are inclined to say yes but in limited quantities. Not some messed-up skunk, class A, can’t-think-let-a-lone-move stuff. And no glass bottles please. . Decanter the wine or whisky into a plastic bottle- It’s lighter to carry and you can just squish the bottle when empty.
How many people on the hike?
Between 6 and 12. Final numbers not confirmed
Is there cell phone reception:
Yes. On 60% of the hike. It’s not the best signal but you should be able to make a call or wottsup. But please be considerate to fellow hikers. No late night heavy breathing calls to your loved ones.
Music on the mountains?
Absolutely not!! We are here to experience the peace and quiet that the mountains so feely give. And of course there is the courtesy factor as well. The chances of everyone liking your music are pretty low. So we rather go with the ‘no music policy’ to keep the peace.
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