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Epic Drakensberg

14 Mar 2020 - 21 Mar 2020  |  £1350

What to Expect

The Drakensberg is a spectacular mountain escarpment in the heart of South Africa. Also known by the Zulus as uKhahlamba, The Barrier of Spears, it includes vast cliffs, jagged ridge lines and endless pinnacles. With incredible weather conditions and awe inspiring scenery this is a UNESCO World Heritage site and prime photographic location that remains completely off the beaten track.

In the mornings mist swirls around the valleys below with the bark of baboons echoing off basalt cliffs. Cape Vultures, Lammergeier and eagles soar overhead. In the afternoon thunderstorms crash around the mountains often bringing dramatic lighting conditions. During this 6 day partially portered trip we will backpack along the top of the escarpment staying at altitudes over 3000m. This is the ultimate landscape photography trip incorporating genuine adventure, total remoteness and spectacular scenery.

AT A GLANCE

MountainPhotography
ActivityBackpacking
AccomodationTents
AccomodationB and B
PhysicalityModerate
Group SizeFive
Duration8 days

Booking

Please pay the deposit to reserve your spot.

Itinerary

Each day we will get up to shoot sunrise from the cliffs. After breakfast we will start hiking among the hills of Lesotho. We will cover moderate distances each day (around 10-15km) and aim to set up camp around midday. Our campsites are in the most picturesque locations possible. In the afternoon and evening we will photograph spectacular vistas and watch thunderstorms form.

During the trip we will camp opposite the world's second highest waterfall, Tugela, swim in high mountain streams, visit vulture colonies and take in the most notable features of the Northern Berg. Once we have left the Amphitheatre we will be in a remote landscape which few photographers have ever visited. Our Zulu guide, Zee, will provide insight into the landscape and people whilst porters will take some of the load off your back! We will hike among the beautiful rolling hills of Lesotho and often run into local Basotho shepherds and their livestock of sheep, cows, goats and donkeys. At various points along the hike, and at the end of each day, we emerge at the edge to awe-inspiring views.

Tuition

I will be on hand at all times to help you with your images should you wish. With a modest group size (maximum 5) there will be plenty of opportunity for 1-to-1 time. On the other hand advanced photographers have often joined me on these trips to expand their horizons.  The level of independence and tuition is entirely flexible, depending on individual interests and needs.

Fitness And Experience

At this altitude the oxygen levels are only 70% of what you might be used to at sea level, but the distances we are covering are not significant. We will contour the hills as much as possible to avoid significant elevation changes. The group will have the use of 5 porters, each of whom can carry 8kg. Based on this you can anticipate your backpack weighing around 16kg at the start of the trip and 10kg once you have eaten all your food! You do not need prior backpacking experience to come on this trip however you should be walking fit and free from injury. One the final day we will descend over 1000m down Ntonjelana Pass, this will be a long day.

Equipment

I can provide high end lightweight camping equipment perfectly suited for the trip. This includes Terra Nova Quasar tents, Rab Neutrino 400 sleeping bags and NeoAir Xtherm sleeping mats. If however you would prefer to use your own sleeping kit, or bring your own tent then you are welcome to. A full equipment list will be sent out at a later date.

Accommodation

At either end of the trip we will be staying in hotel/guesthouse accommodation. Otherwise we will be camping every night in mountain tents.

Additional Expenses

The trip does not include flights, insurance or food and drink. It does include transport from Johannesburg to the Drakensberg.

Transport

There are regular worldwide flights to Johannesburg. Flights from Europe are overnight. You should aim to catch a flight  Friday 13th March landing some time before 11am on Saturday the 14th March when we will meet. A 4-hour private minibus drive takes us to the Drakensberg. Return flights should be booked for after 5pm of Saturday 21st March from Johannesburg airport. (For those wishing to extend their trip there are cheap connecting flights to Cape Town). Extra luggage not coming on the hike will be stored and transferred for you between the start and end of the trip.

Price And Booking

This workshop is priced at £1350 with a £350 deposit required to book your place. The remaining £1000 is due 2 months before departure.

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