Hello there!, boy oh boy am I glad I found this forum!.
Guys I need some advice please! ,I am new to hiking and I am planning on doing either the icidi gorge or the bell traverse 3day trails in the drakensberge…
but my problem is while doing some research on the interweb I saw in a article that states both the trails is extremly difficult, so my question is can it really be that bad?
Icidi pass is known to be the most difficult pass in the Drakensberg. The Bell Traverse is beautiful and not physically as hard as Icidi, but has exposed sections (i.e. mildly dangerous) and requires some navigational skill.
Why not start off with something easier and less dangerous to find your Drakensberg feet first? Something like going up with Organ Pipes pass and down Mlambonja (or the other way around) is a spectacular hike and good training.
PS: if you haven’t done a few Drakensberg multi-day hikes before, Icidi and Bell Traverse can be as bad as they say
I agree, Icidi is meant to be one of the harder passes out there. For a beginner route I would rather recommend the Mnweni - Rockeries loop route in the Mnweni area.
How new are you to hiking? Have you done wilderness hikes before? Where have you hiked? What would you rate your fitness as? It’s difficult to say how hard it would be without this sort of context.
Either way, yes, these are difficult routes. Fitness is one thing, but more important would be an adequate level of hiking experience. On a perfect day with a guide, you’d make it to the top. But the Drakensberg can be a dangerous place. You need to be aware of these dangers and know how to deal with them. People have died or been severely injured on the easiest berg hikes (read Tugela Falls/Sentinel via the chain ladders). If you haven’t wilderness hiked before, and are planning on self guiding, then I would say go for a simple one or two night outing to the lower berg or easier route to the escarpment (Sentinel) to build up this experience. If you are going guided, and are reasonably hiking fit, well then I’d say make sure your gear is good and go for it, but it is going to be one of the (if not the) most physically challenging things you’ve done. All places in the berg are beautiful and tough though, so if you are new, why not start with some of the easier routes to get your bearings, fitness and experience up. They still won’t disappoint.
Welcome! Not to reiterate what has been said before, but these two are serious passes (Icidid by far the harder of the two), but route finding will be an issue if you haven’t done them before, especially if you encounter rain or mist.
You can obtain much more information about many of the Drakensberg passes on Vertical-endevour.com (VE) as well as download tracks for these and other passes. You can also find out on VE if you can tag along, hikers post their planned trips on a thread called “Upcoming hikes”, which, if you are new to the Drakensberg is a very good idea as you will get to know the area with experienced hikers.
My suggestion for a first time hike (please note this is just my opinion, you are free to do as you like) is to go from camp to the lower berg (2000m to 2300m generally) on Day1, then on Day 2 you have the whole day to get to the top of the escarpment and sleep on top, and Day 3 go back down to the carpark.
As a very rough guideline, starting from the North, The Mnwenin area has long walk-ins and pretty rough terrain, below that Cahedral peak is the shortest way to get to the top (my preferred place to bring new hikers to the Drakensberg) with generally good trails. Then Moncs Cowl area is also really pretty with decent paths on the lower berg, but relatively few passes to get you to the top. Immediately South of here you will find my favourite area, Injasuthi, but to get to camp you need either really good offroad driving skills or a vehicle with good clearance. Generally good parths but overgrown in many places, but spectacular mountain passes, most without a decent trail so you are in for lots of bundu bashing and rock hopping. Gaints is a bit far from Gauteng (don’t know where you are from) but also great paths (difficult to get lost here) and relatively easy passes.
There you go, the rest is up to you