This week we climbed iNhlosane – something most Dargle residents have done.

iNhlosane at the head of the Dargle valley is one of the most obvious natural landmarks of the Midlands. The silhouette can be seen from as far away as Noordsberg.   The word Inhlosane translates as maiden’s breast – so named for it’s shape when viewed from the East.

Apparently, during the Bambatha Rebellion in 1906, war cries chanted on the peak echoed for miles across the valley, curdling the blood of white settlers, no doubt.  In 1945, a bonfire was lit on top of the mountain to celebrate the end of World War 2.

There is a band of sandstone about two thirds of the way up the mountain and a layer of dolerite just below the summit.  It is a pretty steep walk, but not very long. You could be up and back in three hours, if you didn’t want to linger too long on the top.

At 1976m above sea level, the 360 degree views are astonishing.

Local legend has it that on particularly clear days one is able to see the sea.  During mid-winter fire season, you can’t actually see very far at all, although the Drakensberg still dominates the west view, obviously.

We were lucky to be accompanied by Rosie – the hotel dog, who showed us the way, skipping ahead and waiting in the shade of boulders for us to catch up. The path is not difficult to find, though.As you reach the ridge, a stone cairn suggests you turn right to the peak. Good idea.

A stone wall runs along part of the ridge – we did wonder why it was built? By the Italian prisoners of war who built the other dry stone walls that criss cross the Dargle hills? Or perhaps it was much earlier?Not much is flowering at this time of year, however the hardy Buddleja saligna was blooming.  We also came across the low growing Buddleja loricata, which is only found at high altitudes.  There were masses of clumps of Watsonia evident on the slopes, so it must be spectacular in early summer. Tucked into shady crevices were splashes of green.The faded everlasting flowers sparkled in the sunshine.Once we reached the summit a celebratory picnic brunch was called for.A Gaudy Commodore butterfly joined us.There is lots of Ouhout along the ridge – sheltered amongst the boulders and with gnarled roots and stems growing around the rocks.Walking is one of the nicest ways to explore the Midlands and a hike up iNhlosane a very pleasant way to spend a morning. There are numerous different routes, but the simplest is to park at Everglades Hotel, pay the receptionist R10 and proceed from there. There is the option of cold beer when you descend too.

Latitude: -29.55 / Longitude: 29.933333

Evert van Bremem will lead a walk up the Western side from Old Furth later this year – watch our news bulletins for details.


7 thoughts on “iNhlosane

  1. When is the next hike up Inhlosane? I was booked to go on the Amblers one today but Dave Hancocks left without me although I did warn him that I had no idea where his house was and might get a little lost in Westville. Phoned him at 06h15 when I was already in Westville, to get help re the address given and lo and behold, he informed me that they had left already and were at Hillcrest! So much for helpful people!

  2. Once a year, the grade 8s and 12s from Michaelhouse in Balgowan make the 18 hour, 56km hike from the school, too the top of the mountain and back again. Starting at 00:00 in the morning on Sunday going all the way until 18:00 that night. It is a tradition which started in 1958.

    1. Michaelhouse boys have been making that trek for many years; I know that we did (1947 – 1950) and I’m sure long before that.

  3. Just a note on the old stone walls around Nhlosane; it would appear that most of them were built by British troops stationed in the area towards the end of the Anglo Boer War. The troops were awaiting their demobilisation after the war and they were put to work in this way to keep them busy until they were sent home. So they stand as sentinels of an era which truly changed SA and have endured for over 100 years now. As some of the troops were not farmers, some of the walls were not as well built as others and have almost disappeared back into the surrounding landscape. It is really a testament to those British farming stock soldiers that some of the walls are still extant today.

  4. Delightful memories of a magical morning out in the mountains with God`s beauty all around us and with us! Pips… a birthday banquet to remember! Our love, Barend and Helen B

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