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