In the gorge with conservancy

2016-08-09 06:00
The Beacon Trail

The Beacon Trail

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THIS month we walk a trail that requires some effort, but has many rewards.

Starting at the Kloof Falls Picnic Site you follow the route for the Molweni (yellow) trail for the first kilometer. This takes you past the Crowned Eagle’s Nest at Ronald’s Kloof and right now you can observe the eagles nesting as there are two eggs in the nest. Just after the Ronald’s Kloof the path splits and you turn right onto the Beacon (orange) trail.

The trail meanders through a scarp forest, but as it is on the eastern side of the gorge, this forest is not as dense as that in the western side since it gets less light. At some point you will arrive at a QR Code for ant-lions and under the rock ledge you will be able to observe these fascinating creatures that make inverted sand cones to trap small insects, mainly ants. Once the insect has stepped into the cone they begin to slide done to the bottom where the ant-lions snatch them with their powerful pincers.

Shortly after this spot you will climb a wooden ladder at what is known as the Windsor Road Gulley. Once at the top you can stroll to the view site at the climbing spot known as Boothill. From here you have a great view of Ronald’s Kloof and the main view site across the gorge off Bridle Road.

Continue along the trail and you soon exit the forest and you are then into the open KZN Sandstone Sourveld grassland at the Lingwood Trig Beacon (altitude 499,9m amsl). These beacons were used by the surveyor general to map out the whole of South Africa, but today GPS technology is used. From here you have a 360degree view of the area and on a clear day you can see the ships out at sea near Umhlanga.

Continue on the well marked path until you cross the Uve Stream and shortly thereafter there is the Uve Road exit.

This is a one-way route so you need to either arrange to be picked up at the end or retrace your steps back to the start.

Difficulty: Allow two hours (one way). This trail has moderate difficulty with some steep climbs.

Security: Walking in the reserve is safe – normal precautions apply when walking in isolated areas.- Paolo Candotti

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