A total of six contacted me to find out what I had in mind for the overnight trip in the Groot Drakenstein mountains on the 22nd and 23rd May. At the end there was only Pieter who was able to join me on this nostalgic walk around the base of Dragon buttress and Buller’s kop. We started from the security gate – where overnight parking is possible – at the Kylemore entrance to the Old Bethlehem farm. We visited first the old ruin, site of the Banhoekhut (photo 1) that was destroyed by fire in 1999 and the first waterfall (photo 2) in Eikehofkloof.
The good rain we had in the week made a spectacular display of waterpower in the kloofs ahead. The Banhoek Concervancy has constructed new trails partly following old climber’s paths at the foot of these mountains and does ongoing work with the clearing out of alien vegetation. Crossing the ‘Piet-my-vrou’ kloof (now Volstruiskloof) we followed an old climbers B route up Buller’s kop. After the first gully we left our packs and traversed into Volstruiskloof for a view at the double 60m abseil (photo 3) with a stance over the baby’s pool and view of the famous Xanadu cave (photo 4).
Here we heard the operation of chainsaws cutting down big pine trees on the higher slopes above Xanadu cave. A total of over the 1000 pines were cut down at the hands of Theunis Cilliers and Leon Visser who started their work last year during Corona lockdown periodes. Back tracking to our packs we continued up the next gully and arrived at the big cave (photo 5) described by CW Spottiswoode in the 1960 Journal. To the right of the cave is a waterfall (photo 6) making it an ideal spot to overnight.
Just before sunset Theunis Cilliers after a hard day’s work joined us. Next day after packing up we left our bags at the gully and traversed out on our right just to view a third cave, both caves are not visible from helshoogte pass. We went down the same way we came up. All in all the successful trip in which we visited three waterfalls and three caves.