drakensberg northern trail
In 2015 Skyrunning was really taking off in RSA, but the Drakensberg in KZN had no offerings on the circuit. This seemed bizarre considering its status, but as we would discover the high berg offered very few options with most of declared Wilderness and unavailable to formal events. We knew we wanted to go North and find a trail well positioned between Durban, JHB and Bloemfontein and the top of Oliviershoek presented itself as an obvious place using the lower ‘Berg and its ridges.
With the help of the Zunckels from Bergville we were introduced to Craig van Rensberg who was busy renovating the Windmill cottages having recently purchased the establishment. We established a few possible routes before seeking permission from all the land owners. For the long course we put together a large loop, this idea has to be abandoned when one of the main land owners simply would not entertain the idea of us running on his land. Fortunately everyone else was right behind the idea, so we reworked the route to run back on itself in parts along the higher ridges, avoiding prohibited lands. This brought in what is probably the most famous part of the Marathon Course, Vulture Pass, a torturously steep climb not long after the main aid station at Greenfire Lodge.