Registration opens for South Africa youth trek
26 Nov 2008
The Mountain Club of South Africa (MCSA) is inviting young mountaineers to an international youth meet, "Trekking in South Africa's 'Dragon Mountains'".
The event is part of the Global Youth Summit 2009, and the first to be announced for the 2009 UIAA youth calendar, with many more to follow over the next few months.
"We in the MCSA are very excited about hosting what will be our first Global Youth Summit event in South Africa," says organiser Jenny Paterson.
It will take place from July 11-18, 2009, in the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, which has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Young hikers aged 16–25 from UIAA member federations can apply to take part.
The programme will include day walks in the valleys and a choice of multi-day bivouac trips either to higher altitudes (around 3,000m) or in the foothills called the Little Berg. The route choices will be adapted to the group's ability and experience, as well as weather conditions.
The price is 230 euros per person, which includes airport transfers, accommodation with members prior to the event if required, all meals during the camp and transport back to the airport, management and leadership. Accommodation will be in tents supplied by the organisers.
The deadline for registration is May 15, 2009, but as only a maximum of 12 people can take part, those interested are advised to apply early.
The name Drakensberg means Dragon mountains, and comes from a myth of fire-breathing monsters living there. The local Zulu people call the area uKhahlamba, which means "Barrier of Spears", referring to the shape of the sharp peaks.
The uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park contains 243,000 hectares of wilderness. With a mountain chain span of 150 km at an average altitude of 3,000m, it is Africa's highest range south of Kilimanjaro.
Visitors to the area will also experience the rich cultural heritage of the land: The San people (Bushmen) inhabited the Drakensberg from the late Stone Age times until the late nineteenth century. They left some of the finest and richest examples of rock art in the world: 30,000 individually painted images in 520 different rock shelters have been recorded in the park. The most common types of paintings are animal figures with many "eland", a buck that they considered sacred, and human figures showing their way of life.
Since 1920, the KwaZulu-Natal Section of the MCSA has organised a meet/camp in the Drakensberg every July, and the UIAA Youth Meet will use its infrastructure.
"It has for many years been the dream of my predecessor on the UIAA Youth Commission, Petro Grobler, that we should offer an opportunity like this to encourage member federations to send their youth to South Africa to experience the exhilaration and majesty of our Drakensberg," says an excited Paterson.
For more information and contact details please download the information pack and the application form.
"We look forward to welcoming participants here next year - no one ever visiting the Dragon Mountains has left there unaffected or unimpressed," says Paterson.