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This is the saddest July Camp letter I’ve had to write, but it is inevitable.

Due to Covid 19, we have had to cancel July Camp 2020.

It is also noted that, at present, Ezemvelo is probably not taking camp site bookings until the end of September. However, hope springs eternal in the human heart and we have not ruled out a special ‘July’ Camp towards the end of the year.

Apart from the huge ache of missing seeing each Camper, the July Camp Committee is deeply concerned about the serious impact of the necessary cancellation on the welfare of the five cooks who have been coming to July Camp for many years. Of the five, two are third generation supporters of the Camp, the grandsons of the legendary Ishmael Ndlovu, while the current Induna, Vusi, of course, is Ishmael’s son. Not only do these stalwarts come each year and joyfully give of their best under bitterly cold and difficult conditions, but they come from an extremely impoverished deep rural area, Rookdale, which is beyond Bergville. They all are unemployed.

July Camp will be giving each of them a token payment but in cannot be anywhere near the usual wages they receive and the extremely generous tips that July Campers have given so willingly over the years.
Several MCSA members have asked us if they can make contributions to the amounts that will be sent to the men, even though there will be no July Camp. We have arranged with the July Camp Treasurer, that contributions for the men can be made payable to the usual July Camp banking account. The closing date will be 30th June 2020. The banking details are:

Mountain Club of South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal Section, MCSA (KZN) Branch
Bank Standard Bank
Branch code 051001
Account number 051207141
Reference JC (for July Camp) STAFF

We trust that the pandemic will spike in October 2020, as is now being predicted, and that things will be back to normal so that we can host the next July Camp in 2021.

All the members of the July Camp Committee look forward to seeing you then!

Please be there.

Sadly yours,
Rikki Abbott Wedderburn
082 538 538 9

This year, after an absence of 9 years, once again, July Camp will be held in the majestic Injisuthi area (in the Central Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park). This area is described as ‘being cradled between the Injisuthi (Little Tugela) and Cowl Fork rivers at the head of the Injisuthi Valley; surrounded by magnificent scenery and dominated by Cathkin Peak, Monk’s Cowl and Champagne Castle’.

The Injisuthi area offers a dramatic and scenically rugged terrain with superb hiking in the Little Berg; backpacking on the Escarpment from Giant’s Castle to Champagne Castle and beyond, with a range of mountain passes in between; rock-climbing opportunities; and, if weather conditions are suitable, even opportunities for ice climbing or snowmen and snow ball fights! It has some superb examples of rock art (e.g. Battle Cave to which there are tours conducted by community guides at a cost of R200 per person with a minimum party size of four OR you can go there on your own at a charge of R80 per person. All the tours are arranged through the Camp Office), abundant bird life and the antelope for which the Berg is renowned.

Also small wildlife abounds – when we went up on the ‘recce’, the annual migration of white butterflies was at its most dramatic peak and it was like driving or walking through a sunny snowfall! The ruggedness of the terrain has precluded the development of a road beyond the small, beautiful hutted Camp, so Base Camp will be in the minimally developed Injisuthi Camp site. It is very invitingly yet simple and beautifully maintained Camp site. It has mown areas for tents, ablution facilities, running water and sufficient longer grass and trees for a pleasing degree of privacy and good shelter from the wind which has been most unwelcome visitor in the past.

Having the ‘July’ Camp in this excellent Camp Site will also please the many Campers who reveled in the ‘home comforts’ we enjoyed at the Centenary July Camp last year. Yet another attraction is the Camp site is within very, very easy walking distance from the JULY CAMP sign-posted parking site, just before one gets to the Camp Office. This will be a Base Camp with a difference! The “July” Camp will run from Friday 19th June to Sunday 28th June 2020 to fit in with the provincial school holidays. Although it will be taking place in June, we are still calling it ‘July’ Camp to avoid confusion and to maintain the tradition! Campers are most welcome to attend for the whole period, or for just a few days.

Space may be limited, so please book early.

‘July’ Camp 2020 at Injisuthi will offer:

  • superb sub-camps and long hikes in the Little Berg and/or on the Escarpment
  • satisfying day walks with views, forests, waterfalls, streams and spectacular rock formations
  • excellent opportunities for game viewing, bird-watching and Berg photography
  • visits to rock art sites
  • time to absorb the incredible beauty of the area
  • opportunities for rock parties to do some climbing, provided that there are rock leaders in the group
  • fishing for the ardent or the casual fisherfolk.

July Camp 2020 Brochure and Application Form (PDF | 222 Kb)