About Five Star Cave Hike

Start: Mnweni, northern Drakensberg
Finish: Mnweni valley
Fitness: moderate to difficult
Our tip: be aware that the area is rife with dagga smugglers; do not leave your hiking bags lying in the cave, nor venture out alone

Five star cave lies close to the junction of the Mbundini and Mnweni rivers, not far from the base of both Fangs and Mnweni passes (both of which are difficult to navigate, but Fangs is considered the better of the two).

(Five Star cave is also close to a number of dagga fields; anarchy goes hand in hand with the rugged beauty of the Mnweni, as it is not patrolled by parks authority or game rangers).

There are a number of caves (Five Star, Shepherd's and one known as Dagga Planter's cave) in the area, and hikers confuse them.

According to Vertical Ascent discussion forums, Five Star cave is immediately on the little 'berg ridge between the confluence of the Mbundini and Mnweni rivers. It lies at the base of the major cliff band on this ridge, obvious if you look up from the junction.

The advantage to using this cave is that it is well off the local dope train route, although it is arguable as to whether the experience is five star or not. It offers shelter for a party of between six and eight people.

Directly below this cave is another, often confused with Five Star cave, but called Dagga Planter's cave by hikers.

What makes it confusing is that on local maps, this is often marked as Five Star cave.

The higher of the two caves is roomier, and for this reason many hikers attribute a 'five star' quality to it.

Directly opposite Dagga Planter's Cave, across the Mbundini River, is another cave (possibly Shepherd's Cave).

And there are another two caves in the valley, close to the junction of the rivers.

If all else fails, the weather is good, and the group has tents, hike on the grassy bluff overlooking the Mbundini River.

Need to Know

WhereStart and fininsh in Mweni Valley, Drakensberg, KwaZulu Natal

WhenBest during daylight hours.

How muchFree

OvernightThe closest town is Mweni Valley, in KwaZulu Natal

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