The Cavern and Royal Drakensberg Big 5 Hike Sold Out

Big 5 Hike – Sold Out and Fully Booked!

These are wonderful words to hear on the eve of the 2016 Big Five Hike, a fund-raising mission set to raise R 600 000.00 for the Royal Drakensberg Primary School at The Cavern in a rural valley in the northern Berg.

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Today, the 14th of May, 75 hikers set off on the epic 17 km trek to the summits of five peaks in the majestic mountain range surrounding the infamous resort of “Many Happy Returns”. A walking for education initiative, each step planted on this soil will be with the intention to improve learning conditions for rural children.

The Cavern will opened their doors, free of charge, to all participants for the weekend. “We lay on the food, drinks and accommodation in support of the hikers and the atmosphere is great. It’s a real celebration,” says Megan Bedingham, co-owner of the Cavern and founder of the Royal Drakensberg Primary School. All hikers get to summit Hlolela (2127m), Battleship, Sugar Loaf, Cold Hill and Camel’s Hump, while taking in the wonders of the magnificent natural heritage including Devil’s Staircase and Cannibal Cave. There are snack stops along the way and a festive prize-giving the end.

Last year 65 hikers raised R 450 000.00, which went towards paying teachers’ salaries, transport costs for the children who live in AmaZizi, as well as computers for the technology classroom.

These hikers are champions,” says Georgina Carter, participant and event coordinator. “Each person donates R 5 500.00 to take part, corporates give up to R 20 000.00 to claim a summit for the year, and aside from an incredible social weekend, the quality of primary education for 75 children, many from very poor households, is significantly enhanced.”
Like many good ideas that are hatched around a dinner table with friends and good wine, the concept of the Big Five Hike was born in 2014. Megan wanted to celebrate her late grandmother’s 103rd birthday by raising funds for the primary school.
On Gogo Ruth’s birthday, 19 friends and I set out to hike the first Big Five Hike and we managed to raise our target of R103 000.00. We did it! And realized that this could be an annual event, so here we are… now, in our third year.”
“It’s amazing to see how a small idea can snowball into a huge group effort that gathers momentum and enables so many lives to be profoundly improved,” says Megan’s sister, Lesley Carte. “The spirit of the weekend is fuelled with positivity: Hikers are clearly uplifted by the sense of accomplishment that goes with contributing to a cause greater than oneself and it’s quite simply magical to see the effect of one person’s decision to benefit another. It’s almost contagious!

Hiking and giving at the same time, in an area of outstanding natural beauty with a group of enlightened people is the feel-good factor in overdrive.

There’s one last sponsorship opportunity up for grabs and that is for Moya, the loyal (and extremely fit) Cavern hound! She keenly traverses the hills with the intrepid hikers, so if you’d like to sponsor her, or register to take part in next year’s Big Five Hike, email:

For more info, visit

To donate, visit
Royal Drakensberg Primary School Society
First National Bank
Branch: 220 625
Account: 6212 5355 893