Cape Town boasts some of the most beautiful places in the world to hike and enjoy nature.
During lockdown, many Cape Town Jewish community members have taken to walking the trails as a form of outdoor, socially-distanced exercise. As with all outdoor activities, staying safe and being responsible are integral parts of enjoying the experience.
SanParks offers 10 basic rules of mountain safety on their website:
• Don’t hike alone; four is the ideal number.
• Choose your route carefully and stick to it. Allow yourself enough time — start early. Inform someone of your route and what time you’re expected back.
• Choose a hike leader and walk at the pace of the slowest member.
• If lost — don’t split up. Rather try to retrace your steps. Remember that climbing down is more difficult than climbing up.
• Always take waterproof clothing, even in mid-summer, and wear walking shoes or hiking boots. Wear a hat or cap and sun block in summer. Weather changes rapidly.
• If lost or forced to stop because of bad weather, stay together and remain in one place. Find the closest shelter from wind and rain.
• In case of injury, take time to assess the situation. Then send two people for help and let the third remain with the injured person. If possible, mark the position on a map and send it with those going for help.
• Stick to well-used paths, which will be indicated on the Park’s hiking map and read the warnings on this map. Don’t take shortcuts and especially don’t wander into ravines.
• Always take enough water, especially in summer, and food in case of a delay. Watch the weather and time, and turn back before you start running late or if bad weather threatens.
• Take a fully-charged cellphone. Some parts of the Park do not have cell phone reception, but you will always be able to reach a place where you can use a cell phone more quickly than you’ll get to a landline.
CSO recommend signing up for the SafetyMountain WhatsApp-based service that tracks hikers and other mountain users, giving them instant access to assistance in case of an emergency. Visit http://hikersnetwork.co.za/safetymountain/
Emergency Numbers to put into your phone:
Main emergency number: 086 110 6417
Emergency SAPS (South African Police Service): 10111 (02110111 on cell)
Emergency CT Emergency Services: (021) 480 7700
Emergency CT Central OPS Centre: (021) 467 8002
All of these call centres are primed to respond to incidents on TMNP and investigate suspicious activities.
Other numbers which could come in handy:
Emergency NSRI: 082 911
Emergency TM Cable Car Company: (021) 424 0015
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Portal to the Jewish Community: to see a list of all the Jewish organisations in Cape Town with links to their websites, click here.
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