Safe Hiking

Hiking is generally a very safe and healthy activity, but as with many outdoor persuits you need to respect the environment. Weather, particularly in the mountain environment, is not always predictable; factors such as fire, erosion and natural weathering can cause known paths to change or even be destroyed; landmarks such as trees can dissappear and places where you expected to find water can suddenly become dry or be polluted. There are a number of safety rules that should be followed – these are usually common sense – but are often ignored.

For information on our qualified mountain guides e-mail hostnet@mweb.co.za or complete our on-line TRAIL ENQUIRY FORM

Safety Guidlines for Hikers

  • Never hike alone. A minimum of four is essential.
  • Choose your route according to your ability and fitness and that of the group, of the group.
  • If you don’t know the route go with somebody who genuinely knows the way, join a hiking club or find a professional guide.
  • Take enough food and more than enough water for the route you are too follow, plus a bit extra for emergencies. (Minimum of 2 lt).
  • Tell someone exactly where you are going and stick to this plan.
  • Ensure that at least one member of the group has a fully charged cell phone with emergency numbers for the area saved on it, also the number of a friend or family member who knows where you are going.
  • Always go prepared for bad weather – windcheaters, cold weather clothing and rain gear (it can get cold on top of the mountain in the middle of summer).
  • Apply sunscreen before you hike and carry extra.
  • Travel at the pace of the slowest member of the party.
  • Never split up and go in different directions.
  • Do not push on into the unknown. If you get lost, retrace your steps.
  • If you are unsure of what to do, find shelter, especially from the wind, and stay put.
  • Essential Equipment
    • Hiking boots/shoes & hiking socks (good sole support for longer routes).
    • Comfortable day pack
    • Sun block (apply before you start & re-apply during the day)
    • Wide-brimmed hat (with fastening chord, for the wind)
    • Warm clothing, suitable rain jacket/wind breaker (the temperature often drops unexpectedly on the mountain, even on the hottest day)
    • Layers of clothing, gloves & beanie (in winter)
    • At least 2 to 3 litres of water (depending on distance & weather)*
    • Food & snacks – consider distance/time & allow extra for emergencies
    • Cell phone – fully charged, on silent, with ICE numbers (In Case of Emergency)
    • Personal medication & relevant medical information
    • Personal first-aid kit (if you’re prone to cramping, speak to your pharmacist about suitable emergency medication)
    • Emergency space blanket
    • Small, reliable (preferably head) torch, with extra batteries
    • Whistle (from a toy or sports shop)
    • Copy of driver’s license or ID
    • Plastic packet for used tissues and other litter

    Optional extras:

    • A set of walking poles. Used properly, they (a) go a long way towards avoiding knee problems (made worse by excessive strain on the knees & tendons during the ascent, which causes tenderness during the descent), (b) spread the load & workout between the upper & lower body & (c) minimise erosion-causing impact when descending a loose path.
    • A hands-free water system or bladder

For information on guided day walks in Table Mountain or overnight trails in the Western Cape please complete our on-line TRAIL ENQUIRY FORM or e-mail info@slackpackersa.co.za – all our guides are fully qualified mountain guides and registered tour guides.

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