The Mother City is famous for her exceptional hikes. From local legends and everyday mountaineers to tourists, many flock to the mountains to get a slice of the high life. Not everybody, however, comes prepared.

No matter the difficulty or duration, no hike should be met with jeans and Tomy takkies. The city has seen one too many hiking tragedies for our liking, and so, here are a few tips on how you can hike safely.

Pick your poison

Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Cape Town offers some lung-busting, leg-burning trails that require a certain level of fitness and training. Make sure you do your research and pick a hike suitable for you. Pipe Track is always top-of-mind for beginners, while more experienced hikers might want to challenge themselves with Platteklip or Skeleton Gorge.

Dress the part

You are meeting up with Mother Nature people! Slops and sarongs just won’t cut it. We’re not saying you need top-of-the-range gear, but suitable takkies, thick socks, sunblock and a hat are always recommended. Cape Town is known for having all four seasons in one day. A backpack with a jacket or windbreaker is never a bad idea.

Groups are good

If you’re experiencing an existential crisis, attempting to run away from home or are hiding from your spouse, don’t turn to the mountains to retreat. Hiking is always safer when done in groups. If you want a moment alone with nature, be sure to tell someone about your whereabouts and how long you should be out and about. This way, if six hours pass and you went on a three-hour hike, you have someone to send backup.

 

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Fuel your body

Hiking is physically demanding. Make sure to always have water and a snack at hand. Quick-energy-goodies including nuts, biltong and bananas are guaranteed to keep you going.

A basic first-aid kit 

You’re heading off-the-beaten-track. Suncream, plasters, mozzie spray, antibiotic ointment and water purifying tablets will make for a well-rounded emergency kit.

 

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Stay on track

Fortunately, most popular trails have been very well marked. Take a moment to check out the maps placed along your route to ensure that you stay on your planned path. If you start feeling a little lost, turn back and head the way you came. Try and be mindful of landmarks – just in case.

 

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Keep an eye out for critters

Long pants and socks aren’t recommended as a fashion statement. Trails are often home to snakes, spiders and other creepy critters that might not be too welcoming. Avoid bites, scrapes and stings by paying close attention to what lies ahead.


Be a nice hiker

Practice correct hiking etiquette. This includes downhill yielding for uphill, refraining from destroying natural surroundings in any way, and not littering (to name a few essentials). CapeNature emphasises these three C’s: Courtesy, Communication, and Common Sense.

For an in-depth dive into safe hiking, check out CapeNature’s considerations, information, and protocols.

In case of emergency, keep these numbers saved on your cell:

  • Table Mountain National Park Security: 0861 106 417.
  • General emergency services number: 10177
  • Emergency Services , Cape Town: 021 480 7700

Picture: Unsplash

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