A safety advisory for high winds that may hit Cape Town’s mountains today has been issued by the Wilderness Search and Rescue (WSAR).
The network of government agencies and civilian volunteer organisations, who partner in search and rescue operations, said that winds of around 60kph could lead to falls and hikers getting lost in the mist and clouds.
“The mountains of greater Cape Town are expected to be buffeted by south-easterly winds of 30 knots-plus today and tonight,” said the WSAR
“This as the first Full Moon of the year rises tonight, Friday, January 6, 2023.”
“Often referred to as the ‘Cape Doctor’, the south-easterly wind blows on the South African coast – mainly from spring to late summer.”
“Although praised by locals for blowing away pollution and pestilence, hiking in strong wind can be risky business and mountain users are encouraged to take extra precautions.”
According to the WSAR, there are four main risks associated with hiking in windy conditions that hikers need to take into account.
“The Cape Doctor tends to pick up in the afternoon and the trails quickly become cold and cloudy. The south-easterly wind often blows a ‘tablecloth’ across the top of the mountain – resulting in poor to no visibility.”
“Hikers easily become disorientated and lose their way in these conditions.”
“If you are hiking in windy conditions, stick to the trails you know,” mountain enthusiast Blake Dyason from Love Our Trails told IOL, urging hikers who were unsure to turn around or retrace their steps where it is safe to do so. He also encouraged hikers to look for shelter immediately and call for help should they find themselves lost or in dangerous conditions.