Mugging incidents on the mountain

It is with great sadness that we learn of more mugging incidents in our mountains.

This is an ongoing trend, and the Hikers Network would like to convey our support and well wishes to all those who have experienced these unfortunate infringements on their privacy while enjoying the outdoors.

The recent violent attacks on Noordhoek Beach and Kalk Bay mountains have left more questions than answers as to how this trend will change.

None of the members of the Hikers Network have suffered as a result of such crime recently, however, they have in the past been subject to having their bags and equipment stolen while out climbing, as well as having their vehicles broken into while responding to mountain rescue calls.

We strive to engage with the other user groups in the outdoor fraternity, as well as with the authorities and NGOs who work in this field.

It is very unfortunate that the public and outdoor users are more and more having to look behind their backs when hiking in our mountains, which is supposed to be a sacred place for us all to enjoy.

We wish that the latest victims will have a speedy recovery, and that the wrongdoers are brought to book.

Please continue to make use of our         SafetyMountain         Tracking service.

Photo: Adrienne Cedella Brown (Facebook)

Facebook magic: tracking down Lion’s Head hero Wesley William Billet

There was some very good news coming from Lion’s Head this week! On Thursday 10 January 2018 Adrienne Cedella Brown embarked on an organised Lion’s Head sunset hike. After a while, she got behind and separated from the group she was with. Determined to reach the summit, despite being on her own with no headlight, Adrienne persisted – and succeeded, thanks to a Good Samaritan called Wesley.
This is what she wrote in her Facebook post which has since gone viral, in which she appealed to people to help her find her Hero:
“Today this man saved my life. Literally. For real. I appreciate him so much!!! His name is Wesley. He found me today scrambling up a hiking trail trying to get to the group that left me behind. It was starting to get dark. I had no headlamps because the event organizer was supposed to provide them.”
“Let me back up… 1/2 way up the trail I disconnected from the group. It was lovely walking peacefully on my own at first, and people were SO NICE, they would ask me do you need water? a snack? Hiker culture is very caring. As I got closer the tone changed. Them: You’re still going up? It’s going to be dark on the way back! Do you have a headlamp? My response to the concerned hikers was always I’m ok, there’s a group waiting for me at the top.”
“The second to last person was upset and told me stories of tourists who have died hiking that trail without proper equipment. I again assured him the event organizer was waiting for me up top. The very last helpful person was Wesley, he asked me some of the same questions, but wasn’t satisfied with my answer.”
“He told his friends go ahead and head back down I’m going back up with her to make sure she finds her friends. So he turned back and hiked back up the last of the route with me. When we arrived to the top the sun was gone and there was not a soul to be found from my group who were supposed to be waiting for me.” 
“So Wesley said give me your bag, and he gave me his headlamp, and we slowly scrambled down together and he made sure I knew were to step and how to safely get down. Halfway down his friends had decided to wait for him, so then the 4 of us finished the hike with 3 headlamps. I could focus on being upset by the coordinator who left me behind.” 
“But I am actually going to focus on three things, 1. I got to see the Lions Head view its gorgeous 2. I always do what I say I’m going to do even when it’s tough, it may take me longer but I am incredibly tenacious and I will literally climb mountains in a dress, slowly but surely and I will finish my goals. 3. I will always remember Wesley who saved my life my last night in Cape Town! More Cape Town pictures to come!”

Facebook came together and managed to track down Wesley (whose full name is Wesley William Billet, and he is hailing from Johannesburg) in a matter of hours.

And Wesley? He didn’t seem to think it was such a big deal. “I simply did what any decent human being would do,” he wrote in a comment below Adrienne’s original post, which has gone viral. “I’m so glad you made it to the top, summiting a second time was so cool for me too, so thank you!”

Well, Wesley, what you did was certainly a very big deal! Thank you for going the extra mile for ensuring a fellow hiker reached her destination and for helping her down to where she started. You are our Lion’s Head Hero of the week!

Cape Point shipwreck hike

At 8h30 on Sunday, 26 November 2017, a total of 31 members from The Hikers Network Hiking Club convened in the Olifantsbos parking area of the Cape Point Nature Reserve to partake in the Shipwreck hike scheduled for the day.
Wayne was leading the hike, whilst Conrad was responsible for maintaining safety in middle and I brought up the rear, as the sweeper. After the briefing session the group set out on the Thomas Tucker shipwreck trail at a steady pace despite the extreme windy conditions we endured. The yellow tipped markers made it easy to find our way to the beach.

The group took their first break at the wreck of the SS Thomas Tucker. Wayne gave everyone the opportunity to take photos, for the kids to play and enjoy the shipwreck, the scenery as well as a snack to eat. We took a group photo here and Wayne went on to explain how it came about that the ship stranded on this section of the beach.

In 1942, the SS Thomas Tucker, carrying troops and weapons, was sailing close to the Cape Point coastline to avoid detection by the German U-boats. Due to the foggy weather the crew ran the ship ashore thinking they were close to Robben Island. They disembarked and left the cargo ship behind to ultimately meet her demise.

Some huge whale bones can also be found, on the beach, close to the shipwreck.

The group continued from here to the next rest stop which was the Nolloth shipwreck. After scrambling over some rocks we found a beached whale in a severe state of decomposition. Not too far from it, on the beach, a dead seal was discovered, its body partly covered by sand.

At the wreck of the Nolloth it was my chance to give a brief narrative on the ship’s demise. Legend has it that the Nolloth was a Dutch coaster carrying a cargo of mostly liquor and goods. In 1965 her captain ran her aground to save the cargo and prevent loss of life. The crew was lifted off by helicopter and customs officials salvaged the cargo!

Heading back we agreed on the circular route and veered off to the path taking you inland. A gradual climb of about 60m takes you to the highest point of the hike with magnificent views before the start of a gradual descent which leads you back to the car park area.

The inland trail took us past various species of indigenous plants and fynbos. Whilst on this part of the trail the juniors were excited to spot some wildlife such as an ostrich, a bontebok family and various birds. Lizards and hairy worms were also discovered on the path.

The hike was very well executed and without incident, the leaders and members worked well together. The Hikers Network SOP was adhered to at all times and a great respect towards the environment, the elements of nature and each other was diplayed. We reached the Olifantsbos parking area at 11:30 whereafter the debriefing session everyone said their farewells and we went our separate ways. Windblown yet content 🙂

Annabelle-Linda Gertze
Hikers Network leader


Why K9s should be on a leash.

For various reasons, K9s should be on a leash while they are accompanying you on your mountain hikes.

They need to be kept on the path at all times. When a dog wanders off on it’s own:-

  1.  They may pass waste in the field, and since there is no real record of quantities of GM products in dog food, any possible traces thereof will be transferred into nature. If this is the case, then there is no telling what the impact may be in decades to come. These will have some kind of negative effect on the insects, birds and the vynbos.
  2. They could end up being lost.
  3. They could be bitten by an insect, spider, scorpion or a snake.
  4. They may end up chasing after a scent of an indigenous rodent or mammal, or after the scent of another “off leash” dog.
  5. Running off path could result in your K9 going over an edge, or end up being stuck on a ledge as well.
  6. In the event of a dog being lost or injured, a Search and Rescue mission may have to be launched, and this will involve resources that are already stretched and under pressure.
  7. Your K9 could end up being attacked by another “unsocial” of leash dog, and things could get ugly too.
  8. In certain cases, K9 diseases could be transferred to the indigenous fauna. As it is, our baboon population has already been affected by the transfer of human diseases to them. People swimming with dolphins should also be discouraged, for the same reason.
  9. “Off leash” dogs also adds to erosion.

Having “off leash” dogs in groups should NOT be encouraged.

More and more folk are making use of “dog walking” services. These services include walking your dog, together with those belonging to other families.


Some of these “dog walkers” will make use of our nature conservation areas, open veld and parks, as well as the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP).

It has to be extremely difficult for a dog walking service to be in total command of your dog, while he or she has up to twelve other dogs in the group.

For the above reasons and more, the TMNP has introduced the system of Activity Cards, to be used for dog walking in the areas under their control. Please click      here      for more information.

You have to be in control of your dog while walking on the mountain.

Let’s enjoy our natural surroundings responsibly, in the interests of the safety of our K9 friends and other outdoor users as well. And of course, in the interests of nature, and nature conservation too.

Thank you

The Hikers Network




De Hoop Heritage Weekend

The Hikers Network Hiking division completed the De Hoop Potberg Environmental weekend event 22, 23, 24 September 2017 where a group of 59 members spent the weekend at the Potberg Environmental Education Centre. People and Conservation was the area of focus and many of these 59 members are part of the Enviro hiking program over the Cape Peninsula and Cape Flats areas. Just as Fynbos is diverse, the Hikers Network thrives on this diversity in the leaders and members from all over the Peninsula.

Access to information as well as access to the Western Cape Natural Heritage and all of South Africa is what the Hikers Network Enviro division is currently building and this is within a safe environment bolstered by skilled hike leaders and backed by our mountain rescue and tracking divisions.

We all boarded a bus on Friday afternoon towards the De Hoop Nature Reserve, our base the Potberg centre. Shortly after our arrival a briefing was held and weekend program explained. Rupert Koopman, Cape Nature Botanist, joined us and the one thing that stood out about Rupert is the way he just melted into the group in his approach to education and conservation.

On Saturday morning, we started the hike up Potberg 622m to the top with Rupert heading out front whilst the group was managed by our hike leaders. Rupert shared his knowledge, bringing a practical and simple approach for the lay person, about the vegetation in the area as well as some geology, pointing out several interesting Fynbos species and habitats. The attentive way the group listened and interacted with questions and comments was heartwarming.

The hike was completed early afternoon and thereafter we had a rest period, starting the braai early evening. It was just wonderful how everyone assisted! Post supper, the group was divided into three in order to be accommodated in the small museum attached to the centre. Each group received a short briefing on the conservation history and importance of the Bontebok and Cape Mountain Zebra populations of De Hoop NR, as well as a quick run through on the archaeological importance of the Southern Coast, with emphasis on the role this unique landscape and it’s plants played in the evolution of modern humans.

On Sunday morning we boarded the bus and headed for Koppie Alleen. The group enjoyed a short beach hike and spotted some Whales too.To have experienced the diversity and natural beauty of this special place on a Heritage Weekend, I am sure we will all cherish these memories forever.

Rupert said ” It was a real pleasure to spend time with such a diverse group of Capetonians, of many ages and backgrounds. The group was attentive and receptive to the biodiversity information shared and I hope that more will be encouraged to get hands on involved in conservation actions, both at home and natural places inside/outside of protected areas. Look forward to our next engagement.”

Conclusion: The Enviro Hiking program is where we have expanded outreach to be sustainable in the form of planting Enviro Hiking clubs in areas such as Mitchells Plain, Bonteheuwel, Nursing Enviro Hiking Club and we are still expanding to other areas too. The idea is that the active club members are trained up, skilled and supported as leaders in enviro education and safety and this via the mother hiking group Hikers Network HC.

Conservation and access to these beautiful areas is for everyone and is vital for our future! For instance, we have had grandparents come along with their grandchildren, families young and old and from all walks of life who have the opportunity to get involved and be educated in conservation. This, in turn, will assist in the areas of people and conservation. Our goal is to strike the other end of conservation because the community is vital in the future of conservation.The same with the groups we train to lead hikes in these communities, we need the base to expand in order to make a difference – ears, hands and hearts on the ground for the future. We have seen the success in the sheer volume of our membership and while this weekend was happening, our leaders were busy on Table Mountain with 3 seperate day hikes bringing more people out safely, diversely, as all of our groups are open to all. We are here to keep a family unit and that is not just about a single family but that of a corporate community that together can only make this difference. The Enviro program is not just about Conservation and Hiking; its aim is to change and set the tone in the challenges we face as the family unit disappears with drugs, gangs and crime. If we can dent the statistics and lower it by creating alternatives but also keep the system going as a family unit we can create that change even if it takes years and a small percentage at a time

Special Thanks to Cape Nature – Rupert Koopman – Hikers Network Leaders – The Group
Anwaaz Bent
President Hikers Network


Mountain tracking, how it started.

@SafetyMountain Tracking is an initiative of the Hikers Network.

It all started when one of the founding members of the Hikers Network (Anwaaz Bent), suggested that members “check in” with him, before heading out into the mountains.

This was for safety and other reasons:-

  • Initially, the primary reason for checking in, was to allow Anwaaz (who was the most active Wilderness Search And Rescue manager at the time), to know where members were in relation to a patient, in the event of a possible mountain rescue call. This was to provide assistance and other information relating to local conditions, should a member be in the nearby vicinity.

Anwaaz then realized the potential of expanding this:-

  • As a safety mechanism, should the member, or someone in his or her party require assistance.
  • This could also be used as a tool to render assistance to other hikers who they may come across.
  • For reporting any incident that may be of interest to the authorities.

Back then in 2010, Smart Phones were not that fashionable, so the system mainly relied on “dumb” phones, via SMS.

Then, when the Blackberry became a tool, members started using BBM and emails as a means of communicating with each other, in real time via the cellphone.

Of course, with the introduction of WhatsApp, the horizons widened and members could communicate far more easily, transferring all sorts of information in various formats.

Then another member, Tim Lundy, suggested to Anwaaz that we open up a service to the public, where selected members of the Hikers Network could form a team of trackers, to monitor this WhatsApp group.

From there it grew, with more and more members of the Hikers Network, as well as members of the public joining up for this safety initiative.

Over the years, thousands of outdoor users have been tracked while partaking in various disciplines, such as hiking, mountaineering, climbing, trail running, caving, kayaking and even boating. We have tracked people all over South Africa, and abroad using this means.

Quite a few incidents have already been dealt with by our trackers, including missing persons, injured hikers, as well as cases of erosion, fallen trees and wildfires too.

As they say, the rest is history, since this tracking service has grown to multiple WhatsApp groups including a “management” and an “incident” group.

For more information about this service which is provided by our dedicated volunteers, please click here.

Be out and be safe.



Lions Cares

The Lion’s Club of Kirstenbosch recently came to the aid of the Western Cape Wilderness Search And Rescue (WSAR) unit. This they did under their Lion’s Alert responsibility, which is their disaster relief arm, whereby funds are raised in order to provide assistance in times of emergencies.

WSAR was handed R5000,00 worth of refreshment supplies for their volunteer rescue responders, in the form of Care And Support (CAS) packs.

These CAS packs contain the following:-

These are vital food and liquid supplements that will go a long way in providing the necessary sustenance to their crews, once they have returned from a rescue call. These members normally get back to the Incident Command vehicle (Metro 1) feeling very cold, thirsty, hungry and fatigued.

So, the handing over the of these CAS packs will most certainly be a welcomed by the volunteers.

Here the packs are being received by Andy Connell (left,the WSAR official responsible for the CAS rations). They are being handed over by the incoming President of the Lion’s club of Kirstenbosch, Phillip Bam (center), as well as the out going President of the Lion’s Club of Kirstenbosch, Sundru Pillay (right).

At this event, the Lion’s Club of Kirstenboch members were also treated to an excursion of the Western Cape department of Health Rescue base in Pinelands.

Well done to the members of the Lion’s Club of Kirstenbosch for this initiative, and we trust that these CAS packs will make some sort of a difference in the efforts and the ongoing success of WSAR, as well as to the patients that they serve.

Thank you very much to the members of the Lion’s Club of Kirstenbosch.




WPMC turns 50!

The Hikers Network would like to wish the Western Province Mountain Club (WPMC) well on their 50th anniversary of existence.

They have always been a club that is open to all, despite the harsh system of apartheid that has plagued our country in so many ways.

They have a hut on Table Mountain which is situated in Ash Valley above Kirstenbosch.

The official name of their hut is the Domminisie Hut, and this name in itself has it’s own history.


In the past, this used to be the Scout Hut, that was before they relocated to another hut on the Back Table.

Well done on this achievement of yours WPMC, and we trust that your club will be around for many more years to come.

From the Hikers Network, it’ members and affiliates.



Table Mountain 5 dams meander.

On Saturday the 29th of April 2017 the Hikers Network Hiking Club embarked on a walk to view the five reservoirs of Table Mountain.

The group of 73 was led by Johan Stapelberg, and Anwaaz Bent shared his knowledge about the history of the Table Mountain waterworks along the way as well. The route led from Constantia Nek via the Bridle Path to the Back Table (the white route). The hike returned via the same way.

After an hour’s trek, they crossed the Spilhaus Bridge above Cecilia Forest,

before making a sharp left hand turn at a bend called “Skielike Dood”. Here in the past, many a horse drawn cart unfortunately left the road on this blind bend, as they tried to negotiate it on their way down the mountain.

From there they walked to a spot opposite the de Villiers reservoir, where they enjoyed a well deserved water break.

Once the group was recharged and all accounted for, they proceeded to the museum at the Back Table, passing the Alexandra and Victoria reservoirs.

Inside the museum, which sits between the Hely Hutchinson and the Woodhead reservoirs,  are many interesting tools and implements from the time of the construction of these dams. The old steam engine is housed inside as well.


Woodhead reservoir


Unfortunately for the group, the building was closed, however, they get to peep through the windows and see the displays outside too.

From here Johan led them to the summit of the Kasteelspoort Gorge route, where the ruins of the old cableway are still to be found.


Group photo with ‘diving board’ in the background.
A section of the ruins can be seen, bottom right.

Anwaaz spoke about the many caves in the area, and about the old railway track as well.

The return leg back to the start was easier going, and the group was very chirpy as they spoke about the views, the history that was learnt, and the experience in general.

Thank you to the organizers, the leaders, and to the Medic Adiel who attended to a minor ankle injury experienced by one of the Junior Club members. Thank you to Ubuntu Hiking Club for joining the walk, and especially to the volunteers of SafetyMountain Tracking as well.

Until the next excursion.

Gamida Soeker


Rescue Care And Support.

Care And Support (CAS)


is a volunteer service provider for the Western Cape Wilderness Search And Rescue (WSAR) unit.

When our volunteer rescuers respond to people who are in need of medical and or rescue assistance, they often are out battling the elements for extended periods of time, while going into potentially life threatening situations, in order to bring patients to safety.

They will often return suffering from some of the following:-

  • exhaustion
  • hunger
  • thirst
  • cold
  • wet
  • heat
  • dehydration
  • hypothermia
  • fatigue
  • injury
  • mental and or physical trauma

and so on, . . .  as a direct result of the mission. Then they still have to repack and take stock of the equipment used, have a debrief re the rescue, while often having to fend off the press and onlookers, . . . before they can make their way back home to their loved ones.


Please click here >       Sponsor flyer       < for more information.

These CAS packs, including the dedicated packaging, costs about  R200,00 to make up. They do provide some sustenance and comfort to the volunteers.

This is what it contains:-

Should you, any business or charity be in a position to sponsor the making up of these CAS packs, please use the contact details on the flyer, or click here for >     donor support information      < to assist.

Thank you