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.

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

MW

 

 

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.

MW

 

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.

 

group

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.

dam

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

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)

The

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

 

 

 

2016 we say goodbye to you!

2016 we say goodbye to you, a fantastic year for our organisation! We are blessed to have made many partnerships, friendships and grown from experiences. We are also blessed to have had a safe year out on our various outdoor projects in the mountains.

We grew as a family in all the various divisions; Safety, People and Conservation, Youth Development, Responding to those needing Rescue, Training, and just enjoying the Outdoors. 2016 was a stepping stone and we intend to do even more and grow in 2017 with the same love and team work.

Our core function is community; the environment, mountain safety and prevention of mountain incidents via our program. Our programs are all driven in this direction and I am proud of this vision and it becoming a reality. It’s a Vision that cannot be realized without our Volunteers; their passion and commitment towards Mountain Rescue, Tracking and leading Hikes. We Thank You.

To all those that assisted in achieving our goals, you are our valuable Volunteers. Our Partners, we say thank you for the relationship and ability to work together towards our goal. We acknowledge the families of our Volunteers that also have to sacrifice and we say Thank You!

To all those that have joined and come along on hikes and events and supported as members of Hikers Network: we say thank you and as we grow, I am sure there will be lots more in 2017!

Nothing is without its challenges and we say thank you for the perseverance of our leadership especially our core executive management paving the way for our for our Volunteers, their inclusion, needs and safety.

The expansion program into the Winelands and Southern Cape has also happened, extending what we are currently doing in the Metropole.

The Youth remains high on our priority list and this will be further expanded in 2017. Youth and Family are the Buzz words for us. Rescue of our youth that find themselves with little alternatives, particularly in the ganglands of the townships. The Enviro Hiking Clubs and Coordinators will continue to work on our new Junior Hiking Club.

The Enviro Hiking groups are active in Mitchells Plain, Bontehuewel, Strandfontein, Nantes/Athlone, Nurses who Care and soon Delft.
We also had a fantastic year end function and rounded the year off with a presentation to those that have made it all possible. Our organisation is unique in its function within the Mountain Community and this requires a very special team.

Wishing you all a prosperous and safe New Year!

Anwaaz Bent

President / The Hikers Network

Epic adventure day exploring the Glentana coastal caves – 07 / 08 / 2016

A whole bunch of new adventurers all gathered at the Glentana beach parking area for the adventure of a lifetime,  it was the official launch hike of #Hikers Network Hiking Club in the Eden District#. Young and old were all very excited for this trip, most of them have never visited these coastal caves before, so the adrenalin was pumping.  We made our way to the caves via the beach, clambering over rocks here and there, walking on unspoilt beaches and experiencing what mother nature has to offer us. We also walked past an old shipwreck (the floating dock) that went aground there in 1902. Finally after about 2km we reached the caves, stunning big beautiful caves all formed by the mighty ocean.  A sea cave can take up to a 150 years to form. In some of the caves we visited, stalagmite, stalactite and flowstone formations are still growing. After exploring the caves thoroughly, we enjoyed a little break and then made our way back slowly, before the tide got too high. One must never visit these caves on high tide, you will get trapped in one of the caves because you won’t make it back to the start. Everybody enjoyed themselves fully and had a great day of adventure.

Submitted by: Sinead Hattingh
Hike leaders: Sinead Hattingh

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Constantia Corner to De Villiers Dam via Camel Rock – 17 / 07 / 2016

This is definitely one of my favourite short hikes. It is about a 3-hour hike, which means if you start around 8 am, you can be back in time for brunch! Of course if you prefer to picnic on the mountain, then De Villiers Dam is a beautiful spot to spend some time before you descend.

The hike starts out with a nice steep climb to get the heart rate up and provides unique views over Orange Kloof and Hout Bay valley.

We were blessed with clear blue winter skies, so the summit afforded magnificent views over the Southern Suburbs and Cape Flats stretching to the Helderberg Mountains and all the way down to Hangklip.

The rock formations are beautiful especially the aptly dubbed Camel Rock, which is definitely one of the best on the mountain.

This really is a great hike all year round and in Feb/March you will see the famous Blue Disa blooming.

Thanks to Anwaaz and the Hikers Network for an awesome morning on the mountain.

Submitted by: Cally Arnold
Hike oversight: Anwaaz Bent
Hike leaders: Anwaaz Bent  . Johan Stapelberg . Shamiel Garson  . Natalie Kelly

 

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