Mugging arrests.

There has been official notice of arrests made in respect of the recent mugging attacks in the Central section of the Table Mountain National Park, by SAPS.

Well done to the officers involved, as well as to the members of the Table Mountain Security Action Group (TMSAG) on their collaboration with the authorities regarding this breakthrough.

TMSAG may be reached at info@tmwatch.co.za

Be out and be safe.

The Track Record

We have again serviced hundreds of mountain users, including groups in the Eden District Southern Cape this past week.

On Saturday, one of our trackees called in to report that a member in their party had injured an ankle, and was unable to proceed any further. They were on the Contour Path above Kirstenbosch Gardens at the time.

Metro Rescue Control was alerted, who in turn activated the Wilderness Search And Rescue (WSAR) for a response and recovery.

On arrival at the incident location, the patient’s ankle was immobilized, after which the person was assisted to a 4 X 4 vehicle and then transported to the exit of the gardens, after which the person was taken to a medical facility via private transport.

Later in the afternoon, a party we were tracking commenced their hike up the India Venster route. Shortly after they left the Contour Path, they met up with a party of three who reported seeing five men (who were not dressed as hikers) lying in some vynbos not too far up from their location.

They took the advice from the three males to turn around, and reported the matter to SafetyMountain as well. The TMNP Visitor Safety response unit was notified, together with the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway company. These and other parties were able to maintain visual contact with the suspicious five men, until they left the National Park, without incident.

On Sunday morning, a party that had checked in via SafetyMountain Tracking reported that there may be a possibility of  a missing elderly person who was for some reason separated from the group. Metro Rescue Control was immediately informed. Shortly afterwards, the party reported that the “lost” hiker was reunited with the party. The rescue services were then stood down.

Later on Sunday, a party that was being tracked on the Jonkershoek Mountains above Stellenbosch, reported that one of the members in their group was experiencing signs of being dehydrated.

The party was asked to stay put, while Metro Rescue Control was alerted. They then activated the Wilderness Search And Rescue (WSAR) Winelands unit, who responded to the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve. A field team was dispatched up the Kurktrekker Kloof route, which the party in difficulty were busy descending at the time of the incident.

On arrival, the patient was attended to, after which the party was then escorted down the kloof, and safely out of the reserve.

Thank you for continuing to make use of SafetyMountain Tracking, and well done to the rescuers, as well as our duty trackers for their efforts over the past week.

Be out and be safe.

 

Mountain workers succumb.

It is always sad when we learn of people passing away in the outdoors.

A member of the Working On Fire (WOF) team has unfortunately lost his life while assisting to battle a wildfire blaze in the Simonsberg mountains near Stellenbosch yesterday.

Our condolences to his family and friends.

Picture from the internet.

Meanwhile outside George, a member of the Working For Water (WFW) team has been missing in the Outaniqua mountains above the town since the 30th of January 2018.

The search is still ongoing, and we hope for a favourable outcome.

Picture from the internet.

The WOF teams are contracted to the State for the purposes of controlling and extinguishing mountain wildfires.

The WFW teams are contracted to the State for the purposes of removing and controlling the growth of alien vegetation. This is beneficial for the preservation of the natural water reserves, and it also increases the yield by allowing more water to trickle into our reservoirs via the cleared out catchment areas.

Be out and be safe.

 

 

 

BOLO Suspected muggers

Your assistance is required please.

These are the two suspects of the violent attack on the group of nine hikers who are members of  the Hikers Paradise Adventure Club.

The attack took place in the mountains above Kalk Bay, where five members were seriously injured.

SafetyMountain Tracking and the Hikes Network would like you to contact the investigating offer, Detective Sergeant Mngambi on 0825221794, if you have any information to offer.

Be out and be safe.

Emergency responders suffer tragedies.

Our condolences to the families and friends of the two emergency responders who sadly passed away over the weekend.

The first person was a volunteer from the Surf Lifesaving fraternity, who was attacked while hiking in the Kalk Bay mountains.

The second person was a firefighter who responded to a wildfire on the lower slopes of Table Mountain. It is understood that the person suddenly collapsed.

Both these patients were declared deceased, after all EMS efforts were exhausted.

May they RIP

Be out and be safe.

 

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.

Be out and be safe.

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 08h30 on Sunday the 26th of 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 the 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 us inland. A gradual climb of about 60m took us to the highest point of the hike, with magnificent views before the start of a gradual descent which leads one back to the car park area.

The inland trail took us past various species of indigenous plants and vynbos. 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 along the path.

The hike was very well executed and without incident. The leaders and members worked very 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 displayed. We reached the Olifantsbos parking area at 11h30, after which the debriefing session was done.

Then, it was time for everyone to say 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.

Be out and be safe.

 

 

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