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




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


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




ISBNPA2016 Conference on a hike


On June 8th, The Hikers Network Rescue unit guided delegates from the ISBNPA2016 Conference, on a hike up Lion’s Head.

Cape Town is hosting the 15th Annual Meeting of the International Society of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity.

After a safety briefing by HNR rescue member and leader Anwaaz Bent, 22 delegates started the hike. Clint September and Garnet Christians, both leaders of Ubuntu Hiking and HNR members, were on hand to assist in sweeping and oversight of the group. The group was also logged into The Hikers Network Tracking System for added safety.


At re-group points, the visitors were given brief summaries about the natural history of Table Mountain and its unique World Heritage status. Along the way, we overheard the visiting hikers engage in topical discussions and it was clear to us they were in awe of our City and Table Mountain.

The excitement was audible as we summited Lion’s Head. Who can blame them, 360° views, with Table Mountain taking centre stage. We are so proud and appreciative to be living in Cape Town and being able to share its splendour with the delegates. After a good break and taking in the views, we headed down again.

We would like to thank the conference organisers for entrusting their delegates to Hikers Network Rescue. A big thank you to team members Clint September and Garnet Christians of Ubuntu Hiking Club for assisting HNR.

The Hikers Network stays committed to mountain safety, development and education, while being ambassadors of the Cape Community.

Anwaaz Bent / Operations Hikers Network


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Phenomenal growth of Hiking Club division

Towards the end of 2015, The Hikers Network initiated the Hiking Club wing of the Network. For many years The Hikers Network purely facilitated hiking groups and shared information while growing the Outdoor Network through its core functions, which is Mountain Rescue and Mountain Safety & Tracking.

The Enviro Hiking program forms part of developing local communities by giving them ownership as they develop their own hiking club with the fundamental support and training provided by The Hikers Network. The leaders of groups from Bonteheuwel, Mitchell’s Plain and now the Nurses Who Care, are being trained and guided to eventually take their groups safely on hikes and in turn share and educate hikers about the enjoyment of hiking while remaining safe. We regard this model as a sustainable solution for expanding the “philosophy” to more communities. These groups remain under the umbrella of The Hikers Network as we provide the support and share our knowledge and experience with them. Continue reading