There are currently very few areas that can be considered completely safe. The General Committee of the Mountain Club of South Africa (GCMC SA) in Cape Town has seen a spike in hike robberies and attacks at the Table Mountain National Park. The organisation has issued a statement addressing the alarming growth of hikers being attacked.
The Club urges members to exercise caution when planning hiking routes. There are currently very few areas that can be considered completely safe, and you are advised to be aware of areas that have seen a recent escalation in crime.
The recent series of assaults on trail runners & hikers on the Saddle at the top of Newlands Ravine, as well as on walkers, hikers, runners and cyclists in Newlands forest, represent a significant shift in the level of violence involved, unfortunately similar to that of the tragic attacks in the Kalk Bay and Karbonkelberg areas earlier this year.
The MCSA (Cape Town Section) is integrally involved with the Table Mountain Security Action Group (TMSAG), an initiative involving over forty mountain user groups, neighbourhood watches and security associations, who are pursuing positive actions behind the scenes to combat these hazards in very difficult circumstances.
The TMSAG is actively lobbying ALL the authorities to come up with a meaningful plan to protect mountain users – locals, visitors and tourists alike – and to apprehend those who would threaten us in what should be a safe and peaceful environment.
Table Mountain National Part crime hotspots
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These are the places considered by the GCMC SA as crime hotspots:
Newlands Forest in its entirety
The Saddle behind Devil’s Peak
The slopes of Devil’s Peak
The Blockhouses and nearby mountain biking trails
Other areas that pose a risk
Signal Hill and Lion’s Head
Noordhoek & Kommetjie Beach
Sandy Bay & Karbonkelberg
Kleinplaas Dam area
Black Hill and Red Hill
Areas considered to be safe
Silvermine East and the Kalk Bay mountains
The Back Table
The Apostles remain relatively crime-free at the present time.
Safety precautions when hiking
- Hike in a group. While this does not preclude being attacked, it may serve as a deterrent.
- Be aware of potential threats. The suddenness of an attack leads to panic, which may exacerbate the situation. An alert, obviously aware group, poses a harder target.
- If attacked, it is advisable NOT to resist. Handing over your “valuables” decreases the chances of being harmed (although unfortunately, this is not always the case).
- In the event that you can see that an attack is imminent, hide your cell phone in the vegetation or rocks so that you are able to summon help much faster afterwards.
- Keep the emergency contact numbers on your phones. Check that all members of the party have these numbers. Also keep those numbers somewhere on your person.
- Keep a lookout on social media for the various ‘Safe Hikes’ and ‘Take Back Our Mountain’ initiatives, in which the MCSA is an active participant, and lend your support. These are proving to be highly successful.
Emergency numbers (for crime or accident situations)
021 937 0300
Metro Emergency Medical Services, who will activate Mountain Rescue, and have the ability to escalate your call to all relevant agencies.
021 480 7700
Public Emergency Communication Centre, which is a central control for reporting crime, on the mountain or anywhere else.
These control centres can easily communicate with each other and all emergency services and are currently your best options.
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