Hiking Table Mountain safely

Tips from Table Mountain National Park, the city of Cape Town and Cape Town Tourism

A Safety and Support Forum meeting was held on 23 March 2011, at the Cape Diamond hotel. The forum was set up to deal with matters concerning safety on Table Mountain.

The meeting was prompted by two incidents in March, of which one was fatal when a 22-year-old fell, while trying to do rock climbing on a hiking trip. Visitors have the perception that it is easy to hike up Table Mountain and often stray from marked routes.

While Cape Town Tourism, the Provincial Department of Tourism and SANParks don’t wish to alarm hikers, they do want to raise safety awareness. They have urged industry partners that deal with hikers to communicate the correct emergency numbers, and share safety tips and pamphlets.

Table Mountain National Park, the City of Cape Town and Cape Town Tourism have issued the following safety tips:

Mountain Safety

Do not walk alone:
always walk with a friend or with a tourism company recommended by your hotel or guesthouse.

Tell somebody where you are going and how long you expect to be.

If you get lost: stay where you are, someone will find you if you have followed the tip above.

Clothing: always pack wet weather gear, even on a hot day. The weather in Cape Town can change suddenly. Wear good walking shoes and a hat.

Take water and sunscreen: the 1000m high Table Mountain is a serious mountain - weather conditions can be harsh and change suddenly.

Be observant: always take note of your surroundings and possible weather changes.

Maps: be sure to use reliable maps. Peter Slingsby maps and John Yeld’s Mountains in the Sea are the only maps and guide books endorsed by Table Mountain National Park. These maps, and other helpful material, can be obtained from Cape Town Tourism Visitor Information Centres.

Personal Safety

Do not walk alone:
by walking alone you are an easy target for criminals.

Do not trust strangers: do not follow people you don’t know into deserted areas.

Do not carry unnecessary valuables.

If confronted:
do not resist and give the person your bag, camera or watch.

Remote areas: avoid remote areas with few people, instead stick to well populated paths.

Guides: make sure your guide is from a reputable company.

Information: there are 17 Cape Town Tourism offices within Cape Town. The staff can assist you by recommending approved destinations, routes and organisations.

Baboons and animals: please don’t feed any animals you encounter, as they could become aggressive.

Ensure that you allow enough time to complete your walk before sunset.

Some useful numbers

Emergencies:
+27 (0)21 480 7700

Table Mountain National Park:
+27 (0)21 957 4700

Wilderness Search and Rescue:
+27 (0)21 948 9900

Cape Town Tourism:
+27 (0)21 426 4260

We recommend tour operator AWOL Tours. Read our overview of Table Mountain.

Watch the daring video of three rock-climbers who scaled Table Mountain – and then jumped off it

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