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January 17th, 2018 by


South Africa, or more specifically, the Western Cape plays host to a wide variety of incredible hiking spots. Tourists flock from all over the world to hike Table Mountain and Lions Head.

Although this is such a popular activity in the city, some of the trails are tough. On January 1, two climbers fell to their death whilst attempting to hike one of the Table Mountain routes.

With safety being the most important aspect to consider when hiking, we provide you with some hiking tips. This will ensure a safe and successful hike every time!

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Hiking Know How 101

Not only is hiking a fun way to enjoy the outdoors, but it also has various health benefits. A simple trail can help reduce anxiety  as well as prevent deformity diseases such as osteoporosis.

Here are five tips to consider when taking a trip up a mountain:

1. Choose The Right Trail

It’s not about how intense the trail is, but rather how it suits your fitness level. Remember that, although choosing a tough trail might be challenging, you need to make sure you will be able to get up and down.

Start off with small trails in the forest and then once you have mastered that, then head to something a bit more challenging.

Ensure that when you choose the trail, that you go somewhere that is safe and moderately busy. The reality of the matter is that, there have been various crimes taking place along some of the more quieter trails. It is best to either go in the early morning or late afternoon when the trails play host to a variety of people.

2. Know Where You Are Going

Once you have chosen your trail, you need to get hold of a map of the area. Most hiking spots are huge and predominantly look the same.
Getting lost in one of these places can be very simple, so mapping out your route is a crucial component when it comes to planning a solid hike.

Also, going with someone who is experienced and who is familiar with the route will make the whole experience a lot more fun and enjoyable.

3. Check The Weather

The weather is one of the most important elements to take into account when planning a hike. Hiking in bad weather, isn’t only unpleasant, but it is also very dangerous.

Make sure to check the weather before you plan your hike as this could affect whether or not it would take place. The best times to hike are during the early morning when the sun is rising and when the sun is setting.

This, during summer time, is the coolest time to be outdoors. Not only that, but your chances of getting dehydrated and sun burn are less likely in these conditions, as opposed to hiking in the middle of the day.

4. Share Your Location

Hiking in very mountainous terrain can be very dangerous. The number of people who have gone missing while hiking is quite scary. Many are due to the fact that no one knew that they were going on a hike in the first place.

It is advisable that if you plan to go hiking, that you let someone know where you are going and possibly even give them a map of the area.

That way, if there isn’t any reception and you are in danger, you can get help faster. There are now a variety of apps that you can download for your device for free that will provide your location if you are in danger. The app sends out a message to the authorities that you are in need of help. To find out about the various emergency apps available, click here.

5. Dress For The Affair

Make sure that when you go on your hike, that you wear the right attire. Wear comfortable shoes and socks and take something warm that you can put on when the sun goes down.

Many people just wear their gym clothes which is good, however there are various stores around the city that offer different hiking apparel.

Get yourself a hat and some sunscreen to protect you from the harsh UV rays. Take a backpack that is not too heavy but fits all your essential items in it.

Be prepared for all weather conditions whilst on the hike as the weather changes very quickly in Cape Town.

For information on hiking apparel, visit Cape Union Mart here.

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Top 5 Hiking Essentials 

We spoke to regular hiker, Rozanne De Vries, who gave us her top 5 hiking essentials. Take a look and let us know what your ‘can’t live without’ hiking essentials are. These are De Vries’s top items:

  1. A friend;
  2. Water;
  3. Sunscreen;
  4. Salted nuts;
  5. Cap.

 

Popular Hiking Spots In Cape Town

There are hundreds of different options for people to choose from to hike around the Cape. Some of them range from easy to difficult, all depending on the route you choose.

We break down a list of some of the most popular hiking spots in and around Cape Town:

Route Duration Difficulty
Lions’s Head 2 hours Moderate
Silvermine 3 hours Moderate to Difficult
Skeleton Gorge 4 hours Moderate
Pipe Track 4 hours Easy to Moderate
Constantia Nek to Kirstenbosch 2 hours Easy to Moderate
Devil’s Peak 3 hours Moderate to Difficult
India Venster 4 hours Moderate to Difficult
Newlands Forest 2 hours Moderate
Elephant’s Eye 2 hours Easy to Moderate
Paarl Rock 4 hours Moderate

 

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  • Ricardo

    Hiking is a great way to keep fit, for sure! Love these tips! Oh, before I forget, when hiking, you have to stay hydrated, and take the right vitamins. I buy all my health and beauty essentials at Clicks! And they have amazing specials