What Are SANParks Doing About Hiking Attacks?

The recent spat of attacks on hikers in Cape Town has increased. SANParks has responded with stricter security measures. We investigate.
U
Melissa
Cohen
Published: Friday, January 19th 2018
General
In recent months, the number of attacks on hikers in and around Cape Town has increased. Just this past weekend, there were two attacks which took place on various Table Mountain routes. Various social media community groups blame the authorities for not implementing hiker protection programmes. Since early last year, there have been over 90 hiker attacks that have taken place around the Table Mountain routes. Amid the recent outcry by the community, SANPark has reassured the members that there will be stricter security measures in place.
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Is It Too Late? 

On January 14, two incidents took place where hikers were attacked. One attack took place along the Silvermine route and the other at the Peers Cave above Fish Hoek. In the Silvermine attack, two attackers reportedly joined a group of nine hikers while pretending to be hikers. According to reports, after half an hour, the attackers stabbed the hikers with a knife. Five of the victims were airlifted to a local medical facility to receive treatment. A week ago another incident took place, where a 39-year old Egyptian tourist was stabbed while walking along Noordehoek Beach. Authorities have confirmed that SAPS is currently investigating the situation.

So What Is Being Done? 

According to an official statement by SANParks, there will be more visible security in and around the Table Mountain trail routes.
"Further operational meetings will take place during the course of this week with SANParks, SAPS and other law enforcement agencies to solidify operational plans. Given the extent and remoteness of the Park, it is a challenge to have a constant presence in the area. However, the safety of park-goers is important and it must be stressed that citizens remain vigilant given they enter at their own risk. "
SANPark has also confirmed that two arrests have been made in connection with the incidences which took place in January. These perpetrators were responsible for a mugging incident which took place between Platteklip and Signal Hill. The National Parks have also added these additional resources to their security plan:
  •  Joint operations with SAPS;
  • Ongoing surveillance Observation Points to monitor the mountain;
  • An increase of patrols in the area;
  • The deployment of the TMNP dog unit;
  • Identifying possible escape routes to assist SAPS in apprehending the perpetrators. There are numerous exit points;
  • Gather on site evidence to assist with a successful conviction.
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Safety Tips For Hikers

While SANPark promises to amp up the safety for their hikers, they also require hikers to be aware of their own personal safety. Here is a list of safety tips that SANPark has requested hikers and visitors to the park consider:
  • Never hike, run, cycle etc alone - four or more is an ideal size for a party;
  • Plan your route from start to end and choose the route according to the ability, fitness and experience of the group;
  • Inform someone exactly which route you are taking as well as your expected time of return and stick to this route and plan;
  • Always be prepared for bad weather, i.e. take proper weatherproof clothing even on a sunny day (wind and rain proof); torches - with spare batteries and globes; good footwear - strong boots or shoes with non-slip soles; food; water; a flask of tea or some other beverage; a rucksack to carry it all in - so as to leave your arms and hands free;
  • Carry a guidebook, map or route description. A registered guide is recommended;
  • Keep to the designated routes on well-used paths. Heed signs advising of danger and do not take short cuts or unknown routes;
  • Don't bring valuables like money or camera equipment;
  • Be wary of suspicious persons who may pose as hikers.
"SANParks is deeply concerned about any incidents taking place in the park and requests that hikers save the emergency number on their phones."
*For any emergencies, contact 086 110 6417 or 107/021 480 7700.