Why avid hikers should keep themselves insured
While hiking promotes physical fitness and encourages people to enjoy the diversity of South Africa’s beautiful scenery, hikers need to be aware and prepared for the hazards they may encounter while hiking, such as if an injury or the loss of an important possession occurs. In 2018 the Mountain Club of SA (Cape Town Section) made its members aware of the increasing possible threats to their personal security while hiking and climbing in the vicinity of the Table Mountain National Park. This alone makes it essential for hikers to have life insurance, in the event a tragic incident occurs.
The Mountain Club of South Africa (MCSA) said there were only a limited number of areas that could be considered completely harm-free for hiking and it urged hikers to be aware of the hiking spots where there had been a rise in crime incidents. In 2018 hikers in Cape Town experienced tragic attacks, such as the series of assaults on trail runners and hikers on the Saddle at the top Newlands Ravine. Walkers, runners, cyclists and hikers also encountered a number of assaults in the Newlands forest.
According to the Mountain Club of South Africa, the most dangerous places to go hiking in Cape Town include the Newlands Forest as a whole, Newlands Ravine, the slopes of Devil’s Peak, the Saddle behind Devil’s Peak, the Blockhouses and the mountain biking trails not far off. “All these areas have seen several assaults recently and while some of the perpetrators have, of late, been apprehended, others remain at large. There are also reports of people living there, hence the increased risks,” stated the report.
Other areas hikers were advised to be more cautious included Signal Hill and Lion’s Head, Sandy Bay and Karbonkelberg, Noordhoek and Kommetjie Beach, Vlakkenberg, Elephant’s Eye, Blackburn Ravine, Black Hill and Red Hill, Kleinplaas Dam area, Slangkop and Sunrise Beach - all in Cape Town.
The areas with less risk of attacks and more conducive for hiking include Silvermine East and Kalk Bay mountains, where there had been fewer reports of violent incidents, while Cape Point, Silvermine West, the Back Table, Orange Kloof and the Apostles remained the least threatening areas for hiking, as there were no reports of crime in these spots.
How hikers can ensure they are protected
Here are some of the security precautions hikers can take before heading out to a hiking trail.
Don’t hike alone. While hiking in a group does not guarantee your security, it can greatly reduce your chances of being attacked.
If attacked, you’re advised not to resist. Although not always the case, handing over your valuable items decreases the chances of being injured.
In the event that you can see that you’re about to be attacked, use the Dialdirect Namola Emergency App to get help quick. This can be downloaded from Google Play Store or the Apple app store.
Ensure you’re well informed about the hiking trail. Find out what the hazards are and what you can do to remain protected.
Don’t go hiking at night unless you are in a very large group with professional hikers.
6. Ensure you have taken up portable possessions cover in case you are attacked and your possessions are taken.
The MCSA along with several other mountain user groups is working hard to combat crime and to see how they can enforce solutions that will make it more harm-free for hikers to go on hiking trails without the fear of being attacked. All these developments however make it a prerequisite for hikers to ensure they are insured.