5 important safety tips to remember when hitting the trails

Posted on Fri May 20, 2016.

The Western Cape and especially Cape Town is home to some spectacular scenery and there are many opportunities to go and explore this beautiful Province. However, whether you are going trail running, hiking, mountain biking or even kayaking or snorkelling, safety should be your number one priority. This especially rings true if you are not familiar with the area. We have compiled the following 5 steps to help you keep you safe on the trails. This is by no means a complete list, so please let us know if you have any additional safety tips.

1) Never hit the trails alone

Always take to the trails in a group of at least 2 or 3 people. If you are travelling on your own and don’t know any people, try and go on a tour of your chosen activity or even join the local club.

2) Know the route

Make sure that at least one person in the group is familiar with the route. If you are unfamiliar with the area, you can make use of websites such as mapyrun.com or endomondo.com. These websites offer live mapping tools which make use of google maps and allows you to plot or create your own route. This especially useful if you are going hiking, running or cycling. Alternatively ask your hotel for a map of the area.

3) Always inform someone where you are going

Make sure that someone knows where you are going to be and when you plan to return. This could be a friend or family member or even the hotel where you are staying. You can even make use of the hiker’s network to track your trail. This service is available to all mountain users. All you need to do is check in online with the twitter handle @safetymountain or @hikingcapetown and advise what you are planning to do. Once you have checked in, your number will be loaded onto one of three tracking rooms. Mountain users can regularly check in during their activity and even phone +27 83 444 5267 should they need any assistance or if they don’t have access to twitter. For more information, visit http://hikersnetwork.co.za/safetymountain/.

4) Always take Your Mobile Phone

Make sure that your phone is fully charged and place it in a zip lock bag to ensure it does not get wet. Depending on how long your trail is, it might be a good idea to put your phone on airplane mode to preserve battery life. Furthermore, it is important to make sure that is has emergency numbers pre-loaded. For the Cape Town area these numbers are:

Mountain and sea rescue:                            +27 (0) 937 0300

Provincial Ambulance:                                   +27 (0) 21 937 0500

Netcare Private Ambulance:                        +27 (0) 82 911

5) Take a Hydration Pack

A hydration pack will ensure that you carry sufficient water with you. It is important to take a minimum of 1 – 2 litres of water on your trail. If you don’t have a hydration pack, a back pack will be sufficient. In addition to water, we recommend the following items:

  • a warm top such as a micro fleece
  • a lightweight windbreaker outside of raining seasons
  • a lightweight 100% waterproof jacket inside of raining season
  • a space blanket
  • Basic food such as race- or energy bars, bananas, dates and nuts will do the trick
  • a whistle
  • a basic first aid kit which should include; painkillers, anti-inflammatory pills, stretch bandage, safety pins and rehidrate sachets.
  • An additional zip lock bag to store food, first aid etc.

Please let us know your essential items when hitting the trails or contact us should you need assistance in arranging a tour