/ Attacks on hikers on Table Mountain, Cape Town
A word of warning to anyone planning to hike or climb on Table Mountain and adjoining areas. I have just returned from a 10 day holiday in Western Cape during which I had intended to do some solo walking on Table Mountain, Silvermines and Echo Valley, but had to drastically adjust my plans so as to either walk in popular parts of the mountains in company or well away from the area on the other side of False Bay.
Attacks on hikers in remote parts of these mountains have always been a risk, but generally the advice has been to carry little money and valuables and if threatened to to just hand it over, generally the muggers didn't carry out their threats of violence if you did this. However over the last two or three weeks the attacks have been violent, and the intention has been to cause death and injury over and above "normal" muggings. Also these criminals in the past, generally didn't go far away from roads or high up into the mountains which can take several hours.
About 3 weeks ago a mixed party of 9 men and women were attacked by two men wielding and using knives, which resulted in 5 being detained in hospital, some with life threatening injuries. Then about a week later a hiker and his wife were attacked in a lonely part of the mountain, and the man died from stab wounds.
A big problem with walking/climbing in the more remote areas is that there is no cell phone coverage.
Local walking and climbing groups are determined not to let intimidation keep them away, but at the same time vigilance is necessary, and solo walking not advisable. Local groups are organising patrols and reporting any sightings of strange behaviour by people who are not what appear to be "your normal hiker"
If you do walk watch out for strange people trying to follow you or cut you off and beat a retreat if in any doubt. Avoid getting into conversation with or allowing strangers to join your group.
It is not known if the above two incidents involved the same two attackers or not.
The police have made no arrests, but it's vast area to patrol.
According to the local press there have been over 80 incidents of muggings or attempted muggings in the Table Mountain National Park in the last 12 month, which is very sad because its a beautiful park with world class hiking and climbing.
Sounds very nasty indeed:
Two suspects have been arrested
Apparently the police have said since the report you refer to occurred that the arrests referred to were wrong, and when I left Cape Town yesterday they said they were still searching for the suspects.
How was security more generally in the Western Cape?
We're planning a trip later this year. I'd read about the increase in crime on Table Mountain on Climb ZA and had decided just to avoid Cape Town. Though we'll fly into the airport there.
I presume that Rocklands, the Cederbergs etc are still considered safe?
Obviously it's impossible to guarantee, but Cederberg and Rocklands, should be ok. The trouble with Table Mountain and Silvermines is that it's very close to the sprawling informal settlement (townships) of the Cape Flats running east towards Somerset West and Strand where there is a very great deal of gang/drug related violence which spreads into Cape Town and now these mountain areas which attract a lot of generally wealthy middle class tourists including walkers and climbers who have become easy targets.
The Cederberg is a lot more remote and although there are informal settlements they are smaller and less accessible to the wild areas which appeal to the likes of us. Rocklands is on a farm well away from Clan William. and I've never felt remotely unsafe there.
Going back to Cape Town area, if you drive out to the mountains to the east of Somerset West (about 40 k) and round to Du Toits Kloof you will be in a remote but relatively safe mountain area with excellent multi pitch climbing almost on a big wall scale, and multi day hiking.
Thanks that's really helpful.
I hadn't heard of Du Toits Kloof, sounds amazing I'll add it to the list of potential places to visit.
We are also considering Montagu, which as far as I can tell from my online research is also fairly safe.
I wonder if the drought situation is driving increased crime?
Anyhow, If people want suggestions for alterntive plans away from Cape Town then the Otter trail is interesting if you can get a space and are happy with swimming rivers and sea cliff paths. You can also do a 3-8 day circuit of the Swellendam mountains.
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