Cape Town hiking: drought and security concerns – 20 April 2018

Cape Town’s water crisis has received worldwide coverage, most of it sketching a bleak picture. Questions like ‘Will we be able to buy bottled water?’ from aspiring visitors is indicative of the depth of doom-and-gloom news the media has been doling out to the public. Sure, Cape Town is in the throes of a severe drought, but apart from being concious of water consumption, life continues as usual in the Mother City. The majority of Capetonians have embraced water-saving tips laid out by the City Council. As a result, we have seen the average household consumption drop considerably as locals and tourists alike have taken up the challenge of cutting down consumption, many employing creative methods such as collecting rainwater, recycling grey water, drilling boreholes and fitting showers with water-saving heads. The city and surrounding catchment areas have received decent rains over the past days, and more rain is forecast for next week. As a winter rainfall area, we’re looking forward to some good rainfall from late May through end August. Abiding by a few basic water-saving methods, visitors can enjoy the city and surrounds without detraction. For more informaton and FAQ on the water crisis, read here. Cape Town has been afflicted by water shortages since the 1850s. Five reservoirs were built on Table Mountain between 1893 and 1907 to alleviate the city’s growing thirst. On completion, water demand again outstripped supply, and more dams were built further inland, tapping the more expansive and taller Cape mountains. Join us on a hike up the 12 Apostles or Skeleton Gorge to learn more about the fascinating history of Cape Town’s struggle for water.

Another concern among would-be visitors is the crime on Table Mountain. A recent spate of attacks (muggings and stabbings) have opened animated discussion on Table Mountain safety and security. Much anger is being vented at Table Mountain National Park for being unable to provide adequate visitor safety. As a result, the Park has increased security staff and patrols on the mountain. Flare-ups of criminal activity have afflicted Table Mountain for more than a decade, and mountain users are running out of patience with authorities dragging their heels in addressing the issue. The reality is, Table Mountain National Park covers a large area, and all the recent attacks occured remote from the famous tabletop summit, where most of our hiking routes are located. The Park encompasses all the mountains on the Cape Peninsula – an area of 221 square kilometers – with Table Mountain located on the northern boundary, comprising around 48 square kilometers, of which about 7% is taken up by the famous “Table”. By avoiding crime hotspots, chances of getting mugged are minimal. As a mountain-guiding service, Hike Table Mountain does not run guided hikes anywhere near areas of recent criminal activity. Staying abreast of mountain security issues, and avoiding dodgy routes, have earned us a clean safety record for not once ever having had a run-in with muggers.

Despite the flare-up in mountain muggings and the drought, Cape Town and its iconic mountain – one of the new 7 Wonders of Nature – remain an unforgettable destination that will charm you in many ways. Through being conscious of your water consumption (refrain from taking baths; keep showers to under 2 minutes) and hiking in numbers while avoiding areas of criminal activity on Table Mountain, you can enjoy the city as much as ever.

(c) www.hiketablemountain.co.za