Cape Town - The extreme hiking adventure and trail initiative that makes up the Rim of Africa route is ready for kick off with the start of the Hi-Tec Trail Season 2016 on Heritage Day, September 24, 2016.
“This is no ordinary walk in the hills,” says Galeo Saintz, co-founder of this ambitious trail initiative which links trails across CapeNature and private land all the way from the Cederberg to the Outeniqua mountains in the Garden Route, which covers close to 650km and takes weeks to walk end to end.
“This year the Hi-Tec Trail Season on the Rim of Africa is a chance for fit and experienced hikers and maybe no so fit too, to link together 32 days of hiking across the most remote mountain areas of the Western Cape.”
“Spending time in nature, hiking and meeting new people with a shared passion for the outdoors is a great way to celebrate the rich heritage and diversity of our country,” says Saintz.
The initiative is pioneering a new approach to linking trails and communities across the Cape Mountains and is about much more than just hiking for days on end. “Trail tourism when sustainably developed delivers tangible benefits to landowners and communities living close to the trail infrastructure.
“Ecotourism is a product South Africa needs to continually invest in. Trails are a global contributor to the world's adventure tourism market and form the backbone to many activities that take place on them from day hikes to interpretive guiding, to trail running events, etc. This is important for the rural economy in the Cape.”
Co-founder Ivan Groenhof, a dedicated hiker who originally envisaged the project agrees: “Through our partners, including the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, CapeNature, local community forums and regional tourism authorities and with financial support from boot and apparel brand Hi-Tec South Africa, we are now in a position to further develop our community projects.
“This initiative is as much about the future as the present - Linking trails to conservation and involving communities, helps us to build a new generation of nature champions.
“The Western Cape's mountains are a valuable heritage with rich cultural and biodiversity elements and a tourism potential that offer many opportunities. Our collaborators in CapeNature understand this and are willing to support our efforts and show the powerful impact state and NGO collaboration can have.”
Adapted from a press release for IOL