Planning a hike? Hikers should plan their trip wisely. Picture: Anja Wiehl.
Planning a hike? Hikers should plan their trip wisely. Picture: Anja Wiehl.

11 safety tips for your next South African hike

By Clinton Moodley Time of article published Aug 23, 2019

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The murder of Ukrainian hiker Ivan Ivanov, 43, on a popular hiking trail in Cape Town has prompted safety concerns for travellers heading for hikes within the country. 

IOL Travel spoke to Rim of Africa’s Galeo Saintz on what safety tips travellers should take when going on their next hike.

Have the right gear

Depending on the type of environment, carry items that are appropriate for the terrain and destination. For example, hikers should invest in quality hiking boots than walking barefoot or using flip flops. 

Always carry a space blanket and extra water

A space blanket is a low-weight, low-bulk blanket made of heat-reflective thin plastic sheeting to help with thermal control. The blanket comes in handy during emergencies. Hikers should always carry extra water in their bags.  

Always carry a charged cellphone and power bank in your hiking bag

Having battery power on your phone is necessary, especially if you are embarking on longer hikes. 

Hike in groups

Hiking is an enjoyable activity best enjoyed with company. Try to hike with a few people for safety and when in remote regions. It is advisable not to hike alone. 

Research the route

Thanks to the power of online, searching for information about your hiking routes is a click of a button away. Things to consider are the dangers common to the trail, criminal incidents and types of reptiles and animals to watch out for. 

Carry food and energy snacks

Some hikes take longer than expected, and the last thing you want is to be without some food when the hunger pangs strike. 

Warm clothing in the event of unexpected change in weather

A jacket or two comes in handy- especially if the weather takes a turn for the worse. 

Alert people about the hike details

Tell people where you are going and your expected time of arrival. 

Carry a small stove to make hot water

This rule is for longer hikes. It comes in handy for emergencies like boiling water, or reheating meals. 

Choose hikes according to fitness level

While it is tempting to choose a popular hiking trail for the “gram”, one should also take their fitness level into account. Do not attempt challenging hikes if you haven’t hiked before. 

Be vigilant

Capturing every moment of the hike may seem ideal, but one has to make sure that they are vigilant at all times. 

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