Cape Town - Rangers at South African National Parks (SANParks) and South African Police Service (SAPS) are on high alert following the mugging of a Dutch couple in Wilderness on Monday, 19 February.
"We received the news with shock at about 14:30 yesterday and immediately responded by increasing the number of rangers patrolling the Brown Hooded trail," says Paddy Gordon, Park Manager of the Garden Route National Park.
According to SANParks, the couple was robbed of valuables whilst walking the Brown-hooded trail in Wilderness, and are expected to attend a trauma debriefing session organised by SAPS.
SAPS is continuing to search for the suspects, while SANParks says it has escalated the number of patrols on the trail and continues to engage the Policing Forum for Wilderness.
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The Brown-hooded trail is a three-hour linear route which is about 5km. It goes through forest patches and hikers get to cross the Duiwe River at least 5 times whilst on the trail.
"While this is the first criminal incident reported in Wilderness, SANParks is requesting all visitors to its trails to not make expensive valuables visible while on trails. This includes jewellery, cameras, cellphones and others," warns SANParks.
Planning a hike, trail run or mountain bike adventure? Keep the following safety tips in mind:
- Never hike, run, cycle alone - four or more is an ideal size for a party.
- Plan your route from start to end and choose the route according to the ability, fitness and experience of the group. This will prevent potential injury.
- Inform someone exactly which route you are taking as well as your expected time of return, and stick to this route and plan.
- Always go prepared for bad weather, i.e. take proper weatherproof clothing even on a sunny day (wind and rain proof); torches - with spare batteries and globes; good footwear - strong boots or shoes with non-slip soles; food; water; a flask of tea or some other beverage; a rucksack to carry it all in - to leave your arms and hands free.
- Undertake your activity with somebody who knows the way and carry a guidebook, map or route description. A registered guide is recommended.
- Keep to the designated routes on well-used paths. Heed signs advising of danger and do not take short cuts or unknown routes.
- Leave valuable like cash and cameras behind.
ALSO SEE: Visitor Safety Team on the prowl to combat crime in Table Mountain National Park
This mugging follows recent attacks and crimes committed towards the end of the festive season, at various national parks and tourism venues in SA.
Certain beaches were prime targets, and Cape Town's Noordhoek beach and Port Elizabeth beachfront saw attacks at the start of the new year, while Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) implemented a dedicated Visitor Safety Team to keep crime to a minimum.
Become a volunteer ranger
If you live in the Cape Town area and would like to become a volunteer ranger, Table Mountain National Park is offering a twelve-month training and mentorship programme on Saturdays from 08:30 - 16:00 at the TMNP office in Kloof Nek, Signal Hill road.
"Training will consist of in and out of class lectures and mountain patrolling, including full moon patrols," says SANParks.
ALSO SEE: SANParks reminder: Flying drones at parks will lead to arrest
Click here for the TMNP 2018 volunteer ranger application form. E-mail a brief CV with an ID photo of yourself and completed application form to firstname.lastname@example.org, or submit your application directly to the TMNP office in Kloof Nek, Signal Hill road. Closing date for applications is Wednesday, 28 February 2018.
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