Cape's Upper Tokai trails re-open for 2018

2017-12-20 12:30 - Unathi Nkanjeni
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Cape Town - The Upper Tokai section of the Table Mountain National Park is set to re-open to the public on weekdays come 29 December.

Instead of operating just on weekends as per the current status, Table Mountain National Park Management has decided that the area can be re-opened 7 days per week from the above date.

The Upper Tokai section of Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) was closed in March 2015, following the devastating fire that swept through the plantation and arboretum. 

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The area remained closed to the public for safety reasons whilst the remaining burnt plantation and dangerous burnt trees were removed and for rehabilitation reasons as measures were put in place to secure the exposed slopes from erosion.

South African National Parks (SANParks) engaged with various stakeholders during the course of the closure resulting in the successful re-opening of Upper Tokai on 10 December 2016 over weekends only.

Local mountain bike representatives, TokaiMTB, roped in the assistance of Amarider, the African mountain bike advocacy group, to provide the cover needed for access indemnity. 

According to SANParks, this indemnity TokaiMTB employed marshals to ensure users did not stray into the remaining hazardous areas and to monitor compliance. 

Added to that, the bike representatives have also invested a further R350 thousand in addition to the R145 thousand from the Pedal Power Association towards the post-fire rehabilitation of the mountain biking tracks as part of the community’s contribution to cycling in the park.

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SANParks teams together with volunteers continue to rehabilitate Upper Tokai including repairs to certain trails and tracks damaged as a result of the fires and ongoing tree-felling operations. 

The removal of alien invasive plants is also an ongoing exercise. The alien infestation in Tokai is a result of more than a century of commercial timber planting and harvesting and it may take as many years to fully rehabilitate the area.
 
TMNP says more than R5 million has been spent on the rehabilitation of the vegetation in Upper Tokai with another R1 million budgeted for next year. 
 

Contracted teams are assisted by volunteers under the guidance of the Friends of Tokai Park. 

Upper Tokai can be accessed by user groups from the Tokai Picnic site or Silvermine pay points. Hikers can also access the Upper Tokai from Constantia Nek and Blackburn Ravine hiking trails.

Activity permit checks and day fees will be managed at the Tokai and Silvermine pay points. Staff will conduct routine patrols and permit inspections.

In addition to this, TMNP management and staff would like to encourage user groups to be courteous in sharing the reopened tracks/paths and to take in the panoramic views on offer. 

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What you need to know about Upper Tokai access 

Access limitations:

At the time of reopening on 29 December 2017, the Arboretum and Elephants Eye trail will offer access only up to level three while rehabilitation of the rest of this hiking trail continues.
Parking in designated parking sites will remain in the Tokai picnic area as per the current arrangement. This is however dependant on parking space and availability. 
Limited vehicular access will be allowed, at a cost of R27.00 per vehicle for parking.
No dogs allowed.
No after hour activities allowed.
Enter at your own risk.
NB: Cyclists and hikers should be aware that there are a limited number of parking bays available at the Tokai Picnic site and for ease of access, it is recommended that visitors arrive on the new Non-Motorised Transport routes installed by the City, or via the greenbelts. 

Tips to enjoy Upper Tokai:

Please don’t hike, cycle or horse ride on your own.
Go in groups of at least 4 people and at the speed of the slowest person. 
Avoid carrying valuables as far as possible - cash, jewellery, iPods etc.
If confronted by suspects - do not resist.
Emergency numbers: TMNP Control 0861-106-417/ SAPS 10111 

Fees: 

Day mountain biking permit: R80.00

Day horse riding permit: R80.00

Vehicle Entrance Fee: R27.00

Annual Activity Permit: 

Level 3 Horse Riding/Mountain Bike: R550.00

Late exit fine: R500.00

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