Start a forest adventure

2016-07-19 06:00
Experiencing the Alphen trail in a different way. Enjoy the trail throuh a guided audio tour.

Experiencing the Alphen trail in a different way. Enjoy the trail throuh a guided audio tour.

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Lovers of the Alphen trial along with first time visitors have a new way to experience Constantia’s networks of greenbelt thanks to VoiceMap.

VoiceMap is a Cape Town based audio tour app that plays stories about your surroundings while you walk.

The iOS and Android apps use your smartphone’s GPS device to pinpoint your exact location, and play audio automatically. Just put on your headphones and start exploring a neighbourhood through someone else’s eyes.

“Using smartphone GPS to trigger downloaded audio automatically, the listener is guided along a shady two-hour stroll through the greenbelts of Constantia, along the way hearing timeless stories, original music and natural sound effects,” says Iain Manley, co-founder of VoiceMap.

Through the VoiceMap app people can now experience other areas in a different way.

The voice-guided Elfin trail audio walking tour starts at the parking lot at the entrance to the Cecilia Forest, at the intersection of Rhodes Drive and Hohenort Avenue.

This is an immersive, high fantasy-themed audio walking experience through the most beautiful and least-known forests and glades in the City.

It was officially launched in June.

The 5km trail is child-friendly and can be enjoyed in small groups.

However, walkers will have to be cautious when crossing the two well-announced major roads en route, should wear a good pair of shoes and bring along water.

The route is about 60% shaded.

“We now have over 200 audio tours in over 60 cities available for download on apps. Our team has grown to nine people. Most members of our team are editors. They work with contributors on every tour to keep the quality high and make sure we use this new medium to its full potential,” adds Manley.

Manley spent a decade travelling after graduating from university, mostly in Asia. Little did he know that his love for travelling would give birth to something that brings people closer to the areas they are visiting.

“I worked primarily as an editor and writer while I did this, and I got a strong sense of how important it was for stories to have a personal perspective, for somebody to say ’I love this place because’ or ‘I remember being here when’. This personal perspective was missing from location-aware audio tours, often because of the costs involved in producing them but VoiceMap changes that,” he says

“It gives everybody a voice, in the same way that blogging and e-books have disrupted newspapers and corporate publishing houses. Co-founder Lauren Edwards and I had been working for a company that produced audio tours for large tour companies, and left that to start VoiceMap.”

How to experience the Elfin Trail:

. Install VoiceMap for iPhone or Android

. Sign up with email or Facebook, then look for “The Elfin Trail” in the Cape Town menu

. Tap on the red download button. The audio walk costs R37.99. You can pay using your iTunes and Google Wallet accounts. Allow all the files to finish downloading before you close the app.

. When the download is finished, the download button will change from red to green, and instead of seeing the price, you’ll see the word “Start”. You’re ready to go!

. VoiceMap works offline and doesn’t require any mobile data

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