Hikers raise safety awareness

2019-03-12 06:00
Hiking Elsies Peak to raise awareness safety.

Hiking Elsies Peak to raise awareness safety.

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More than 180 hikers and cyclists of all generations, colours, and creeds from all over the Cape Peninsula gathered on Fish Hoek Beach early on Sunday 24 February to raise awareness of crime in the Table Mountain National Park.

This was before the hikers climbed Elsies Peak and cyclists rode around the South Peninsula.

Initiated by Angela Botha of Fish Hoek Tourism to draw attention to the ongoing and increasing number of brutal attacks on hikers and cyclists in the mountains, beaches and roads of the Peninsula, and organised by Taahir Osman of hiking group Take Back Our Mountains (TBOM), the three and a half hours hike to the top of Elsies Peak was led by Michael Fish.

The participants included children, teenagers, adults, and senior citizens, several of whom were over 70-years-old with the eldest, Bella Fiorella who turned 84-years-old.

A woman who was present when one of her group was murdered on Kalk Bay mountain last year and one of the men shot at the Kleinplaas Dam on Red Hill last week also joined the group, while the 46 cyclists came from the Pelican Park Social, MC2 and Alpha clubs.

“TBOM has become a great network for hikers, cyclists, and runners to come together and meet new friends with the same interest, and enjoy the natural environment in large numbers to avoid these brutal attacks. It was a fabulous success, people are saying how much fun they had,” said Osman

The Elsies Peak initiative was instigated at a meeting of tourism operators and concerned citizens called by Botha to address the lack of security and the proliferation of criminal incidents perpetrated on innocent hikers and tourists in the magnificent natural areas of the Cape Peninsula which houses the only National Park worldwide to be fully enclosed within the borders of a city.

“The Cape Peninsula is world renowned for the natural beauty of its beaches and mountains with their unique fynbos flora,” said Botha who owns Fish Hoek Tourism.

“The lack of security in these areas means that criminal elements can operate with impunity and that is making it impossible for the general public and unsuspecting tourists to enjoy the Cape Floral Kingdom at their leisure,” Botha added.

Despite appeals to SANParks and Table Mountain National Park to furnish reasons as to why they are not providing security for those using the areas under their control, these statutory bodies have failed to respond to appeals to attend the meetings and discuss the violent incidents.

“These organisations charge fees for visiting their parks and require permits for taking photos and walking dogs. Yet they cry poverty and lack of resources to provide security against the criminals,” Botha added.

“Even though dozens of groups such as TBOM have offered to assist with security services, the authorities only allow them to operate on the fringes of the park and not in the areas where the attacks take place.”

Fish Hoek Tourism and TBOM will be organising further group hikes to draw attention to the lack of security and to provide safe access to the Cape Peninsula’s magnificent natural assets for all those who no longer can safely do so on their own.V To join the hikes call Taahir Osman on 073 624 4287

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