Hikers stand together for safety

2019-08-27 06:00
Hikers and cyclists at Constantia
Nek on Sunday 18
August, in support of the Take
Back Our Mountain safe hike
initiative.

Hikers and cyclists at Constantia Nek on Sunday 18 August, in support of the Take Back Our Mountain safe hike initiative. (Nettalie Viljoen)

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A total of 203 hikers and 35 cyclists gathered at Constantia Nek on Sunday 18 August in support of the Take Back Our Mountain safe hike initiative.

The 15km trek to the five historic dams on the top of Table Mountain and back again is the 20th time that hikers from across the peninsula have united since the formation of #TBOM in January 2018.

Taahir Osman, the founder of the initiative, says he is in awe of the amazing support shown. “I wish to thank the regular Tbommers for their continued support. And a special thank you to the cyclists who came out in their numbers, specifically teams from Team Outcast, Pelican Social and Alpha cycling clubs.”

#TBOM was formed in response to the increase in robberies and attacks on hikers and cyclists on the mountains of Cape Town. The initiative aims to raise awareness and put more pressure on authorities to effectively reduce violent crime in Table Mountain National Park.

“There is no single solution to our crime challenges, hence the active role of civil society in partnership with the policing and governance authorities of our national parks,” says Osman.

In addition to #TBOM core supporters, a team of six Sanparks field rangers were on hand on the day to assist hikers.

Sanparks field ranger Nathan Caswell says initiatives like these are invaluable and deserving of support. “We want nothing more than for visitors to our beautiful parks to feel safe. That is our biggest challenge. But we can’t do it without the support of our communities. We need to work together.”

Sanparks also facilitated access for hikers to the Waterworks Museum located on Table Mountain, between the Woodhead and Hely-Hutchinson reservoirs.

Sanparks ranger Aslam Levy gave a brief talk on the history of the five dams, with the oldest, Woodhead Reservoir, dating back to 1894.

“These dams are part of our heritage, all of us. Back then there weren’t any fancy machines to do the work for them. Elbow grease built these dams. The blood, sweat and tears of our ancestors built these dams. It is the responsibility of every person here to protect them,” he said.

The sunny weather on the day reflected hikers’ good spirits.

Alawia Brown, who was mugged in March last year, says the hikes arranged by #TBOM gave her the chance to do what she loves, and to feel safe doing so. “I won’t let a bad experience stop me from hiking. I love being on the mountain, breathing in the fresh air, taking in the beauty of nature.”

Hiker Shoaib Kathrada of Cape Town says initiatives like these are fantastic. “It is a wonderful opportunity for families to explore the mountain together. It also shows what can be done if we stand together.”

Another hiker Monique Visser says it is a great way to spend a Sunday morning. “My boyfriend is one of the #TBOMB core supporters so I try to join every second hike. Today I invited my work colleague along. It is just a nice way to spend time with family and friends. You can pack a picnic and make a whole day of it.”

Jackie Carnow, a teacher at Lavender Hill High School, says hiking is a way for her to leave the stress and strain of work behind. “Because of the community I work in, there is a lot of pain and hurt. You need healing after a tough week and nature has a wonderful way of doing that. I believe in the restorative energy of nature. You must be aware of it and tap into it.”

The next #TBOM hike, the Sandy Bay slope soaring trail, will take place on Sunday 22 September from 08:15. The grade A3 hike will take about four hours to complete. From Victory Drive turn into Helgarda Road, left into Edgar Road, then into Eustegia Way. Drive until you reach a parking area on your left.

  • For more information, call Taahir Osman on 073 624 4287.

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