Well-known environmentalist mugged while hiking

2017-03-20 12:51
Dave Pepler (Netwerk24)

Dave Pepler (Netwerk24)

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Cape Town – The Stellenbosch Hiking Club has advised hikers to be cautious after environmentalist and kykNET presenter Dave Pepler and a Maties student were attacked on a trail near Stellenbosch over the weekend.

Werner Mödinger, 77, of the Stellenbosch Hiking Club, told Netwerk24 that it was not always easy to defend oneself on a hiking trail, but that walking in a group was always best.

Pepler and Handré Basson were hiking at Bothmaskop around 11:30 on Saturday when three men beat them with sticks and hurled stones at them, before making off with their cellphones.

Police are investigating the incident, but no arrests have been made yet.

The trail is near the Helshoogte Pass outside Stellenbosch.

Pepler said he had hiked in the area for 40 years without any incident.

'Guns not the answer'

Mödinger said his advice to hikers was to not walk alone, or even in small groups.

He himself was attacked and robbed while hiking a year ago.

"I was with my wife, but that didn't help. Brandishing knives, they forced her to hand over her wedding band and cellphone. There was nothing we could do."

Handré Basson, who was attacked while hiking near Stellenbosch (Dave Pepler, Facebook, via Netwerk24)

Mödinger suggested that hikers leave valuables at home, because the robbers usually wanted money, cellphones and jewellery.

He said hikers weren't even really safe in areas where there was access control.

"What I suggest as well is to keep as far away as possible from residential areas. The chances are slim that someone will rob you in the bundus, more than 10km from a residential area."

A firearm wasn't necessarily the answer either, he said.

"To have a gun is just another sought after item that can be stolen. You'll probably have it in your pocket, which is of no use if someone were to attack you."

His advice was to rather carry pepper spray.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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