More fire-damaged parts of Table Mountain reopen to the public three months after blaze

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Table Mountain fire.
Table Mountain fire.
Kate Henry, News24
  • Areas around Devil's Peak have been reopened to the public.
  • The sections of Table Mountain were closed after a fire in April.
  • Rhodes Memorial and Deer Park remain closed.

Several parts of Table Mountain damaged by a runaway fire three months ago have been reopened to the public.

Sections of the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) have been closed since the fire, which broke out on 18 April in the Rhodes Memorial area. An investigation into the fire has since alleged that the blaze was started intentionally.

Fanned by strong winds, the blaze quickly spread across the mountain, engulfing the Rhodes Memorial Restaurant and Tea Garden and spreading to the University of Cape Town, where several historical buildings were destroyed. The blaze was contained after three days of firefighting.

Despite reopening sections of Newlands Forest to the public a week after the fire, several areas remain closed for rehabilitation work.

TMNP manager Frans van Rooyen said Rhodes Memorial Estate, Game Camp and Deer Park remain closed until further notice as there are still dangerous trees that need to be cut.

"The rehabilitation work started immediately after the fire, with attention given to both restoring access as well as the natural elements. Now, three months after the fire, fynbos recovery is showing great progress and mountain lovers can once again look forward to their favourite hikes and to see the wonders of fynbos," Van Rooyen said.

Phased approach

The damaged areas have been reopened in a phased approach.

"Teams have been hard at work implementing rehabilitation plans to allow for the reopening of certain areas, and we request users and visitors to these areas to continue exercising patience and allow the rehabilitation work to proceed without any obstructions," Van Rooyen said.

Permitted recreational activities in the reopened areas will continue as before, including hiking and dog walking.

The reopened areas include the quarries, Devil's Peak, King's Blockhouse, Devil's Peak Lower Slopes and Rhodes Contour Path.

"We plead for more patience and ask that users assist us by remaining out of the closed areas while Mother Nature heals herself," Van Rooyen said.

However, under the adjusted Level 4 lockdown rules, gatherings in beaches, parks and dams are prohibited.

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