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Garden Route (Tsitsikamma, Knysna, Wilderness) National Park
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Media Release: GRNP's Tsitsikamma Section Rangers receive Hi-Tec footwear
The Tsitsikamma Section attracts a large number of local and foreign tourists, making it the third most frequently visited of the 19 National Parks in South Africa. In addition to welcoming day and overnight visitors to its Tsitsikamma and Nature’s Valley Rest Camps, where a variety of outdoor activities are offered, GRNP rangers also run two poverty-relief programmes for communities in the region. Invasive plants are cleared through the Working for Water initiative, while Coasts Care teaches coastal conservation and sustainable subsistence living.
Employed to protect the Park’s fauna, flora, cultural heritage sites and visitors, the rangers are on foot every day. They walk, on average, six to eight kilometres daily; their patrols may cover double this distance too. The scenic trails thoughout the Park are rocky, with many stream crossings. And, the rangers are out and about regardless of the weather conditions.
“The rangers are chuffed to receive these Hi-Tec shoes,” says Owen Govender, Tsitsikamma’s Senior Section Ranger. “They’re light and comfortable and the soles offer good grip on rocks.”
From implementing the Tsitsikamma Section’s conservation initiatives to patrolling trails and interacting with visitors, Park rangers spend all day on their feet. “Appropriate and comfortable footwear makes all the difference to the rangers,” says Ian Little, Hi-Tec’s marketing manager. “A ranger with unsuitable shoes and sore feet just cannot do their job properly.”
Hi-Tec first donated shoes to the Tsitsikamma rangers in 2009, maintaining a relationship where rangers could purchase appropriate footwear directly from Hi-Tec. Govender says that before Hi-Tec got involved with the Park, the rangers were wearing safety-style shoes, which are heavy and unsuited to the terrain. It was not uncommon for rangers to suffer from blisters.
Tsitsikamma is a Khoisan word meaning ‘place of much water’. Govender adds that these boots, with Hi-Tec’s Tec-Proof waterproof technology, are suited to the environment of the reserve with its many streams and year-round rainfall.
While in the Park for the handover, Little met with Govender and Tsitsikamma representatives to discuss and review the reserve’s trail markers. “In 2009 we sponsored and installed trail markers in the Golden Gate National Park in the Free State. Many of the original markers were faded, broken or missing. The new signage has made a marked different to Golden Gate’s visitors and we are looking at the same benefit to the Tsitsikamma Section of the Garden Route National Park.”
Lisa de Speville, Johannesburg, South Africa, Mobile: +27 82 936-2509, E-mail: email@example.com