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Media Release: Hoerikwaggo trail connects Cape Point and Table Mountain

Date: 2008-09-26

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Table Mountain National (TMNP) took a step towards the realisation of the vision of enabling hikers to walk through natural wilderness from Cape Point to Table Mountain, with the opening of the Slangkop tented camp, which is part of the Hoerikwaggo Trail.

Table Mountain National (TMNP) took a step towards the realisation of the vision of enabling hikers to walk through natural wilderness from Cape Point to Table Mountain, with the opening of the Slangkop tented camp, which is part of the Hoerikwaggo Trail.

The TMNP reports that one of the major objectives of this trail is to allow hikers to walk in the footsteps of the original inhabitants of the Cape Peninsula who could move unhindered from Cape Point all the way through to Table Mountain.

“This is what SANParks TMNP is achieving by consolidating the public land of the Table Mountain National Park for the Pride and Joy of Citizens. The vision is that citizens will have the public right of way to walk from one end of the Peninsula to the other whereas previously there passage was prevented by private property restrictions,” says Mr. Sydney Soundy, COO, SANParks.

Speaking at the official launch of the new tented camp, Mr. Soundy added that this is the reason the Park has chosen to name the trail Hoerikwaggo, the original name for Table Mountain in the Khoekhoe language which means “Mountains in the Sea”. The six-day, five-night Hoerikwaggo Hiking Trail is just one of the key components of the Table Mountain to Cape Point Hiking Trail Project that is funded by the national government’s Expanded Public Works Programme.

While the ultimate aim of the project is to enhance the Park’s tourism infrastructure, it’s also about providing access to the mountain, particularly to people who would have previously been denied access, and also about allowing people to sleep over on the mountain and enjoy the wilderness experience.

‘Touching the Earth Lightly’

Three of the five planned tented overnight camps have already been constructed: in Orange Kloof above Hout Bay; in Silvermine; and at Slangkop, on the border of Kommetjie. Work on the other two – at the old forestry station above Smitswinkel Bay near the entrance to the Park’s Cape Point section, and at the SA Navy’s former Signal School at Klawer above Simon’s Town - will start soon.

“A key philosophy that runs through the construction of these camps and in fact in the entire TMNP’s planning of tourism and recreational facilities, is ‘Touching the Earth Lightly’. This means minimal environmental impact across the full spectrum of construction and use of the new facilities so that there’s no harm to nature. And where possible, nature is also restored and enhanced,” says Mr. Soundy.

The Park has removed alien plants; replanted indigenous vegetation; demolished old structures; and restored heritage buildings such as the Platteklip Wash house. A range of criteria were used to determine the location of each of the tented camps, one of which was to provide different experiences for the hikers through guiding them to the specific areas in which they’re located. For example, the Orange Kloof camp is situated within Afromontane forest, and the Silvermine camp in mountain fynbos at Silvermine.

Undulating coastal milkwood thickets

Each camp provides a very different experience, and the topography and geology and ecology are carefully reflected in the actual architecture. “We’ve gone out of our way to try and reflect the theme of each particular site in our design, and I think the new Slangkop camp reflects this beautifully, where the rolling, undulating coastal milkwood thickets are reflected in the curved designs of the boma structure and the tents structures themselves. Through a planned long-term rehabilitation programme, eventually the camp will ‘disappear’ into the coastal thicket,” adds Mr. Soundy.

SANParks says Capetonians can now see many benefits flowing from 10 years of TMNP’s consolidated management, with one of the most obvious being the development of the Hoerikwaggo Trail. This has only become possible because a consolidated national park on the Peninsula and so one of the key indicators of progress of land consolidation programme will be the opening of the full Hoerikwaggo Trail from Cape Point to Table Mountain.

Phumeza Mgxashe, Communications Manager: Table Mountain National Park, tel: (021) 701 8692, cell: 083 480 1522

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