Skip to Content

Safe Hiking

Due to attacks and muggings in and around the Table Mountain National Park we wish to provide the public, tourists and regular visitors to the mountain with as much information as possible, in order to keep you safe.

Please follow the basic safety rules as the mountain can be dangerous to those who are unprepared or inexperienced.

Ten Basic Rules of Mountain Safety

  1. Don’t hike alone; four is the ideal number.
  2. Choose your route carefully and stick to it. Allow yourself enough time – start early. Inform someone of your route and what time you’re expected back.
  3. Choose a hike leader and walk at the pace of the slowest member.
  4. If lost – don’t split up. Rather try to retrace your steps. Remember that climbing down is more difficult than climbing up.
  5. Always take waterproof clothing, even in mid-summer, and wear walking shoes or hiking boots. Wear a hat or cap and sun block in summer. Weather changes rapidly.
  6. If lost or forced to stop because of bad weather, stay together and remain in one place. Find the closest shelter from wind and rain.
  7. In case of injury, take time to assess the situation. Then send two people for help and let the third remain with the injured person. If possible, mark the position on a map and send it with those going for help.
  8. Stick to well-used paths, which will be indicated on the Park’s hiking map and read the warnings on this map. Don’t take shortcuts and especially don’t wander into ravines.
  9. Always take enough water, especially in summer, and food in case of a delay. Watch the weather and time, and turn back before you start running late or if bad weather threatens.
  10. Take a fully-charged cellphone. Some parts of the Park do not have cell phone reception, but you will always be able to reach a place where you can use a cell phone more quickly than you’ll get to a landline.

Three Rules for Personal Security

As Table Mountain is an urban park, please exercise the same common sense and security precautions that you would anywhere else in the world.

  1. Do not attract unwanted attention by openly displaying cash, cameras or other valuables.
  2. If you are confronted by a criminal, don’t resist. Handover your goods as resistance might incite a mugger to violence.
  3. Program emergency numbers in your cellphone before your hike.

Emergency Numbers

  • Main Emergency Telephone: 086 110 6417
  • SAPS (South African Police Service): 10111 (021 10111 on mobile)
  • Cape Town Emergency Services: +27 (0)21 480 7700
  • Cape Town Central OPS Centre: +27 (0)21 467 8002

All of these call centres are primed to respond to incidents on TMNP and investigate suspicious activities.

Other numbers which could come in handy:

  • NSRI (National Sea Rescue Institute): 082 911
  • Table Mountain Cable Car Company: +27 (0)21 424 0015

Visitor Safety Rangers

The Park’s safety and security strategy is providing appropriate information to prevent incidents from happening, and also full intervention by 52 dedicated, trained staff who patrol the Park equipped with dogs, vehicles and radios, and who cooperate closely with the South African Police Service.

Visitor Information Centres have been established in the parking areas on Tafelberg Road and at Lion’s Head, and a security hut placed at the bottom of Platteklip Gorge. Volunteer groups have been co-opted to help, and the honorary ranger’s organisation is also being restructured to assist.

How TMNP is keeping YOU safe

At the moment TMNP is taking every possible action within our power to ensure the safety of our visitors.

Within the available resources (both financial and in human resources) the following proactive programmes are in place:

  • Visible Uniformed Policing
  • Roving Patrols
  • Surveillance and Monitoring via CCTV, night scopes and transparent stake out units.
  • Data gathering
  • Visitor Information centres
  • Gateway Management
  • Car Guard Management
  • Communications

The patrol unit consists of:

  • 52 rangers actively patrolling the park.
  • 16 of those rangers are trained to work with dogs.
  • 40 members of the department of labour learnership.
  • One policeman on bike patrol.

Ongoing work relationships with local SAPS and government ensure that the park management does everything in our power to ensure your safety.

At a safety meeting held at Newlands Forest Station on February 15, an interim committee of volunteers with skills, time and expertise to offer, was formed. Under the guidance of Ray Chaplin and TMNP management, the committee will draw up a strategy to assist in making Table Mountain safer through the mobilization of volunteer services.