Cape Town Tourism CEO responds to Table Mountain road closures

Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold, Cape Town Tourism CEO, responds to the closure of selected access roads to Table Mountain and Signal Hill at night.

In response to the Cape Times article dated October 19, 2011, entitled “Table Mountain closed at night”:

A joint decision has been taken by the South African Police Service and South African National Parks (SANParks) to close Tafelberg Road and Signal Hill Drive to non-permit-holding vehicles between 22h00 and 05h00. The decision comes as part of a wider annual festive-season safety programme, initially launched in 2005. The aim is to reduce the number of vehicles accessing two specific areas of Table Mountain National Park at night over the festive season. The closing of these roads does not imply that Table Mountain is “closed” as stated on the Cape Times front page of October 19. It purely means that two specific boundary roads are closed at potentially higher-risk times at night as part of the festive-season safety programme.

Exclusions to the closure are registered tour guides and operators who can enter these roads as usual. Members of the public can apply for permits by contacting Table Mountain’s Kloof Nek visitor safety office on 021 422 1601. There is also the option of parking in the Kloof Nek parking area and walking along the sections of road barred to vehicles.

The Table Mountain National Park is an integral part of Cape Town’s tourism experience and an icon for locals and visitors alike. In less than a month we will know if Table Mountain is one of the New7Wonders of Nature. Safe accessibility to the mountain is critical for the overall perception of safety in our city. Cape Town Tourism supports visitor safety initiatives, works closely with SANParks, the South African police and the City of Cape Town, consistently advising both visitors and local citizens to take safety precautions when entering parts of Table Mountain National Park – especially after hours. We do not believe that these safety measures will deter visitors to Table Mountain; in fact, visible policing, advice and safety measures have resulted in positive feedback from visitors. More than 95% of the million-plus visits per year to and in Table Mountain National Park occur during daylight hours when these specific boundary roads are open to the public.

Visitor safety is an issue not limited to Cape Town, but is relevant to all cities around the world. It remains a key priority for Cape Town and an important part of our visitor communication. This does not only apply to crime-related information but to general safety of visitors. Many people underestimate the fact that Table Mountain is part of the greater Table Mountain National Park, which runs throughout the greater metropole, incorporating Kirstenbosch, Cape Point and Signal Hill, with many access points. Access can’t be completely controlled, weather conditions change quickly and most of the area is wilderness terrain. Just because this national park is so accessible doesn’t mean that basic common sense and safety precautions should not be adhered to. We advise precaution when using the mountain and we would like to reiterate the following practical safety messages:

  • Preferably leave the mountain before it gets dark
  • Do not walk alone and take care at isolated lookout points
  • Be constantly alert of your surroundings and aware of things that might look out of place
  • Be sure to park in a secure, well-lit area
  • In the event of an incident on the mountain, please contact Table Mountain National Park emergencies on 0861 106 417

Make use of a registered mountain guide when hiking or go in a group, wear appropriate clothes and shoes and take sunblock and enough water. Contact Cape Town Tourism for a list of registered guides. Stick to demarcated paths and take a map. Punch the following numbers into your mobile phone before your hike: Table Mountain National Park 0861 106 417 and Wilderness Search and Rescue 021 948 9900.

For any emergencies you can call 112 from your mobile or 107 from a landline.

Please vote for Table Mountain to become one of the world’s New7Wonders of Nature:
1. Visit www.votefortablemountain.com and cast your vote
2. SMS “Table” to 34874 at R2 an SMS
3. Vote via MXit for only 20 cents
4. Vote on Facebook

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