Hiking safety and etiquette tips for Cape Town

With a mountain range as its backbone, Cape Town offers some of the most spectacular hiking routes in the world. Before you decide on a hiking route up Table Mountain, take a look at these tips to keep yourself safe and comfortable on our trails.

Watch the video below to find out our five top tips for hiking Lion’s Head!


Don’t hike alone

A party size of four is recommended and if you’re travelling alone, hike with a guide like Hike Table Mountain, Table Mountain Treks and Tours or Mother City Hikers. Don’t split up—rather take the pace of the slowest member.

Be prepared

Take enough water (at least a 1.5L bottle or two per person) and wear sunblock, proper hiking shoes, and a hat. Check that the weather is hike-friendly the night before and take a warm jacket for mountain hikes as conditions can change rapidly. If you’re intending to take the Cableway on Table Mountain, remember operation is weather-dependent. Check the Table Mountain Twitter feed for the latest updates or call their weather line on +27 (0)21 424 8181.

Tell somebody & plan ahead

Always inform someone at your hotel or in your family of your intended route and your expected time of return. Check a map of your hike before setting off so you are sure where you need to go. Always take the well-trodden path and look out for small painted footprints or piles of rocks (Cairns) to verify you’re on the right track.

Know what to do in an emergency

In the event of injury or other serious trouble stay in one place and find shelter. Do not move the injured person unless they are in a dangerous position. Do not leave the injured person alone—if possible send two people for help, while one person stays behind. Make a detailed note of where the injured person is, and look out for landmarks to navigate back to the spot.

In the event of snakebite, immobilize the person and lay them flat on their back. Do not give them food or water. Get help and keep the victim very calm—shock and adrenaline is a major factor in the progression of snake bite symptoms. In the event of contact with the blister bush (a plant resembling common celery) cover the area from sunlight to avoid skin irritations and the eruption of blisters.

Be responsible

Please don’t litter, feed any animals, or disturb the wildlife on your hike. Be considerate of others and don’t play loud music. Smoking or lighting any kind of fire endangers the area and should be avoided.

Save these emergency numbers on your phone:

Emergencies: +27 (0)21 480 7700

Table Mountain National Park: +27 (0)21 957 4700

Wilderness Search and Rescue: +27 (0)21 937 0300

Cape Town Tourism: +27 (0)861 322 223

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