Hikers Rally Against Rising Attacks on Table Mountain Trails in South Africa

Estimated read time 3 min read

By Samkele Mchunu

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — As the first light crept over Table Mountain, a group of hikers embarked on their journey not only to explore the rugged terrain but also to voice their concerns against a surge in attacks targeting walkers and tourists in one of Africa’s most visited landmarks.

The demonstration, led by pensioner Mary Lloyd, herself a recent victim of such an attack, drew approximately 50 participants to raise awareness and demand action from authorities. Lloyd, a 75-year-old who was assaulted while on her routine walk along the mountain’s footpaths, expressed her anger and fear, stating, “Mostly I feel absolutely angry because it has taken away my freedom on the mountain. I don’t feel safe as I walk.”

According to Cape Town authorities, there have been over 80 reported attacks on the mountain paths this year, with the majority occurring since August. This alarming trend has prompted concerns among guides, who now hesitate to lead hikes during dawn and dusk due to safety risks.

In response, police and park rangers have intensified patrols in the area, employing drones and helicopters to monitor the 1,086-meter-high plateau. Despite these efforts and several arrests made, authorities still advise walkers to tackle the trek in groups and during daylight hours.

Munashe Serime, a 25-year-old trainee lawyer from Cape Town, emphasized the importance of vigilance while hiking, cautioning against letting one’s guard down. “I think people underestimate, seeing that when you (are) hiking you have your guard down,” Serime stated.

The growing concern over safety on Table Mountain has implications beyond individual hikers. Jean-Pierre Smith, a Cape Town councillor responsible for safety and security, highlighted the economic impact, noting that up to 240,000 people in Cape Town rely on tourism for their livelihoods.

With Table Mountain National Park attracting hundreds of thousands of tourists annually, the recent spate of attacks has raised worries within the travel industry, particularly as the southern hemisphere’s summer season approaches its peak.

Mountain guide Kathy Leverton, while determined not to be deterred by the threats, expressed frustration over declining bookings and emphasized the importance of maintaining safety for both residents and visitors. “Table Mountain is one of the top three earning national parks in the country,” Leverton remarked. “It’s kind of killing the golden goose by not maintaining safety.”

As the rally concluded with hikers marching to the top of the mountain, the message was clear: ensuring the safety of Table Mountain is essential not only for those who call it their office but for all who seek solace and adventure in its breathtaking landscapes.

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