Safe hiking on Table Mountain
Early March of this year (2010) has been marked by soaring temperatures in the Western Cape. Most days in the first week of the month have had temperatures exceeding 30 degrees and in many cases exceeding 35 degrees. For Cape Town this is pretty hot weather.
In these kinds of temperatures anyone planning to take excercise needs to plan ahead. No need to avoid excercise, but be prepared and listen to your body!! This weekend 2 people had to be airlifted from Table Mountain after collapsing from heatstroke, whilst the Cape Argus Pick and Pay mountain bike ride was shortened to ensure the riders safety.
Some basic safety rules are:
- Take plenty of water. (if you plan a hike on Table Mountain, you will need at least 2 litres) Know where you will be able to fill up your water bottles (eg. At the cable car, or at one of the taps on the Back Table)
- Wear a hat and sunblock.
- start early in the morning
- Choose a route with some shade. (for example, Kasteelspoort is in the shade for much of the early morning, whilst Platteklip gorge gets the full force of the rising sun.)
- Be prepared to shorten your route, in order to be off the mountain by 1pm, or plan your route so as to be at a shady spot, preferably by some water where you can rest for a few hours in the heat of the day.
- If you start to feel ill in any way. Be prepared to turn around.
- AND if you are taking your dog. Take twice as much water for your dog as you would for yourself. Ensure the dog drinks regularly and it may even be necessary to keep his coat damp. Dogs are far more suseptable to heatstroke that humans, so it is really best not to walk your dog once the temperatures reach 25 degrees or more.
Keeping all these rules in mind. A walk on Table Mountain in a heatwave can be a wonderful experience. Why not see the sunrise from up there?