Avoid false trail at Skeleton Gorge, warns Wilderness Search And Rescue

The Wilderness Search And Rescue has warned hikers to be aware of a false trail by Skeleton Gorge.

Spokesperson David Nel said three Dutch hikers reported that they were stuck on a steep slope on the left side of Skeleton Gorge at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden on Monday afternoon, 14 August 2023.

‘’The three Dutch hikers, all in their twenties, had started their hiker earlier in the day and intended to hike up Skeleton Gorge. They had researched the trail, they were carrying a map, water, food, and the emergency contact number. According to the group, they had hiked up to a gabion wall and turned left following an obvious trail. The trail ushered them out of the gorge onto the steep side of Nursery buttress high above Skeleton Gorge.’’

COURTESY: Wilderness Search And Rescue

‘’They battled along the slope in wet, slippery, and loose conditions until it became clear that they were no longer following the correct path. Realising that they were in trouble, and unable to retrace their steps, they called for help,’’

‘’While ground teams were gathering at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, a small team on board the Western Cape Department of Health & Wellness EMS / Air Mercy Service (AMS) rescue helicopter were flown to the scene and hoisted down to a point close to the stranded hikers. They were helped into rescue harnesses and hoisted up into the helicopter, before being flown to a nearby landing zone,’’ he added.

COURTESY: Wilderness Search And Rescue

Friends of Table Mountain (FOTM), spokesperson, Andy Davies, said this is not the first incident in this area.

“We (Friends of Table Mountain) have noticed the alarming number of visitors getting lost on Table Mountain and landing up in dangerous situations that require difficult, technical rescues. With hiking and trail running becoming ever more popular, we are seeing more and more of these situations occurring.’’

Davies said they have written to SANParks - Table Mountain National Park, identifying a number of critical areas on TMNP that require signage immediately, in order to prevent further rescues.

Wilderness Search And Rescue spokesperson, David Nel, appealed to hikers to use the correct path.

“In the meantime, we ask that our friends in the outdoor community help us by sharing this message and assist any hikers they see making this mistake onto the correct path; to the right at the gabion wall.’’


Done By: Mitchum George


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