Although Cape Town has some of the most stunning, serene hiking trails in South Africa, the most recent spat of attack on hikers and cyclists in the surrounding mountains has caused many locals and tourists to think twice before setting out on a day trail. But now, in an effort to help Capetonians take back the mountain and beautiful trails that flank the city, SafetyMountain Tracking has just launched a WhatsApp-based service aimed at helping ensure hikers’ safety.

Frustrated with the lack of security in and around the Table Mountain National Park, hiking groups have taken to advising their members of possible threats to personal safety while participating in outdoor activities up in the mountains. SafetyMountain Tracking is one of the town’s most notable hiking authorities and has launched a platform called The Safety Mountain Tracking WhatsApp Group to help keep people safe on both popular and quiet routes.

Here’s how it works: before embarking on your hike, you can ‘check in’ and alert authorities of your hike, start time, ETA and number of people in your group. Hikers are encouraged to update the group should the route or ETA change. If your group does not return by the projected time, emergency services will be deployed to the area to offer assistance. Groups must ‘check out’ when the hike is completed and everyone is safe.

This information provided by hikers is used to narrow down your location for trackers and search parties, should there be a safety issue, and the WhatsApp group will be the first point of contact in any emergency. People are also urged to report instances of fallen trees, rockfall, suspicious activity or individuals, fires and any other calamities.

For more information on how to sign up and join the SafetyMountain Tracking WhatsApp group, visit the Hikers Network website.

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