Australian tourist rescued from Table Mountain on dangerous trail

Posted on 8 July 2024 By Tsoku Maela
An Australian tourist was safely rescued from Table Mountain on Wednesday,  July 3, after inadvertently following a hazardous trail indicated by a popular mobile app.

The tourist, whose name has not been disclosed, used the AllTrails app to navigate his descent after ascending via Nursery Ravine from Kirstenbosch. Unbeknownst to him, the chosen descent route is notorious for its dangerous conditions and is not recommended. The recommended descent for such a circular route would have been Skeleton Gorge.

Finding himself off the main trail network and in a precarious position above a small cliff on Nursery Buttress, the tourist wisely refrained from attempting a dangerous scramble down without proper equipment. Instead, he requested assistance from the Wilderness Search and Rescue (WSAR).

A skilled rescue team, including Trail SAR and MSAR members, responded promptly. They hiked up and climbed to the tourist’s position using ropes. The team then safely lowered him down the 15-meter vertical cliff and escorted him to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Members of the Western Cape Department of Health & Wellness and Delta SAR managed the incident.

‘On the way down, he got into a difficult position off the main trail network, where continuing down would have been unsafe. At this point he was above a small cliff on Nursery Buttress,’ reported the Mountain Club of SA.

Authorities urge hikers to exercise caution when using trail apps, emphasizing the importance of verifying the difficulty and risk levels of trails before following them. They recommend sticking to well-known and popular routes, particularly on Table Mountain, where many trails on apps fall into the “expert only” category.

Pictures: Grant Duncan-Smith, Daniel Vorster, Chris Jacobs


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