South Africa is known for its spectacular scenery, rich cultures and extreme natural diversity, making it worth exploring. There are beautiful beaches, hospitable people, and hiking trails aplenty in every province.
A question that often pops up on social media is safe spots for someone hiking alone in South Africa. While doing anything alone could come with some added risk, it is not always possible to grab a buddy or join a group to tackle that hike or drive across the country. However, being alone should not discourage you from hiking, seeing the country and experiencing life.
This article contains a few tips to improve your safety in South Africa while hiking and exploring alone. By providing these tips, Never-ending Nature does not necessarily encourage solo hiking but offers a potential solution if used correctly. The solution below could be a game-changer to your safety in South Africa.
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Safety in South Africa when hiking alone
Is it safe to hike by yourself? Is it a good idea to go on your own? Nobody recommends going on a hike alone in South Africa. If nobody wants to join you and the trail is calling, you better consider a few safety tips before hiking alone. Hiking alone may be a journey of reflection, quiet time out in nature, or just a different way to enjoy the great outdoors.
Some of these hiking safety tips also apply to hiking in general. Hiking alone simply means upping your game even more. You have to be aware of your surroundings at all times, as a lapse in concentration could be devastating.
Tell someone where you are, or perhaps not?
When it comes to safety in South Africa and your safety when hiking (or travelling) alone, the best plan is to have backup help, guaranteed to come to your rescue when you need it. Chances are you might be fine 99% of the time when you go on a solo exploration in South Africa, but what happens when you slip and fall on a remote part of the trail when hiking alone? What happens if your car breaks down in remote or dodgy areas while travelling to your destination?
Traditionally the best course of action would have been to tell someone your planned route, along with all the other details. Nowadays, your phone could stand in like a best friend, your lifeline. Combined with a brilliant new app called SAFER, it could save your life and guarantee your safety in South Africa while hiking and exploring on your own.
SAFER is the largest emergency response network in South Africa. SAFER links to 265 independently owned security companies, 1 600 emergency response vehicles, and 3 600 armed response officers.
This is how the app can replace having to tell someone where you are. You no longer have to tell someone when you are back or where you plan to go next.
Use the meeting function on explorations
You can set the expected time duration for your ‘meeting’ on the SAFER app. Your meeting can be that hike, walk, cycling session, mountain climbing event, etc. It could even be a meeting with a friend late at night. When done with your activity, switch it off. If you don’t, the app will send notifications to all your emergency contacts, as well as the security network. The security call centre will then know that you are in potential trouble and dispatch someone immediately.
Another brilliant feature of SAFER is that you can manually trigger an alert when in trouble. When unable to walk to safety, you can shake your phone to trigger an alert. Someone will immediately know where to find you by looking at your location, call you to confirm that everything is okay while help is on the way.
There are many reasons why the SAFER app is a great option to guarantee your safety in South Africa when hiking or travelling alone. You may have slipped and broken a leg, or you may have had a heart attack. You may even have gotten lost and walked so far that you became weak and dehydrated. Get that peace of mind when it comes to your safety when hiking and exploring on your own.
Know your limits and the terrain
These days it is easy to find out the difficulty of the particular trail you plan to hike on your own. For your safety when hiking alone, don’t choose a 20km hike if you have only ever walked 5km. A solo hiking trip may not be the best option for such a big jump or test of your mental and physical stamina or endurance.
Again, you may have a weak ankle and the trail may be rocky with steep inclines, declines and cliffs. It is another reason why SAFER is the ideal companion. Accidents happen so fast, and they are accidents for a reason. Nobody plans to slip and fall while hiking solo. Even if you had a hiking buddy, help from the app might be a better option than sending your friend for help leaving you alone.
Now you can be safe while exploring on your own in South Africa. SAFER is a good option for you, your family and friends. Still not convinced? Find out how it can help you by clicking here.
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Is there a situation where SAFER might have really come in handy? We would love to hear from you in the comments! Share some of your solo hiking and travel mistakes with us. Others might learn from the mistakes you made along the way.