How do we avoid being mugged?

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Real Name: Kim Robinson

How do we avoid being mugged?

Postby robinsonk » Sat Jun 30, 2012 3:03 am

My wife and I are about to embark on a 3 month climbing trip around South Africa, the primary areas we plan to visit are Montagu, Outdshoorn, Waterval Boven and Rocklands.
We're from Australia and to be honest the number of reported muggings at crags mentioned in these forums is quite alarming, it seems almost inevitable that we'll get mugged at some point, hopefully your feedback can allay these fears and help us avoid getting ourselves into a position where we're at high risk.
Some specific questions i had are:
- Is it safe to climb in these areas as a couple or should we only head out to crags where there are other people, would this limit us to climbing only on weekends?
- What does "getting mugged" typically involve, if we take only our climbing gear and food to the crag with the intention handing everything over should someone approach us will we avoid any risk of being physically harmed?
I very much look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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Re: How do we avoid being mugged?

Postby karlbase » Sat Jun 30, 2012 10:09 am

Hi Kim, whilst I can't speak for Boven as I have yet to go there, you are safe at Rocklands, Oudtshoorn and Montagu. Generally there have not been safety issues in the Western Cape other than at Peers Cave, which is a local sport crag. Wouldn't bother visiting it though.

Lions head ( in Cape Town), has had numerous incidents but because it is an area well visited by foreign and local hikers it has received the attention from the authorities and things have gone quiet. If you are confronted, they are generally opportunists who will be after high value items like cellphones, wallets & cameras. Don't offer resistance for items which frankly are easy to replace.

Common sense dictates that one take little of value and take along a cheap cellphone.
Other than that, don't let this detract from what should prove to be an amazing road trip! What time of year are you planning on coming over? Winter is definitely best for the Western Cape crags as summer gets very hot.

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Re: How do we avoid being mugged?

Postby Thermophage » Sat Jun 30, 2012 10:26 am


Please do not worry. It is only around SOME very select areas of Cape Town you need to be vigilant.
Oudtshoorn (I often go there) and Rocklands (also, perfectly safe) and Montagu are pretty much perfectly safe. Mostly (IMHO) because they are much more rural.
But man are they beautiful...Especially Rocklands.

You guys are going to love it and I am incredibly jealous you are managing a three month trip to come climb here!

Keep us posted on where you're climbing and you will ALWAYS find someone on the forum to go climb with :)


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Re: How do we avoid being mugged?

Postby schmeh » Sat Jun 30, 2012 11:09 am

the only area you need to be a bit concerned safety wise is Waterval Boven, there have been a couple of muggings there, as well as car's being broken into. however i have never seen any suspicious characters at any of the crags at Boven...from what i have heard areas such as the Restaurant and other crags in that area are the more dangerous ones. However if you stay at tranquilitis your stuff, and the crags near the campsite are safe. (as far as i know)

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Re: How do we avoid being mugged?

Postby Forket » Sat Jun 30, 2012 3:39 pm

People dont get mugged as often as foreigners expect, the only places you should avoid in boven are the ones closer to the township like the junk yard, flying is fun, etc. When u get to RocknRope in Boven just ask, but boven is heaven in the areas that the locals go to close to the campsite.

OUdshoorn is perfectly fine, our eggs disappeared twice, still a mystery but for the rest of the month we stayed there we had no problems.

Montagu on the other hand u wont get mugged but apparently the kids have been stealing off camping tables at night, just lock ur stuff away.

Rocklands u wont get mugged unless some foreign bum ran out of cash lol, jj.

South africa is safe, just dont go poking around in places u dont know at night!!!

ebert ---- wooop ( ill see u in rocklands)

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Re: How do we avoid being mugged?

Postby robinsonk » Mon Jul 02, 2012 1:13 am

Hi All,
Thanks very much for the information it is most comforting. For any other concerned travellers I have received the following information from a representative of the Montagu Reserve:

"...There have been no known muggings in the Montagu Mountain Reserve in the past 10-15 years. We are a long way from major urban centres so don't have any of the normal problems....".

For waterval boven re: Tranquilitas, they have two security guards at the campground and the current manager is a police officer, they have never had any trouble with security at the campground.

Only four weeks left in the office then we're off to Montagu :-)


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Re: How do we avoid being mugged?

Postby brianweaver » Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:38 am

Kim, over the last three years I've spent almost 200 days in Boven. As Ebert mentioned, the only reported incidents of theft/muggings that have occurred have been near town. Crags such as Flying is Fun, the Coven and the Waterfall crags have been known to have some issues concerning safety in the past, however this is mostly under control for the last two years. When you go to Waterval Boven you MUST climb by the waterfall! There are some truly amazing lines down there. The only safety tips you need to be aware of are these:

Don't park your car there, rather get dropped off and walk back.
Don't carry your camera or wallet or any other valuables to the waterfall crag.
Try to go in a group. We often go down there with only two people but it is simply better to be in a group, it's more fun and it leaves you feeling a little more secure.

Other than that: have a great trip :thumleft:
I hate this real world place... I'd be more than happy to live out there rather...

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Re: How do we avoid being mugged?

Postby paddy » Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:15 am

Kim, South Africa does have high crime areas (clearly) but also has safe areas. I consider myself well travelled internationally and consider any Cederberg climbing area (which includes Rocklands) to be as safe as any climbing area I've visited outside SA. Montagu is generally safe but has over the years has experienced instances of pettty theft at the camping spots (it also experiences long periods without petty theft). This can be managed by keeping your valuables locked away.

You do need to be careful where you climb and stay at Boven.The above posts give good tips. Also check in with rocknrope, which you will probably do anyway when you book into tranquilitas, and they will give you good up to date guidance.
Boven is a great climbing area and well worth visiting.

As to your question as to how to avoid being mugged, a good rule to make sure you know the high risk areas when visiting cities. Perhaps you could speak to the local climbers to get more specific info.

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Re: How do we avoid being mugged?

Postby Gadget » Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:17 pm

Hi Kim, I think one needs to keep in mind (as the others have hinted to) that there are several thousand active hikers / climbers in SA and by far the majority of their trips happen without any security incidents – in fact serious security incidents are rare exceptions and not the rule. For the sake of keeping everyone informed about hotspots a lot of effort goes into making sure that the outdoor going community is kept updated (e.g. here on this forum) and to remind everyone that the risk is real and we all need to be vigilant, but one needs to view the security incidents reported here in the context of how many of us actually go climbing / hiking every week without any incident. Touch wood I have had no issues in recent times (other than my lunch getting nicked by vervet monkeys the other day :? )

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