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‘Lion’s Head not safe for the public right now’

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Lion’s Head is “more dangerous now than it was before the renovations were done”.

Tim Lundy – an accredited mountain and cultural guide and a volunteer with the Wilderness search and rescue unit – checked out the newly reopened hiking trails on Lion’s Head after concerns were raised by hikers and safety groups over the weekend.

“There are some positive improvements on the route, but there are also some areas that still need work done to them. Some areas are now dangerous due to the fire and will need better infrastructure like barriers or railings to stop people from going off the track or over the edge.”

He added that the new staples do not meet the standards of the existing staples, and that rocks placed on the side of the trails have not been cemented and will roll away after just a few days of traffic up and down the peak.

Lundy does believe that funding may be one of the problems facing South African National Parks, who manages Lion’s Head as part of Table Mountain National Park (TMNP).

One option might be to introduce hiking permits on the route, but it isn’t the best option. According to Lundy, the problem is that all revenue generated by TMNP is sent to the head office in Pretoria, where it gets divided up between all the parks for their budgets, and TMNP ends up with only a fraction of their original revenue.

“More will need to be done and I don’t think SANParks can do it alone. There needs to be discussions about the way forward, because currently in my opinion it’s not safe enough for the public.”

“I really hope for the sake of Cape Town tourism this iconic mountain can be made safe again for anyone who hikes on it. Safety on this route is a major concern right now.”

The popular mountain peak reopened on Friday after weeks of maintenance, extended by a fire that hit Lion’s Head and Signal Hill at the end of January, although certain trails were still being upgraded or repaired and thus remained closed.

Hikers were excited to take it on again over the weekend, but some have noticed and questioned the workmanship by South African National Parks (SANParks) that had gone into the steelwork to upgrade the ladders, staples and chains.

Shared widely by Table Mountain Watch, a Facebook group that shares updates about Table Mountain and its surrounding area, they posted an alert to avoid using the trail that’s open due to rusting and bad welding.

[source: News24]
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