A Walking Trip – is any guide or leader suitable?
Not all walking trips are suitable to be led by just any guide.
‘Walking’ by nature seems harmless, but there are very specific skill required in certain circumstances so it is important to determine the type of guide or leader you require.
A guided “Walk” which would require a specialised walking or hiking guide training by definition is a trip on-foot which involves any one or more of the following risk profiles:
- The walk involves ascending and/ or descending what is generally considered to be and/ or what is named as a mountain (e.g. Table Mountain; Wolfberg) or a Peak (e.g. Cathedral Peak, Devils Peak), or a Gorge/Canyon (e.g. Kloof Gorge, Fish River Canyon, Didima Gorge).
- The route is away from civilisation and there may be no formal and reliable easy communication options such as cell phone infrastructure or these are unreliable.
- The distance from the nearest parking area, cable station or other permanent means of help involves walking more than one hour regardless if it is on a path or not.
- The “Walk” may require navigation skills if the area is unknown or if visibility is prone to become limited so requiring good navigation skills.
- The terrain includes walking in any area which includes steep un-protected (un fenced or no safety railings) terrain, or crossing un-bridged water courses. The walk attains altitudes above sea level of more than 2400m.
- The walk is of such a nature that there is a need to take food and water to help ensure sufficient energy and hydration among group members and basic emergency equipment, (foul-weather gear, 1st aid kit, head-torches, etc) in order to assist in handling foreseeable problems.
- The route itself is not on “man-made constructed pathways” (is off-trail) regardless of distance.
- The venue of the trip means that the participants or at least the leader/s (guide/s) need to have suitable risk management skills to be able to anticipate and avoid problems arising and, should a problem arise, a good enough grasp of mountain emergency procedures and first aid to be self-sufficient in dealing with minor problems immediately in the field and major problems for at least the time it would take a rescue team to arrive.