New hiking app aims to improve safety on Cape mountain trails

10 June 2019 - 08:49 By Dan Meyer
Forge is a new app that outlines the Cape's Hiking routes.
Forge is a new app that outlines the Cape's Hiking routes.
Image: Kyle Mijlof

A new hiking app aims to make all 1,300km of the Cape Peninsula’s hiking trails a lot easier to navigate and to keep explorers safe.

Forge is designed by hikers, outlining the various routes in terms of difficulty, elevation, terrain type and accessibility. Co-creator Alex Weiss says the app, free for download on the app store, is going to change the way people explore the breathtaking region.

“Reading paper maps isn’t everyone's forte,” he said. “Also, what we found is that there wasn’t a single portal where people could get accurate info about the trails. This information is accurate and thorough.”

The app uses GIS (geographic information system) technology, and is the brainchild of the start-up group Forge New Frontiers from Cape Town.  

“What’s unique about it is that all our trails are attributed with info we think will be useful to people - what kind of terrain there is, can you walk your dog, can you take your bike… we want it to be as simple as possible,” he said.

“The digital map shows you where you are so you can take the right path.”

The app will also be adding emergency contact features as well as demonstrating a hiker’s position at all times, in an effort to make the routes safer for locals and tourists alike.

“We recognise that there are a lot of tourists coming off the mountain and, especially on Table Mountain, lots of mountain bikers,” he said. “There are a lot of incidents on the mountain so improving safety is something were thinking about,"

“We want to keep people on the path. We’ll be trying to incorporate emergency contacts and will be making improvements as we go along.”

However Weiss hopes that the app will encourage people to explore the less popular, but no less breathtaking routes that the app has been configured for, and says that as avid hikers themselves, the team behind Forge believe that this will really improve your experience.

“We’ve been hiking all our lives,” he said. “We hope people will start to discover new routes and not just take the popular routes.”

Weiss says that they will be expanding the range of routes available on the app beyond the Cape Peninsula, and hope to incorporate many more of SA’s hiking routes in the coming months.