MCSA Magaliesberg Safety Updates

MCSA Magliesberg properties have reopened to members after being temporarily closed following several armed robberies...

The Mountain Club of South Africa is hard at work helping to ramp up security in the Magaliesberg following three armed robberies at the Tonquani (Mountain Sanctuary Park) and Castle Gorge properties over the festive season.

Upper Tonquani; photo from The Wiltshire Mountaineer.

After the third incident was reported on 1 January, the MCSA made the decision to temporarily close their Magaliesberg properties in the interest of community safety. Furthermore, they have worked with the relevant landowners, neighbouring properties and security agencies to implement the following security procedures, as stated in communication from the committee on Tuesday 9 January 2024:

  • Comprehensive armed security patrols have been conducted in areas where incidents have occurred. These patrols have helped to ensure that, for now, these areas are free of immediate threats.
  • To maintain this level of security, armed observation posts and patrols will be implemented during weekends throughout January.
  • Additionally, security trail cameras are being installed at key access points. It is anticipated that this will be completed by the end of the month, and will allow the MCSA to monitor suspicious activity.
Castle Gorge; photo by Dave Taylor (from MCSA Magaliesberg).

No more incidents have been reported following the implementation of the above, which has led the MCSA to cautiously re-open properties to members, with a few stipulations:

  • Members are urged to remain vigilant and only travel in large, organised groups or attend official meets organised by the club. Information about these meets will be communicated in the MCSA members’ newsletter.
  • Camping remains suspended for the time being. Day visits in groups are permitted, and the club will continue to organise official meets.
  • Permit holders’ access will remain restricted until all security measures are fully operational.
  • Members are encouraged to assess their own comfort level and decide on visiting the properties based on personal judgment.

Click here to read the MCSA’s full security advisory from 9 January 2024.

The Cape has also been facing security issues on the mountain, with several muggings taking place on Lion’s Head and Table Mountain over the last few months, including an attack on three Wilderness Search and Rescue volunteers that occurred when they were descending Lion’s Head after completing a rescue. These incidents seem to have dissipated following the stationing of City of Cape Town law enforcement on the trails and the arrests of several perpetrators, but the risk of resurgence, and crime in other areas, is always there.

All of this serves as a reminder to always prioritise your personal safety when you head outdoors – go out in a large group, avoid areas that have been targeted, save emergency numbers to your phone (and memorise them, ideally) and stay vigilant. As much as we want to escape from everyday stresses when out in the wilderness, criminal activity does, unfortunately, take place in our mountains, and we have to exercise caution – your life, and the lives of those around you, is always worth it.

Stay safe out there!