When compared to the likes of Table Mountain in the Western Cape, or the Drakensberg in KZN, the Magaliesberg Mountains in the North West seems like an easier hike…
But according to Mountain Club of SA the terrain is very “rough and complex” which may be difficult for hikers to navigate at times.
It took the search and rescue team 12 hours to rescue a hiker who had suffered an injury on one of the routes, in the end, it was a mere 1,5 km that she had to be moved in order for her to be taken by 4×4 to hospital. However, the route to get to her was extremely challenging and bad weather didn’t help.
“Rescuers had to contend with several challenges including rain, lighting, rough terrain and finally a swarm of bees,” said Mountain Club SA in a Facebook post.
The Magalies kloofs lure in nature lovers with clear streams and deep pools that many go swimming in – the hiker was injured when she attempted to jump into a pool and slipped, hitting some rocks on the way down.
As a storm approached and with the area being synonymous with localised flash floods, the group had to think fast and were lucky to receive help from a group of climbers who had been in the area.
“With the help of a group of rock climbers who had been climbing in the area and pitched in to assist, the group was able to slowly move some distance down the kloof and up a smaller and safer tributary,” said the post by the Mountain Club of SA.
At that point it was realised the woman was in an immense amount of pain and re-enforcements were needed.
Rescuers from the Off Road Rescue Unit (ORRU), University of Johannesburg Department of Emergency Medicine and MSAR responded to the scene with 4x4s that drove up as close as possible and then had to continue on foot while night began to fall.
Once they reached her, she was secured in a stretcher and the team began to move back to the vehicle but it took several hours to get back in spite of the short 1,5 km distance.
“Difficultly of the terrain inside and outside the kloof, including a few stretches where the stretcher had to be secured by a rope to protect against the possibility of a slip,” read the post.
A final curve ball was the swarm of bees that descended on the group as they made their way past the hives
“The patient, several of the rescuers and bystanders were stung (many of them multiple times) as they could not leave the woman secured in the stretcher where the bees were swarming!”
The stretcher reached the 4×4 shortly after midnight and the woman was taken to hospital for treatment.
The statement went on to explain the dangers of even the smaller mountains, and how they need to be treated with respect. Hikers need to be well-equipped and prepared.
“Knowing who to call for help and what information to provide is a vital piece of trip planning. We also remind hikers and climbers that our services are provided free of charge and that there is no reason to delay a call for help when you are faced with a situation in the mountains which you cannot safely manage yourself.”
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