This is a bit of a random topic but thought I’d share this here.
We booked a room at Shamrock Lodge this weekend at Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve. The hike was amazing, such a lovely reserve so close to the city. The staff was super friendly and the hut was in extremely good condition. But unfortunately we shared the hut with a group of 12 people who had no regard for a shared space. I am used to sharing space in hikers huts but never have I experienced such a rude group. They took over the whole hut, kitchen and braai area, played music from a speaker until after midnight got so drunk and loud and rude that at 4am they started banging and pulling at out door (which was luckily locked). They used the water drinking fountain as a storage for their raw meat. To be honest we felt a bit scared for our safety.
I know not everyone goes on hikes/overnights for the same reason (for us it’s a time to take a break from the city noise and escape to some peace and quiet in nature) but to hike 3+ hours just to go get drunk in a mountain hut and have no respect for your fellow hikers, is beyond me.
I guess since Hottentots is so close to the city it might be seen as a quick and cheap way to go have a party on the mountain but there must be some way that Cape Nature can lay down stricter rules to try and minimize incidents like this. According to two other groups of friends who hike to Landroskop Hut at Hottentot’s a similar thing happened.
I know Cape Nature has no control to who books what and how they act but I do feel Cape Nature should take some responsibility to 1) be more clear, especially with bigger groups, on rules. Signage at the huts (I always thought music of any sorts is illegal at our Parks) and maybe a form that needs to be signed at check in. 2) they should have some sort of blacklist function for guest who have broken these rules to not be able to book again. 3) they should have a ranger on duty (specifically talking about Hottentots Nature Reserve since there are big groups and jeep access) that one can contact. What if this group got aggressive towards us?
I have emailed Cape Nature and reported the incident to the staff on duty at the gate so will let you know what they say here.
But also wanted to know if anyone else has had a similar experience at these shared huts, specifically at Hottentots? And how they handled the rude guest? We were three women and one guy, he did go over at one point to ask if they can at least turn down the volume. He was ignored and like I said, as the night progressed and they got more drunk and high I didn’t want any one to go talk to them because they had a very aggressive energy.
What a total nightmare @TrailHunter . So sorry to hear about this. Don’t think I can help or assuage much but will add thoughts…
Sharing is the main reason I avoid hutted hikes…which tragicomedically my auto-spell just decided to call “gutted hikes”.
I tend to confront people. Not as a tough guy. But more as a persistent inquisitor. Then again, i mostly hike with men and I’ve never had an experience of this awful intensity. When on the Tsetsekamma two years back we had some vulgar types. They were not aggro but certainly carrying on as if the huts were on their pig farm ‘plotte’. So I badgered them. But this case is wildly different. You did well to avoid facing off with drunks. Always the outcome is raw and polluting.
I know SANParks has a number you can call on a hike to have people like this evicted from the hut or before the next hut. Does it work? Who knows.
I would press very hard for a result from CN. Emails i have found are useless. Call them. Do they have a fb page, or some social media page? Perhaps voice your case there, organisations tend to respond to bad publicity sharply and you are absolute correct, there needs to be not just tighter control via ‘signing in’ agreements but also recourse for those maligned. CN will have a record of who was on the hike as I believe all have to sign an indemnity. But at the heart of this lies the terrible tragedy of our crude and selfish society.
In having dealt with annoying neighbours for some time I also ensure I get recordings of their bad behaviour.
Try Sandisiwe Rubuluza at 0870874106 at Complaints and Customer Service for Cape Nature.
Sorry again. Best of luck. Sounds very upsetting.
Thanks so much for the response @Carl. Reply well stated and you are totally on point with reaching out to CN with a phone call or on social media. I will give them a day or two to get back to me, which I asked to do on the email otherwise I will definitely phone Sandisiwe.
Also with you on the shared hut situation, we tend to wildcamp mostly also for this reason and to be more isolated but this hike specifically was to introduce two friends to their first and in some ways unfortunate overnight experience since it was close to town and easy. I guess one just don’t expect people to act like this.
Again, will let you know what CN says here.
Good luck. Cape Nature are pretty useless. They have allowed Krom river to turn into just about a nightclub with hundreds of pisscats and broken glass.
Emailed them but from what I have been told nothing has been done about it.
@calypso Will let you know if I get any sort of response or what they say when I phone.
Hoping that if enough people highlight the issue something might be done… I hope
Would be very sad indeed if the place we go to for solitude and to unwind and recharge from the city life becomes exactly that.
Hi @TrailHunter , I have had similar experiences at Landdroskop Hut, and there are more places that have lost their magic due to the brandy-and-bluetooth crowd enjoying themselves a bit much. This includes crystal pools, Lions Head and as Calypso above said, the Krom River trail. I believe that this type of conduct will only increase, with hiking becoming more popular than ever. It is a pity, as this is basically becoming a “race to the bottom”, where we need to find the more remote and obscure places to enjoy nature as it was intended to.
Websites like this one are great for sharing info on routes, but the increase in accessibility of route information also leads to more people visiting these places. I have seen some hikers (and climbers) become like surfers with a “locals only” or “secret spot” attitude. It is a very complex issue as inclusive participation in outdoor activities should be encouraged, but at what cost.
I decided recently to join the Mountain Club of SA for this reason - hiking on their properties is still very pristine, there is a vetting process to joining a club, and rules are generally well-observed.
Thanks for the response
I share your thoughts stated here and yes, unfortunately it does seem as hiking and camping is becoming more and more popular the reason for why people go out in nature becomes more grey I guess.
I still would like to find out if Cape Nature, SanParks and the like have some sort of blacklisting routine since I know for a fact that Hottentots had a strict sign in procedure so they could technically blacklist the group that was there. I did reach out to Cape nature again this morning to the complaints department there. Will phone later the week if they have not responded and try and find out what they plan to do with behaviour like this.
I am a member of MCSA CT section and yes it does definitely give one more areas to explore, we are so lucky with the beautiful environments around us.
I do wish that there is a way that our national and local parks could address this issue though since I do believe everyone should have access and be able to experience the beauty we have here in South Africa but like you said with hiking, climbing and camping becoming more popular (guess lockdown gave people time to miss the outdoors too) it does allow for misuse/abuse of some of these sights. But again with the local and National parks’ lead they might find ways to still keep the appreciation, awareness and respect for the environment and outdoors in tact. Should this not also be a part of what our national and local parks do, education of exactly that. Something that I appreciate MCSA does, outreach and awareness, rehabilitation of our environment.
Sorry for the rant This is obviously just something that disturbed me. Probably for many people on here, nature and these spaces are like churches to me and experiencing energies and behaviour in these spaces like we did this weekend is completely unacceptable to me.
I do appreciate people sharing their thoughts on this though and I hope that places like Cape Nature could read these posts and try and think of ways to make sure hikers and campers to their areas are respecting fellow visitors as well as the environment.
It is sad, but is highly doubtful whether this is a priority for the authorities. A good example is the way in which Sanparks is handling the crime on Table Mountain, where a lot of the extra work is done by private individuals such as the people behind Table Mountain Watch. I hope however that your enquiry leads to something, and please share any successes.
Will definitely let you know what I can find out from Cape Nature
We had the same issue when we booked there late 2018. By the time we got to the huts, the other group there was already deep into their drinks and we also felt very uncomfortable. Some people in our group saw that the Landroskop hut main area was open, so we carried the mattresses from the hut we booked to Landroskop hut, and slept there on the floor. Despite the distance between the huts we could still hear them well into the night… This experience almost spoiled a hike we were looking forward to for months
So sorry to hear that @Willemien. It seems to be a issue at Hottentots. Still no reply from CapeNature this week (reached out twice) but will be phoning early next week and hopefully will get some response. Will post here if there is news.
I guess it would be a good idea to book at Shamrock or Landros during the week if one is able and better yet get a group together big enough so that one doesn’t have to share. With current covid restrictions I think Shamrock fills up at 16.
Expected, useless bunch.
Eventually, they will come back to say that they are working on an “Action Plan” and will attend to the situation.
In reality, nothing will happen.
Sorry to hear about your experience. It really gets my goat, I’ve had comparable experiences on the day trails with the brandy and Bluetooth speaker brigade (loud music, drinking, littering, vandalism and all around unruly behaviour).
Covid has unfortunately bought these types of characters to the pristine outdoors… sigh
Hope CN gets back to you.
Keep well and persevere
Just an update on this original post:
Cape Nature phoned me on Friday and I spoke to their complaints department.
In a nutshell, they are very aware of the situation at Hottentots and it sounds like they are going to try and figure out ways to curb behaviour like that at the reserve. Seems like we were definitely not the only ones who complained. They explained to me that they have a “3 strike” system and that the group who was there with us that weekend will receive an email saying that this is strike 1 for them and that there was a complaint against them. Apparently after 3 strikes you are not allowed access to any Cape Nature reserve.
I guess that is something, whether they really follow through with this (the mail & taking more focused action at the reserve) is to be seen. I did ask that they update me as soon as there has been a action taken.
Maybe if enough people report incidents like this, it will force CN to do more about it and REALLY take action.
If I hear from them again, I will update here. And if anyone experiences a similar situation at their reserves or at Hottentos specifically, please post here. I do not mind phoning the department again to update.
Nicely done @TrailHunter
It’s feels good to have one’s cynicism pushed back.
The most incredible thing about this is that CapeNature have a “complaints” department. What?! I got a call from them this week saying they have to cancel my booking because the cabin door is broken. First time for that one. Also three strikes? Their names should be in the hiking register. Ban them for life.
An Update from my side:
Cape Nature reached out to me today with an update on the issue of rowdy and unruly guests. It seems that they are actually working on some strategies to try an minimize this type of behaviour.
I understand that issues like these could take time to filter out since, more than anything, it is also a mindset change but at least they are taking time to think of this and action plans. Which is something they should be doing in my opinion anyway. Whether people listen and adhere and respect the reserves is a totally different thing though.
I guess what could help is to take the time to report incidents like these, if the “3 strike” system does work at least people who act like this will only do say… well, three times and also report because it could keep applying pressure to the reserves to actually do something about incidents like this.
Here is to peace and respect in nature