Hike Grading System

Please note that all visitors and new members are required to participate in a grade 2 hike before attempting a more challenging hike. The leader may at his/her discretion decide not to permit a visitor or member to join a difficult outing.

Our hike grading system is a guide based on three factors that are used to establish a hike’s difficulty:

The number in the grade represents how tough the hike is physically (i.e. how fit you need to be). The distance and the duration of the hike may play a role but are not the only determining factors.

  • 1:   Relatively easy hike
  • 2:   Moderate hike
  • 3:   Strenuous hike
  • 4:   Very strenuous hike 

The letter represents how exposed hikers are to heights during the hike (persons with a fear of heights should pay particular attention to this aspect).

  • A:   No exposure to heights 
  • B:   Some exposure to heights 
  • C:   Exposed to heights 
  • D:   Very exposed to heights 

The colour represents the technical abilities that may be needed (such as strong arms, agility and good balance).

  • Green: Easy walking on an established path with a relatively smooth surface.
  • Orange: Walking on a path with occasional use of hands required (easy scrambling). Or walking on a path with a rough surface or on loose sand.
  • Red: Walking on or off a path. Frequent use of hands (scrambling) to pull oneself upwards. Or steep downhill sections with loose stones. Or hikes where good balance or strong ankles are required.
  • Black: Serious scrambling. Or exploring to find new routes (‘recce’). Or kloofing. Only for adventurous and strong hikers.

When deciding whether or not to join a hike, one must always consider the physical effort, the exposure to heights and also the techical aspects. A particular hike may mostly be an easy stroll, yet may contain a challenging piece of exposed scrambling. Similarly a hike which runs on a flat terrain with no exposure to heights, may be physically tough due to a really rugged surface.

NOTE: The grading assumes a basic level of hiking fitness.

You are personally responsible for ensuring that you are capable of completing a particular hike in a reasonable time, and that you are able to keep up with the group.

What to Bring on a Day Hike

Carry the following:

  • A warm jacket, waterproof coat/jacket and sun protection.
  • Sufficient water, especially in summer (recommended 1litre per 3hrs).
  • A safety whistle to use in an emergency.
  • Enough food for a full day, including a high energy snack.
  • A fully charged cell phone. Please do not switch off your phone. Rather put it on silent. 
  • The following should be loaded on your cell phone:
    • The Western Cape emergency centre no 021 937 0300 and 10177.
    • The leader’s cell number (An sms will often be transmitted where voice connection is not possible).
    • The contact details for your next of kin, listed under ICE, so we can contact them in an emergency.  Additional emergency information must be carried if any extraordinary condition exists.
  • Your own first aid kit and personal medication – include Rehydrate & Cramp Ease (or similar), plasters & bandage, and pain killers.

Wear appropriate clothing:

  • Proper hiking boots
  • Loose, light clothing with extra layers to put on if necessary.
  • Hat/cap and protective sun cream.

Hike Leader Guidelines

Preventing and Treating Heat Exhaustion

Written by Steve Chadwick

Snakebite First Aid