We have often heard the saying “it’s a walk in the park”, however all to often when attempting to enjoy the great outdoors one falls victim to crime and is robbed of belongings such as a cellphone, wallet, jewelry or even photographic equipment . Recently a friend and I took pictures of the Scottish Memorial on Kensington Ridge in Johannesburg and a few weeks later were horrified to hear that a well-known photographer had been robbed of around R 250 k worth of equipment at the same spot. So whether you embark on an urban adventure or are out of town in the bush we felt that it would be worthwhile to share a few tips;
- Firstly always try and park in a designated area preferably with an attendant, do not leave stuff lying around in your vehicle, as that is tempting to a criminal.
- Be careful of reduced visibility during a sunset, sunrise or when it is overcast. Be careful when there are not many people around as well.
- Stay in the open space and be aware of your surroundings, muggers use foliage and trees to conceal themselves.
- Buildings also provide opportunities to hide, as do toilets in the bush and open spaces.
- Be cautious of people approaching you especially if they seem overly friendly and are smiling, watch groups as well as people who are following your route albeit at a distance.
- If you need to rest sit in an open area and watch for anyone approaching, always check behind you.
- Look assertive and walk with a purpose, its good practice to walk with a stick, which helps on rough terrain but may deter a potential attack.
- Do not count money in public, I suggest that you carry a fake wallet with a small amount of cash and an old bank card, conceal your real wallet elsewhere if you have to take it with you, rather put it in a waist belt wallet that sits under your shirt. Remember the amount of effort and time it takes to replace a drivers license and bank cards.
- Be careful of backpacks that can easily be opened and if you have to use an ATM try to use one within a building and be as unobtrusive as possible.
- Whilst you may have to take cameras or binoculars with you one should ensure that they are adequately covered (Insured) as well as being protected from the weather should it rain. Don’t change lenses in dusty areas as you could get dust in the camera.
- Always see that everyone in your group has a rain jacket in the case of a storm.
- Avoid high ground and trees if there is lightning.
Most of all use common sense, if the area looks dubious rather give it a miss.
We hope this article was of value, please feel free to share your tips at www.allterrain.co.za