The Hikerís Credo
Hiker's Responsibility and Code of Ethics
The Hikerís Credo
It is our privilege and not our right to enjoy the bountifulness of what nature has to offer. Nobody owns nature and by using this natural resource we build up a debt that can only be paid by using every means that we can to understand, protect and nurture what we have inherited.
Hikerís Responsibility and Code of Ethics
1/.Never damage property of any kind Ė fences, signs and buildings. If some damage is inadvertently cause, report the matter to the authorities concerned
2/. Leave all gates as found and only deviate from the marked trail should an emergency dictate
3/. Build fires only in designated areas and then only when it is considered safe to do so. Hikerís gas stoves must also only be used in an area clear of combustible material.
4/.Do not litter. All alien material must be carried along until one finds a suitable rubbish bin at an overnight camp or at the end of the trail. Additional care must be taken by smokers that ash is not the cause of a veld fire. A suitable enclosed receptacle should be used for this purpose. While Banana peels and apple cores might be considered as Ďbiologically degradableí these should also be carried out and disposed of in a rubbish bin.
5/. Do not write names or make markings on rocks or carve on trees. Do not touch or breathe directly on San paintings.
6/. Do not pick any plants or disturb any wild animals or their habitat
7/. Do not contaminate rivers, water tanks, boreholes or any other water supply. Biologically friendly soap should be used at all times. Many insect repellents are poisonous to fish and other creatures other than those that are designated.
8/. Use tank water and firewood sparingly. Do not collect wood from the veld.
9/. Only use the veld as a toilet when absolutely necessary. If the need arises, move away from the path (and away from watercourses) and make sure that excrement is buried and a rock placed over the spot. In dessert areas such as the Fish River Canyon, toilet paper should be burned when it is deemed safe to do so.
10/. Cooperate with hike leaders and those in recognized authority
11/. Be open and honest about your health and any allergies that you might have, with the club that you plan to join. When planning to go on a hike, inform the leader of your condition and make sure that you have adequate medication with you even if the illness has been in remission for some time
12/. Never hike alone. Take at least two companions with you. Also take cognizance of the possibility of crime in an area that you propose to hike in.
13/. Be alert to fellow hikers who might have problems. Never let one person lag behind alone. The hike leader should be kept in formed of any problems that he/she might not be aware of. An experienced back marker should be appointed and they must remain at the back at all times except as emergencies may dictate.
14/. Never walk without emergency clothing for wet and cold conditions- your dilemma may also become that of your fellow hikers.
15/. Carry enough water for your own needs plus some extra for emergencies.
16/. Leave your radio at home and use your cell phone with discretion. Some youth like walking with an Ipod or similar but these should not be audible to anyone else in the group.
17/. Leave the overnight accommodation as you would like to find it.
18/. Respect others who might be tired and would like to go to bed early.
19/. And lastly: while walking, be kind to yourself by not pushing too hard so that you cannot enjoy the small flowers along the route and enjoy the birds.
Drawn up by Tim Hartwright, Charlotte Pitts, Hiking SA and other hikers and endorsed by The Southern Africa Hiking Trail Owners Association (SAHTOA)