The front-line staff of the prestigious five-star Cape Grace, situated on a private quay at the V & A Waterfront attended a training course at Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) and its environs hosted by iKapa Honorary Rangers (HRs). This is part of an ongoing programme by the HRs to help educate staff from tourism establishments to learn more about Cape Town and TMNP.
“With the high number of overseas and local visitors coming to Cape Town and staying at the Cape Grace it is important for our staff to be knowledgeable about our city and national park. Many of our guests want to visit Table Mountain and Cape Point and our staff should have the necessary knowledge and information,” commented Dorothy van Hoorn, HR manager at Cape Grace. George Smith, iKapa HR training officer, led the training programme, which was held over three weekends at the hotel.
The training culminated in a bush walk to Silvermine where delegates got to know more of the local fynbos. Earlier this year, iKapa HR Ruedi Siegenthaler was awarded a prestigious merit award at the HR Indaba held at Berg-en-Dal in the Kruger National Park (KNP). Siegenthaler has been an HR in the TMNP for the past five years. He spends much of his spare time working on keeping park paths clear and safe as well as cutting down trees that have fallen across these paths.
He maintains the high visitor area boardwalks. During full moon, do not be surprised to find Siegenthaler patrolling Lions Head in his effort to ensure the safety of the 700 annual visitors on the mountain after dark. At other times, you may find Siegenthaler removing graffiti from and repainting the Cape Point Lighthouse. As operations officer for iKapa HR, Siegenthaler also ensures the team focuses on the right tasks and projects within TMNP, including visitor safety and information.
TMNP senior section ranger, Hilton Blumeris, responsible for visitor safety in the north sector of the park comments, “Ruedi’s drive, passion and proper concern for safety make him a good team member with the park rangers. He’s always there on Lions Head, in the Newlands block and Skeleton Gorge in constant contact with the park personnel.” Siegenthaler, a founder member of iKapa HR, is widely known and respected for his integrity and extensive knowledge of the Table Mountain range.
This has helped iKapa HR build strong relationships with TMNP. iKapa HR is completely selffunded. It contributes to SANParks in a variety of ways - creating vital public awareness, raising valuable funds, supplying much needed assistance and equipment to supplement various conservation, tourism, environmental education and park infrastructure needs.