From our experience what we have seen in the many years of picking up lost people we would like to give the following tips:
Do your home work before you set foot on a new path: Check a map (how long is the hike, incline, water points, shade, ...), check your gear, assess your own and your partners fitness level, and be realistic if you are able to do it.
Always tell someone where you are going and when you intend to return
and stick to what you've told that person!
Always carry a jacket, hat and sunscreen
No matter how warm it is and how clear the sky, around the next bend can blow a harsh wind that you will have to hike in for the next hours, so ALWAYS carry a jacket with you. Meanwhile the sun is still burning down on you, giving you a nice crisp finish if you are not prepared.
Wear the right shoes
At least wear tekkies (trainers), best are hiking boots with a sturdy sole and ancle support. Leave the flip flops at home.
Carry enough water
For a day out in the mountains you will need about 2l of water. Luckily the water from our streams is drinkable in most cases, so restock whenever you come pass one.
Carry a fully charged cellphone with the number for Metro Control (021 937 0300)
There are a lot of places in our mountains that don't have cellphone reception, but still, have it with you because if you have reception it will potentially save your life and make ours a lot easier. If you have one of those fancy smart phones with built-in GPS, find out how to transmit your position to somebody else. This can save us hours.
Do not derive from the plans that were made
In many cases people 'slide' into an emergency situation by a series of minor improvisations to the initial plan. Someone pitches delayed at the meeting point, so you are leaving later then anticipated. You have to hurry now and miss the one fork on the path. To make up time you start bundu bashing to 'take a shortcut'... you get the picture. Be alert about what is happening and about consequences of decisions made. Rather 'abort the mission' and walk the same way back.
Never hike alone
A party of four is the minimal size we recommend. If one gets injured, one can stay with him while the other two can get help.