Introduction

How to use Mountain Meanders

The areas covered by Mountain Meanders are divided into four main sections: Table Mountain, the PeninsulaCape Country and Other Areas (local & international). Each of these has 4 or 5 sub areas, and in each of these the individual routes are listed. Each section and subsection has maps and photos showing the main areas. Most areas have an associated Google Map - see the section below for more information on Google Maps.

Navigation  

There are a number of ways to navigate to pages of interest:
  • Menu: The menu on the left which appears on all pages provides a direct link to all routes using the drop down menus. 
  • Within each sub-area e.g. Table Mountain - Atlantic, a full list of routes is provided, together with their grading and star rating. The Map Ref [A], [B], [C], etc is the reference letter used on the corresponding maps and GPS tracks.  This shorthand notation is used to avoid map clutter and it also ensures tracks are listed in a systematic order.
  • Search: Enter any route name or area or keyword in the search box on the top right. This is particularly useful on a device such as a cellphone - see the note below on this.
  • Use the "breadcrumbs" at the top of the page which shows parent pages
  • Use the sub-pages at the foot of the page which lists dependent pages. 
  • Use the Sitemap  (bottom of menu on left)

Route Descriptions  

Each route has a selection of resources (not all routes have or need all resources):
  • Location, key statistics, a few key photos and a written route description 
  • A set of photos in a slideshow (Picasa web or similar) giving an impression of the route. NB In many of the earlier route descriptions the Picasa slide show was included embedded in the webpage.  However, it has been found that these do not display on either Android or iPhone or iPad platforms, so they are now included as a link in the resources section.  This makes them available on both PC and mobile device platforms if a little less elegantly than before. 
  • A map showing the route. The map is usually in a pdf file which also has the route description and key photos i.e. this is a complete document that can be downloaded and printed
  • A GPS track of the route or area which can be downloaded and put into GPS or used in a mapping package such as Garmin Mapsource or Basecamp or Google Earth or Google Maps. See also the page on GPS and GPS maps and the section below on Google Maps. 
  • Comments on the route which may also link to other resources. 
Comments on your experience of using the route, additional photos, links to your blog, or any other information of interest are all welcome.  See Making Contributions for more information.

Google Maps

An embedded Google Map is provided on many pages. These can be used in a number of ways, both in-situ on the page where they are displayed and expanded to view full screen. The maps can be displayed in four different modes: 
  • Map: showing roads and other features like the boundaries of Cape Nature reserves. These are particularly useful for finding the parking lot! 
  • Terrain: showing a shaded terrain model which is useful for visualizing where ranges are. NB When Terrain view is zoomed close in, contours are visible, but these are not accurate and should never be used for navigation. They are indicative only.
  • Satellite: The well know Google Earth pictures which can be useful at times by zooming in and seeing main paths. Particularly useful for finding the way out of the parking lot! 
  • Hybrid: A combination of roads and satellite images.
Each mode has its uses and one is not better than another. Any map can be panned and zoomed, on both the embedded map and the expanded map. Placemarks are provided in some (but not all cases) showing the broad location or routes, parking areas, peaks, etc.  Click on any Placemark to see its description (mouse-over does not work - unfortunately.)  If the map is opened in Google Maps directly (a link is usually provided) then the Placemarks are listed and clicking on any Placemark by name will show where it is on the map. A useful tool, but takes a bit of work to get to know it.

GPS tracks could be displayed on Google Maps (by converting to KML files), but this was not useful because the Google Maps contours are so inaccurate. The results are misleading.  Rather download the GPS track and display in Mapsource or Basecamp or other mapping programme. 

Use on Mobile Devices

Mountain Meanders works well on smartphones. Even with screens as small as 240x320 pixels route descriptions can be read and route photographs are legible. Browsing on small screens is always difficult however, so the search option is the better way to find routes. But of course there is not always cell phone coverage in mountain areas so don't depend on access at the last minute! The better option is to download route photos or descriptions to the mobile device before setting out.   

This potential to be used on mobile devices has influenced the design of Mountain Meanders. In particular it uses a fluid design where the text expands to the full screen width.  On wide screens this can make reading text a bit difficult (if this is a problem, just reduce your window width!) but does make it usable on smaller screens. Tables are a particular problem and the use of tables has been limited and table formats adjusted to allow for mobile device use. So if a page looks a bit "funny" on a big screen this may be to make it feasible to view on a small screen.  This is a rapidly evolving medium and feedback and experience of using Mountain Meanders on different platforms is of interest.
 

One problem on mobile devices is that they lack support for embedded Picasa slide shows.  On Android devices a grey box is displayed saying "Chrome for Android does not support this plugin" which is surprising given that Android is a Google product.  This omission is well noted and loudly lamented on various bogs and forums but Google is deaf to user's pleas.  On Apple devices (iPhone and iPad) the situation is even worse as no indication is given that anything is missing other than the text wrapping around invisible white space. While the embedded slide shows are usually not central to the route description, the grey, or invisible, blobs are unacceptable design practice and the slide shows are (slowly) being upgraded to a use a new  gadget that works on all devices to date.  Click here for more details

Acknowledgments:

This website and the resources listed are the collaborative efforts of many people. Where possible specific attribution is given or may be contained in the resource.  See Making Contributions for a list of contributors and the history page for background on the origins of Mountain Meanders - with particular thanks to the University of the 3rd Age (U3A) for their support.  If anyone has been omitted, or material has been used which you consider your copyright, apologies.  Please advise the Webmaster and any omissions or commissions will be rectified as speadily as possible.  See also the links page for information on walking and climbing organisations -  local and international. 
 

Disclaimer

NB Read the Safety Notes Many of the walks and scrambles described in Mountain Meanders are difficult and dangerous.  Do not attempt any Grade 3 or higher route unless you are experienced with exposed rock scrambling This site is the work of many individuals and is not an official part of any club or organisation. The use of any of the resources on this website, or any resources referenced, is entirely at the user’s risk. No contributors accept any liability whatsoever for the use of any of the information that is provided.  Given that this is open resource with contributions from many people, the accuracy of any description or map or GPS track cannot be guaranteed and may contain errors. Read the safety notes for more information.