There are many great walking and hiking trails in and around Cape Town but if you are looking for a guided walk with a twist, Jean America, is your man and Ocean View is the place.
No matter what your fitness level, if you can walk, you can join Mr America, 35, and his team for an unforgettable hike that ticks all the boxes of an amazing day out in nature.
Mr America is a former creative director at the eMzantsi Carnival.
On Saturday September 2, he met with the Echo for a chat at the Ocean View library shortly before taking a group to explore the beauty of Klein Slangkoppie.
Mr America said with limited resources, unemployment is a reality for many Ocean View residents and gangsterism is a direct result of it.
“I wanted to do something to bring the community together,” he said.
And that is exactly what he did. In 2012, he started an informal hiking group using the beautiful and often unnoticed natural surroundings of Ocean View as his playground.
He loves hiking and feels that more youngsters should be encouraged to hike.
“Although football is a popular sport, it is competitive where hiking is more social, non-competitive and suitable for the entire family,” Mr America said.
There are no set dates for the hikes and he does not charge for his services.
“I do it for the love of hiking,” he said.
Mr America has three crew members, Shaun Hammer, Marius Waries and Adin Adams who join him on hikes ensuring the group is safe at all times.
“We are very conscious of the safety of the group and provide a safe environment for people to hike in,” he said.
The duration of each hike is about three hours with a water and rest break every 30 min-
Hikers are encouraged to respect fellow hikers and the environment, not to pick any flowers or remove plant species and most of all to have fun, learn, explore and connect with one another.
The crew also recently joined the hikers network (hikersnetwork.co.za), a website that offers safety tips and connects them to other hikers, in order to brush up on knowledge and safety skills.
Crew member, Adin Adams said he started going to the mountains to get away from the negativity in his community and developed a new respect for his environment when he started researching his Khoisan heritage.
“Being in the mountains are very therapeutic for me and I want to share that experience with others,” he said.
Grade 10 pupil, Daniel Orgill, 16, and his dog, Kingston joined the hike on Saturday and says hiking makes him feel free.
“It is a great way to make new friends and get away from the violence and crime in the commu-
nity by just enjoying nature,” he
For more information, visit Mr America’s Facebook page at Ocean View Hiking Generation.