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2023 in review at Forge: More trails mapped and partnerships prioritized

Now that the dust has settled after the festive season and we've all started slowly crawling our way back to our office desks, we've had a chance to reflect on what 2023 entailed for Forge.


Boulder climbers returning from climb at sunset in the Cederberg.
Boulder climbers at Kliphuis, Cederberg.

Nurturing our relationship with CapeNature


We've been the official digital mapping partner of CapeNature since 2021. They've trusted us to showcase their hiking trails and have incorporated us into their visitor experience. In 2023, we doubled down on working with them and have plenty to show for the time invested:

  • Produced a map for a new entrance signboard at the renowned Jonkershoek Nature Reserve.

  • Completed digitizing ALL of their remaining nature reserves, including :

    • Walker Bay Nature Reserve

    • Lambert's Bay Bird Island

    • Geelkrans Nature Reserve

    • Outeniqua Nature Reserve

    • Swartberg Nature Reserve

    • Goukamma Nature Reserve

    • Anysberg Nature Reserve

  • Created custom digital maps tailored to CapeNature's branding for all 27 of their tourism properties, plus a reserves showcase map for their website.

To cap it off, we were invited to attend their Tourism and Green Investments event in Cape Town, as one of their partners helping foster sustainable tourism in the Western Cape.


People at a conference.
CapeNature's Tourism & Green Investments event in Woodstock, Cape Town.

Even more maps and new regions


Considering the entire team originally hails from Jo'burg, it was high time that we added a map from the neighboring Magaliesberg mountain range. Our first splash in the region was with the release of Kranskloof Hiking Trails. Just before the clock struck midnight for the final time in the year, we also unveiled a map of Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve in the Western Cape. This map tipped the total kilometers mapped for the year to just over 600!


A milestone partnership forged for mapping a World Heritage Site


The uKhahlamba Drakensberg mountain range is South Africa's wilderness hiking mecca. Whilst we've had most of the northern region mapped for a couple of years already, we didn't have any formal relationship with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (EKZNW) who manage over 240 000 hectares of the region. In November, however, EKZNW welcomed us with open arms and got the partnership ball rolling with a trial partnership to promote Royal Natal National Park which is still underway.


Mountain after a storm.
The Eastern Buttress as seen from Thendele Camp at Royal Natal National Park.

New look and feel


The first rendition of the Forge logo was sketched on a notepad in the Fish River valley in the Northern Cape back in 2017. Five years later, we decided we needed a bit of a makeover. What started with a somewhat typical mapping north orientation arrow, morphed into a swish-looking and simplified navigation arrow overlayed on the upper-most contours of Cape Town's iconic Lion's Head peak.


Forge logo
Forge logo makeover.

Looking ahead

As none of the team has the luxury to work full time on Forge, we sometimes have to pinch ourselves to acknowledge the progress that we make. Considering all the hours put in take place when the work laptops are closed, a shout-out as always goes to supportive partners who even encourage us to continue forging new frontiers despite the sacrifices it requires.


Here's to a fruitful and exciting 2024 ahead!

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