• Joshua @ Forge

Propelling geo-tourism and environmental education into the future with The Umvoto Foundation

Introducing a new interactive map unpacking the history, construction and geology of a pivotal element in the history of Cape Town's development - the dams of Table Mountain.

The Umvoto Foundation's Table Mountain Dams Geotrail on the Forge app.
The Umvoto Foundation's Table Mountain Dams Geotrail is available for free on the Forge app.

Table Mountain is far more than an iconic slab of rock in the middle of Cape Town. Anyone who has ventured up some of its more famed back table routes such as Skeleton Gorge or the Constantia Jeep Track, have likely found themselves walking alongside at least one of the five dams, or reservoirs that are located on Table Mountain. Perhaps these have been used as a place for a well-earned rest or a sneaky, but illegal, swim at the height of summer. But there is far more to these dams than a useful 'chill spot'.


The reservoirs have an intriguing story that places them as pivotal elements in the history of Cape Town's development. In order to bring this story to life, The Umvoto Foundation (TUF) have established the first in their series of geotrails in southern Africa - the Table Mountain Dams Geotrail, and Forge was approached to put this story 'on the map' so to speak.


The Table Mountain Dams Geotrail showcases the history of the water supply network, of which the dams have been a pivotal part since the 17th century. In addition, the Geotrail highlights areas of geological interest that have strong links to the construction of the dams.



The Geotrail is being used as a showcase for the geotrail series initiative from which TUF is seeking to generate further funding and develop more geotrails, all with a strong focus on promoting education and environmental protection. Some of the sites of interest include the original Kasteelspoort Cable Station (it is more than a famous Instagram photo spot), the Waterworks Museum and the Hely-Hutchinson Reservoir.


For Forge, the opportunity to create and host a bespoke map on the mobile app was one not to be passed up, given our desire to equip the outdoor community with insightful information and our strong focus on trail recreation. The interactive map, which is hosted on the Forge app - under the Speciality Maps > Events filter - let's users explore the sites on their next adventure and find interesting information on some recognisable, and some less obvious historical, climatological and hydrogeological points of interest. Photos of each site are also attached, adding to the experience, whether on the trail or exploring from home. The usual information standard across the app such as the emergency call function and permit information are also available.


The Geotrail is being used as a showcase for the geotrail series initiative from which TUF is seeking to generate further funding and develop more geotrails, all with a strong focus on promoting education and environmental protection.

Woodhead Dam, on Table Mountain, at sunset.
Woodhead Dam was the first of the Table Mountain dams to be built. At the time it was the largest dam in South Africa.

A full pocket guidebook to accompany the trail is in the pipeline that will add to the digital experience. Follow TUF on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date with this, book your spot on a guided geotrail or for general news from their activities. As always, you can contact us to provide feedback on the Geotrail and other maps.

 

Be sure to get the free Forge App on your mobile and download our offline maps to take with you onto the mountain, then share the stoke using #ForgeSA


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