American tourist mugged on mountain


Despite the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) adding a helicopter to boost its security measures this month, muggers have struck again, this time targeting an American tourist on Skeleton Gorge.

Tuesday’s mugging came a week after TMNP announced it was using a helicopter to help fight crime and three weeks after three other attacks were reported on the mountain.

Douglas Girlings, a doctor from New York, said he had heard “the rumours about poor security measures” on the mountain and, after being held at knifepoint on Tuesday, he believed more should be done to increase security.

He said it was his first visit to Cape Town and about 1.30pm he had gone jogging on the mountain.

“I’m here on vacation and wanted to run up a trail on Table Mountain. On my way down as I was getting to the bottom of Skeleton Gorge three men appeared and pushed me against a tree. They cut off my backpack and took my watch and wedding ring,” he said.

Girlings said the muggers then ran away and he told guards at the bottom of the mountain what had happened.

“They then rushed to try and find the three. Luckily, I wasn’t harmed. I’ve heard the rumours about safety on the mountain and now believe them. If security was improved then I’d be more willing to visit Table Mountain again but I wouldn’t at the moment, based on what I’m feeling.”

He reported the incident at the Claremont police station.

Girling was staying at a guest house in Observatory and was to have left on Wednesday.

TMNP spokesperson Phumeza Mgxashe said park rangers were still “combing the area” hours after the incident.