Geocaching can be described in simple terms as treasure hunting for the digital generation. Participants rely on global positioning system (GPS) technology to find their way to certain points around the reserve. At the location is hidden a watertight plastic container. This contains a log book to record your name and date.
There is also a small trinket or souvenir. For younger ones, some of the excitement lies in seeing what other trinkets and souvenirs have been left (but do not raise your expectations too high). If you decide to take anything away, you should leave something of equal or greater value for the next person to discover. If you don’t have anything, just record your name in the book and enjoy hunting for the next one.
What equipment do I need?
Hobby geocachers usually have a dedicated GPS unit but most smartphones come with GPS ability these days (just be warned that it often uses up your battery quicker when switched on, so make sure you have your charger available when you get back). You can download Apps as well that will record your geocaches. A popular free one is “c:geo” or you can pay a bit to get “CacheSense”. You can just use Google Maps and type in the co-ordinates to the search box, but beware of it using up data to download the map.
Other than that you just need the right clothes and water for doing a walk (oh and something to leave in the caches if you want to do that part of the hunt).
How do I find my first geocache?
First you need to record the locations of the geocaches to the given accuracy. You can enter this into your app or just head off in the right direction looking at the co-ordinates and moving to try and find the position. Most handheld GPS units are accurate to about 3m, a mobile phone GPS possibly a bit less. In valleys, near buildings or trees the GPS can be slightly less accurate as it is searching for satellites, so be patient if it is fluctuating. When you believe you are at the location, start hunting.
No geocache will be buried, nor should it require anything to be moved to find it. However, it will be hidden so that the casual hiker should not just stumble across it (though sometimes this will happen). At Phillipskop, the nature of the terrain means that most geocaches are associated with rocks – usually a more noticeable one than those around it. You will probably need to bend low to find many of them. We have made our geocaches from clear tupperware; it will be obvious when you see one.
When you find your first geocache, open the box and find the log book. Record your name (you can make up a code name if you want) and the date that you found it in the book. If you have brought a trinket along with you, then you can swap it for something that is in the cache. (Please never put food in a geocache – the baboons will find it before anyone else does.) But if you have nothing to exchange then just leave what’s there for the next seekers. Some people enjoy the aspect of swapping items, but there is no need for this. Once you have finished with the cache, close up the box again tightly so that it won’t get wet and replace it in exactly the same position as you found it.
Congratulations, you have completed your first geocache. Enter the co-ordinates for the next one and head off again.
The geocache’s here are generally hidden amongst rocks, and there may be some element of scrambling over rocks or through the fynbos to find them. All are situated within 50m of a path, so if it is further away than that take the path that leads in the general direction of the geocache until you are within range. None of the geocaches are located in dangerous places – so if you think the GPS is taking you somewhere risky, your direction is wrong! Little children may require help over the rocks but most people will be fine.
For answers to more questions and to explore other geocaches visit this website: https://www.geocaching.com/guide/
Altitude (nearest 10m)
A map of the route indicating the rough positions of the geocaches is given below, or you can download the full map suitable for printing (2.6Mb). If you need extra help then also check out our news post which contains photographs of the geocache sites.