In one of my very first posts I wrote about my discovery regarding Wild Cards and dog-walking in the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP), that being that if you’d like to take your two best friends (in this case, my mother’s protective dogs) along on a mountain walk anywhere in the TMNP, you’re going to need a Cape Town Wild Card, plus a recreational dog-walking permit to boot.
I have neither of these, so walking in Silvermine (for instance) is currently out of the question (call me paranoid, but I don’t think walking alone is a very good idea), and I always end up at the beach.
But having decided that I wouldn’t mind a change of scenery, I bit the proverbial bullet and re-visited the ‘Wild In Africa‘ website, hoping to remedy this dire lack of TMNP access (it was that or find some friends I can bundle into a car on a regular basis, whenever I so desire, no logistics required).
The site is fairly easy to navigate, and explains most things fairly well. Capetonians can purchase a Cape Town Wild Card (R45), with ‘limited’ access to parks within the TMNP (12 free entries at selected places).
To be allowed to take dogs with you into the reserve, you need to slap on a recreational dog-walking permit (R50 annual fee) – which covers two dogs per permit.
Fair enough. I have no problem with that, and I was amped and ready to order my very own and get organised. So, I clicked through to their online order form, which is where things started to go wrong:
- Unlike most other sites that process online transactions, there was no security message to quell any niggly doubts about personal details and credit card minutiae.
- The list of possible titles is longer than my arm… which meant I dissolved into a fit of uncontainable laughter that made my colleagues look at me rather strangely.
- Once I’d gingerly typed in all the required details, including my carefully guarded credit card information, and clicked ‘Submit’, all that came up was an error message (which said nothing about why the error had occurred, or what it meant),
- When I emailed the Wild In Africa folks to find out what had happened, they just said I should buy one at an outlet (no helpful list as to where exactly those can be found).
- Not my question, so I replied (probably rather sarcastically) asking whether or not the transaction had gone through or not (the thought of my precious credit card details floating in cyberspace doesn’t appeal to me). No, they said, no transaction. But with no apology, and no explanation for why their online form does not work.
Not very impressed at all!
So, until such time as I find an outlet (admittedly I’ve not tried overly hard to do so) I will be without the Cape Town Wild Card.
Alternatively, I could always go for the ‘Cape Cluster’ Wild Card.
This is an entirely different card that offers its holder unlimited access to more places than the ‘Cape Town Wild Card’. This card shows up on the Cape Nature website (much more user-friendly, by the by), and has a fax-able form, rather than the (now hated) online version.
It’s also far more expensive (R170) and I can’t work out whether a dog-walking permit can be added to it, or only to the R45, Capetonians-only version. Does one need both, then? Sigh.
To borrow a favourite phrase from the Goon Show: it’s all rather confusing, really.