S.A. Mountain Accidents Database

The following persons are acknowledged as having made significant contributions to this project:

Keppel Barnard
Brian Quail
Angus Quail
Christobel Lester
Lester Coelen
Dr Lance Michell
Dr Stephen Craven
Dr Anthony Jones
The staff of the University of Cape Town Libraries Special Collections

The SAMA database exists to provide public and government bodies access to mountain accident related statistics in order to assist them in making decisions with respect to the provision of rescue services, signage, training and education.

The information contained in this database is in no ways complete. Various organisations contribute to the content but there is no one overall source of data. One should also bear in mind that the incidents reported are not all related to mountaineering but are drawn from all known incidents where rescue organisations have had to assist people in mountainous areas.

These statistics are therefore inferential, and should not be considered as "sample" data. It is also meaningless to compare these statistics to other "sample populations" involved or not involved in mountain activities as there is little or no data on mountain usage for recreational or other purposes in South Africa. The data and statistics provided here cannot be used for instance by insurance companies to weight premiums, as the statistics are not a sample of the population.

All incidents in the database are entered into a mapping tool (OziExplorer). The incidents can be filtered against date, type etc. A specially designed query tool using the OziExplorer API, PHP and Google Earth is used to spot trends. The database contains records spanning 5 centuries, from 1653 to today. Very few other rescue organisations worldwide can lay claim to such a collection of data. The following maps show examples of geographical distributions of incidents in the SAMA database. Each incident is dated and is colour coded according to most significant patient status. It is possible to split the incidents according to category and display in time lapse format, for instance to show the dispersion of critical mountain related injuries in the Du Toits mountains for each decade over the last 40 years. The following images show all incidents in the Western Cape, The Cape Metropol, incident density on Table Mountain and all kloofing accidents in the Western Cape as a heat map.


Managed by MCSA Search and Rescue

Managed by:
MCSA Search and Rescue
Project run by:
Andrew Lewis