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Take Note Before Going on One of these African Hikes

Researchers have tested the UV exposure in high-altitude sites in Cape Town and Reunion Island. They assessed human exposure for hiking activities at two popular high-altitude hiking trails on the Maïdo–Grand Bénare (Reunion) and Table Mountain (Cape Town) with a handheld radiometer. And recorded extreme exposure doses. We chose our testing sites – Table Mountain (altitude of 1,035 metres) in Cape Town and Maïdo-Grand Bénare (2,898 metres) on Reunion Island – because they are popular tourist destinations for outdoor activities for most of the year. Yet their high risk for UV is not necessarily well known. Tourists, hikers and employees of the local national parks may be exposed to high UV levels. Every year, 1,000,000 people visit Table Mountain and 180,000 hike on Réunion Island mountain. These high exposure doses highlight the importance of raising public awareness on the risk related to excess UVR exposure at tourist sites, especially those at high altitude. The findings suggest a need for strong public awareness campaigns among visitors to sites like these to prevent skin diseases and cancers that could result from overexposure to UV radiation.