Frequently Asked Questions

Who may take part?
Anyone! Orienteering can be enjoyed by men, women and children, whether old or young, fit or unfit. As you set your own pace, it is ideal recreation for individuals or groups.

How long are the courses?
The length of an Orienteering course varies from 1,5km with six to ten controls for beginners, up to about 10km or more for the more adventurous. The challenge is yours!

What equipment will I need?
You do not require expensive equipment nor special gear. Wear old clothes (shorts and t-shirt are fine) and comfortable shoes – running shoes or hiking boots. However, leg and arm covering are advised in rough areas, e.g. undergrowth, thorn trees, etc. An Orienteering compass is useful for the more advanced courses. Hats and sunscreen are essentials for outdoor protection. Drinking water is normally provided along the route on longer courses. All other items (e.g. map and control card) are supplied by the event organizers.

How much does it cost?
Orienteering is not an expensive sport. Single-event entry fees are normally between R20 and R30, and this includes the cost of the map.

What about maps?
All Orienteering maps are specially drawn – based on topographical surveys, retaining basic symbols for contours, buildings, streams etc, but much finer detail, such as depressions, ditches and vegetation changes are added. Maps are usually reproduced in scales of between 1:5 000 to 1:15 000, and are in colour, with a full legend explaining the various features. Maps are provided as part of your event entry fee.

What does “climb” mean?
From each countour (line on a map joining points of equal elevation or height) that a route crosses in the positive direction (i.e. going up-hill), the climb is calculated. Maps normally show 5 metre contours, hence crossing 10 of these lines in total (only on upward slopes), will equal a total climb of 50 metres.

Do I need to join a club?
Not necessarily. You may compete as an individual. However, joining a club gives you the benefits of a support structure and a social environment. With membership you are also eligible to qualify for the provincial log rankings, and to take part in Championship events.

What must I do at my first event?
When you arrive, you will need to register (or enter), after choosing a suitable course from the several that will be on offer for the day. On registering (and paying your entry fee) you will normally receive a MAP, CONTROL CARD or ELECTRONIC PUNCH “CARD” (for “punching” at each control point) and DESCRIPTION SHEET (list of control numbers, codes and feature descriptions). You will also have to select a START TIME (always give yourself about half an hour to get organized!). Write your name/s legibly in the spaces provided on your Control Card. TIP: use first name and surname – NOT initials. Make your way to the start at least ten minutes before your official start time and hand in the Control Card Stub to the Start Official. Wait to be called to start. On the “Go”, unless pre-marked maps are provided, you will need to copy your course onto your own map from a master map located near the start. Then off you go, navigating your way to the first control, and so around the course.

Can someone teach me?
Yes! At most events there is someone there to help newcomers. Clubs often have formal or informal training arrangements or courses. More experienced orienteers are also more than willing to help others progress in the sport of orienteering. All you need to do is ask!