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Play hi-tech hide and seek

GeoCaching, an adventurous game that has millions of gadget nuts around the world hooked, is taking off in South Africa. In the coming Easter holiday season, this “new age treasure hunt”” will be taking place in and around Cullinan in Dinokeng, near Pretoria.

GeoCaching is an adventurous game that has millions of gadget nuts around the world hooked, and it is taking off in South Africa.

All you need is a GPS (global positioning system) unit, an electronic device that can determine your location within 6 to 20 feet anywhere on the planet, and you’re ready to go and find your Easter surprise – which may turn out to be quite valuable.

A GeoCache stash in the wild

Some 38 “”caches”” (treasures) were hidden in and around Cullinan in preparation for a throng of treasure-hunters who attended a GeoCaching competition in South Africa on 1 March 2008. The event formed part of an event called ‚The Neighbour of Leap Year’s Day‚ , held at the Sir Thomas Cullinan restaurant.

Renier Gertzen of GeoCaching says the treasures were hidden here to acquaint visitors with this quaint tourist destination. These caches will be in the area for months to come, so treasure hunters can try their luck throughout the Easter holidays and well beyond.

Renier Gertzen … bringing GeoCaching to SA

The protocol in GeoCaching is that, after a cache has been found, the person who found it signs a special logbook. The logbook contains information about the founder of the cache and notes from everyone who has found the cache. The cache usually includes information about nearby attractions, co-ordinates to other caches and even a joke or two.

Larger caches may consist of a waterproof plastic bucket holding any number of items, valuable or not so valuable. These include maps, books, software, hardware, CD’s, videos, pictures, money, jewellery, tickets, antiques, tools and games. If you take something from a cache, you should always leave something for the next finder, says Gertzen. But the rules are strict: no knives, drugs, alcohol or food. You then hide the cache again, leaving it ready for the next successful hunter.

What is Geocaching?

The basic idea is to have individuals and organisations set up caches all over the world and share the locations of these caches on the internet. GPS users then use the location coordinates to find the caches. Once found, a cache may provide the finder with a wide variety of rewards. All that participants are asked to do if they find a cache and remove something from it, is to replace it with their own offering for future explorers. Remember: no knives, drugs, alcohol or food.

Where are caches found?

A cache located on the side of a rocky cliff accessible only by rock climbing equipment may be hard to find. An underwater cache may only be accessed by scuba. Other caches may require long difficult hiking, orienteering, and special equipment to get to.

Caches may be located in cities both above and below ground, inside and outside buildings. Finding a skillfully hidden small logbook in an urban environment may prove quite challenging, even with the accuracy of a GPS. That little logbook could contain clues or riddles to solve that may lead to other caches. If you get into geocaching, just hope that the person that found the cache just before you left something very worthwhile!

What are the basic rules?

1. Take something from the cache

2. Leave something in the cache

3. Write about it in the logbook

4. Where you place a cache is up to you.

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