Madeira is well known for its walking facilities, and we noticed that more and more visitors to Madeira are walking on their own by using various information they find in books. Unfortunately, books are published in large quantities and are not regular updated with changes due to landslides and maintenance issues. Secondly, these books are translated from 1 standard language. This is causing serious problems on Madeira. Continue reading “Self Guided walks”
It is easy to assume that exposure to excessive heat is a common problem here on Madeira. Cases of severe sunburn and/or heat exhaustion are not uncommon. Here are some tips you should consider to avoid the problems.
Food and Water
Maintaining your energy levels and avoiding dehydration or electrolyte depletion are crucial.
In high temperatures, do the minimum of walk that is necessary. Try to keep out of the sun during the hottest part of the day. Take regular breaks.
Use high protection skin creams on all exposed areas not forgetting under your chin, your lips and the tops of your ears. Do not forget to include sunglasses that block out both UVA and UVB and insect repellent to ward of those pesky midges.
Developments in fabric technology mean that there is clothing readily available that is breathable and will wick away moisture so that sweat evaporates more quickly.
Wear loose, lightweight, light colored clothing. Consider tops with long sleeves that can be rolled up and down.
Hats are also really important in the sun. Try to wear a hat made of a breathable fabric or one that has mesh vents. It is also worthwhile considering a hat that provides additional cover for the back of your neck and/or a visor.
Adjust your clothing as conditions change throughout the day – do not struggle uphill wearing waterproof clothing when that shower has stopped.
Backpacks or Rucksacks
It may seem obvious but carefully check the amount of gear that you are taking – take the minimum without compromising your safety.
Five pathways closed. In less than a month, bad weather and landslides have forced the closure of five footpaths and levadas which are included in the official walking circuit of the serras of Madeira. The official ‘Turismo’ site alerts walkers to the closures and the Regional Director of Forestry acknowledges that the renovation of such extensively damaged areas will be expensive. Levada do Rei, Caldeirão Verde, Caminho Real da Encumeada, Levada da Fajã do Rodrigues and Caminho do Pináculo e Folhadal are the five closed footpaths. The worst affected is the Caminho Real da Encumeada, especially the section Boca da Corrida at Encumeada. Almost all the walking paths on the island have been damaged by the bad weather, the ones least affected are near the south coast and on Porto Santo. Before work can be undertaken, a survey will have to be carried out and a firm contracted.
Some walking routes in the island are in current undergoing maintenance to ensure the safety of walkers. Access to these routes may be limited or even not allowed so that these works can be concluded the soonest possible.
Madeira is a walking paradise for any “Nature- Lover”. To ensure that you enjoy your walk, we strongly recommend that you walk with Certified Mountain guide. Your safety is paramount and to ensure that you receive the best possible service available on Madeira, we only employ local guides who are in possession of a Madeira Mountain Guide Certificate.
For obvious reasons, safety starts before the walk and it is crucial that everyone is prepared for the challenge what is waiting for them. Walking the Levadas of Madeira or any other Nature walk brings its challenges and therefore we advice that every walker is wearing layered clothing (what is easy to remove) and has water proofs with them. Other requirements are: sun protection and water (if possible a torch).
The highly trained mountain guides studied for 1 year, coffering everything in relation to walking on Madeira. This combination of responsibilities from both parties and Madeira’s walking facilities will give you a pleasant and relaxed walking experience.
Unfortunately, over the years more and more people have entered the walking industry, pretending to be a guide. These illegal “guides” are putting walkers life’s at risk, and are unable to supply the service, information and safety.
This situation has caused great concerns on Madeira and due to this there is an increase of accidents. To ensure that your guide is qualified with what he/she is doing we advise you to ask your guide to show you their license. Certified guides are proud with their profession and with their commitment to follow the very intensive guiding course.
Over the last few years we have seen more and more walking groups visiting Madeira. As walking lovers, we are very excited showing everyone this beautiful island. However some of these groups are bringing their own walking-leader who has no (Madeira) experience nor are qualified to guide. This is not only illegal according to the Portuguese law, it´s also very dangerous.
Please follow the next safety precautions when you are planning to take a Levada walk here on Madeira:
- When taking a Levada walk for the first time we urge you do that in company of a qualified guide;
- Prepare yourself and collect all the updated information about the route you are planning to follow;
- Calculate the total time you will be spending on that route (so that you will finish the walk before dark);
- Inform the hotel your staying or any other reliable person about the route that you plan to do and the expected time of arrival;
- Do not change the course of your planned route;
- Always take something to eat and drink (such as canned fruit juices, chocolate, dried fruits etc.);
- Take extra plastic bags to put in leftovers or rubbish when you do a stop to eat/drink;
- Important that you always carry an electric torch with spare batteries;
- Take your own mobile phone, even if your operating network doesn’t exist in here. You can always call the emergency number 112 and it will search for an alternative net;
- In case of a interruption during a course (falling rocks, heavy rain or strong winds) go back to the starting point following same trail;
- By all means do not take risks;
- Take a whistle with you and wear suitable clothes and walking boots/shoes with good grip;
- In case of any accident call immediately 112 and if you cannot get through, walk on the same course and keep trying again until you get a connection;
- Stay calm and inform what, when and where the accident has happened, also the number of people involved and the status of the victims;
- The more information you transmit, the better and more efficient help will be provided.
Important phone numbers (program these into your mobile phone):
Madeira Civil Protection – (+351) 291 700 112
Emergency Number – 112