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Google Trekking with Drive South Africa - #TrekSouthAfrica

Help trek South Africa's trails

Find out how you can help put Mzansi's trails on Google Street View

About the Google Trekker project

Drive South Africa have partnered with the Google Maps Street View Camera Loan program to capture as many of South Africa’s top tourist attractions over the next six months. Our aim is to trek over 20 national parks, eight UNESCO World Heritage sites and many other famous highlights using Google’s wearable backpack, known as the Street View Trekker.

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Where will Google Trekker go?

National parks and reserves

We want to showcase the beauty and diversity of South Africa's national parks and reserves.

Cultural and historical sites

We'll visit South Africa's most popular cultural and historical sites.

Suggest a location

Do you have an idea of a location that we should trek? Tell us below!

Meet the Trekkers

Andre Van Kets
Drive South Africa's co-founder & initiator of the Google Trekker project, Andre is a tech geek with a passion for travel.
Grant Clarke
The ultimate Capetonian adventurer, Grant has led the majority of the Google Trekker hikes in Cape Town.
Devon Krantz
Always busy and always on an adventure, Devon is the project manager of the Google Trekker project.
Liam Kelly
Liam has an undeniable love for travel and inspiring travellers to visit South Africa by sharing stories through videography.
Justin Woods
A former psychology graduate and english tutor, Justin is a keen videographer who loves travel and adventure.
Alistair Daynes
Alistair is a Capetonian who enjoys adventure, conservation, wildlife and the ocean - with a passion for multi-day treks.
Jody Summers
Jody Summers
The lead Google Trekker, Jody is the founder of the Trailblazers Hiking Club in Cape Town.
Rudolph De Girardier
A photographer, writer, travel, lifestyle and adventure enthusiast, Rudolph is always up for a challenge.
Ntsika Daki
Ntsika is a local influencer in South Africa's hiking circles, currently working on an initiative called #‎HikingWithiDaki‬
Ivan Ayliffe
Ivan is a copywriter, hiker and skydiver. He hopes that Google will map out wing-suit exits and flights through tree-lined valleys.
Ivan Breetzke
After meeting us by the sea, Ivan decided to take on the mountains. He believes that life is about making relationships.
Roxanne Sibiliski
Hiking is Roxanne's passion. Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is one of her most challenging accomplishments.
Rendani Mudau
Rendani is a Bcom Tourism Management graduate. He enjoys outdoor activities and hanging out with friends.
Paul Kohlhaas
Paul is a entrepreneur from Switzerland who fell in love with South Africa. He has a passion for exploring the great outdoors.
Siphelo Guwa
Siphelo is a filmmaker, social activist and passionate hiker. Everyday experiences form his passion to tell stories.
Elzanne Wolfaardt
Elzanne believes in the ability of the outdoors to heal the soul and bring us back to who we are.
Barry Washlansky
Barry is a trail runner, hiker & mountain guide for over 15 years. He loves playing on Cape Town’s mountains.
Kyle Hodgson
Kyle is an intrepid explorer, adventurer and a trail runner. Also a member of Cape Town's TrailBlazers Hiking Club.
Ryle De Morny
Ryle is the co-founder of Evolv Concepts. Also a nature lover, lifeguard, athlete & member of the TrailBlazers Hiking Club.
Robin Barnes
Robin is a guy who loves to live life, through new experiences with like minded people in the outdoors.

How can you get involved?

Frequently asked questions

Who is Drive South Africa and how did they partner up with Google?

Drive South Africa is a travel company based in Cape Town, South Africa. We applied to loan the Google Street View camera at the end of 2015 and were given approval in early 2016.

What is Google Street View?

Google Street View gives users a “virtual tour” of an area (indoor and outdoor) using panoramic, 360­ degree photographs.

Most Street View data are collected via a car that has a camera system attached to it and takes pictures quickly as the car drives through public streets or areas.

Street View is primarily accessed as a feature in Google Maps, but is also available through other products and services including Google Search, Google Maps for Mobile and more.

How many South African outdoor attractions will be included?

So far, 22 volunteer trekkers have explored 33 trails across the Cape Peninsula, three urban trails and five beaches over the last six weeks.

Over 20 national parks, eight UNESCO World Heritage sites and many other famous highlights to be trekked over the next six months.

How are these outdoor tourist attractions being captured?

Each location will be captured via Google’s Street View Trekker, a wearable backpack with a camera system on top designed by Google. The Trekker is walked through pedestrian walkways or trails on foot, and automatically gathers images as it goes.

The backpack has 15 cameras and takes a full panoramic photo every 2.5 seconds, roughly one photo per step taken by the person wearing the camera. Software stitches the images together to create one image.

How can I contribute to the Google Trekker project?

There are many ways that you can help us bring South Africa to the world. We are looking for local communities, tour guides, hiking groups and individuals passionate about their hometown to share their favourite locations with us. Sign up here and we’ll get in touch with you.

What will be excluded from the Google Street View imagery?

Google’s Street View software uses a tool called ‘ground fill’ which generates an artificial floor for any Street View, eliminating the possibility of the volunteer trekkers being included in the shots.

In addition, Google’s automatic face­ and license plate­-blurring technology will be applied to the images collected on this trip by the Trekker, just as it is with all other Street View imagery.

How long will the Street View Trekker backpack battery last?

The Trekker battery can last around 6­-8 hours on a full charge.

How much does the Street View Trekker backpack weigh?

The Trekker weighs approximately 18 kg, and is the size of a large hiking backpack. It’s about one metre in height when set on the ground, and when worn, the camera system extends about a half metre above the operator’s shoulders.

When can I access the trails being covered?

It will be a few months before the photos are stitched together and become available on Google Maps.

Get in touch with us.

Looking for something or have destination suggestions? Tell us about it!

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Keep me posted

It takes a few months from trekking to publishing on Google Maps. Subscribe to be notified when new South Africa treks are added to Google Maps and Google Streetview.