Geocaching 101: real-life treasure hunting

Date:28 October 2019 Author: Leila Stein Tags:

Geocaching is the worldwide, real-time treasure hunt. All you need is a smartphone and a taste for adventure and you can get on your way searching for the geocaches hidden all over your city.

What is a geocache?

A geocache is a container that is hidden with at least a book and a pencil inside. The geocacher who hid the container registers it on the geocaching app, using GPS, so that other treasure hunters can try and find it. When clicking on the registered geocache, others wanting to hunt for it are given a description with clues on how to find it, and a general idea of where it’s location is and have to click “navigate” to get to where they want to go. They are also given information on how difficult the terrain is and the size of the cache.

What’s in the cache?

Besides for being a container, caches usually include a logbook, some writing equipment and possibly swag or trackables. The idea behind swag is that if you find a cache with something in it, you can take what you like but you must replace it with something of equal value. A trackable is an object that has been registered in the geocahcing website. These have a goal location and a log number. If you look them up you can see where they are trying to get to and then help them on their way by depositing them in another cache.

How do I know it’s a cache?

That’s all the fun! The GPS and hints on the app will give you an idea of where to go but it’s up to you to find the hidden boxes. Some boxes are straightforward to open when you find them but others include a puzzle to solve and require a bit more effort. There are also all different kinds of caches, to learn about and try your luck and finding.

Know some of the terms

Geocahers have terms for almost everything but here are a few to get your started before looking at the full glossary. “Muggles” refers to non-geocachers that could be confused to see you rummaging around in the bush or staring intently at a possible statue hideout. “Geo-art” is when caches are placed in a way so that when looked at on the map they create a picture. “Geosense” is a silent intuition that tells your subconscious where the cache is located. “NIAH” or needle in a haystack is a small cache placed in an area where there are many hiding locations.

Where can I find geocaches in South Africa?

Everywhere! Just open up the app and you will immediately see how the neighbourhoods you walk around in every day is full of little hidden caches. While not always as advanced as some of the others overseas, South Africa has a lively geocaching community to get involved in.

So if you’re feeling inspired, get out there and start hunting, it’s a great way to get out doors and flex your problem solving muscles at the same time.

Image: Pixabay


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