In South Africa, there is no charge for rescue services. So we urge everyone not to hesitate to call for help rather then trying to ‘rescue themselves’ in order to avoid a hefty fee and become a casualty while doing so.


WSAR is a collective effort co-ordinated by the Emergency Medical Services in the Western Cape (EMS) that co-ordinates, manages and executes the search for, the medical treatment of and the rescue (or the recovery of mortal remains), of persons and/or patients whose health and/or safety is threatened or compromised in a Wilderness Environment (Mountains, Shorelines, Rivers, Kloofs, Non-mountainous wilderness areas, Caves, Deserts, Forests).

Primary Objective

To place appropriate Emergency Medical Care at the side of the patient as quickly as possible and once stabilized to rescue the patient with due consideration of their medical condition.

WSAR and its members aspire to provide, or to the best of their ability facilitate, the provision of the highest possible level of medical care deemed appropriate to a patient’s needs; adhere to the highest standards of medical ethics with respect to patient care, patient confidentiality and patient advocacy, as required by the medical profession and statutory law (HEALTH PROFESSIONS ACT, 1974); and to actively foster a spirit of Goodwill between all the members of WSAR.

It is constituted in terms of the HEALTH PROFESSIONS ACT, 1974 (ACT NO. 56 OF 1974) and the REGULATIONS DEFINING THE SCOPE of the PROFESSION OF EMERGENCY CARE (No. R48 of 25 January 2002)

WSAR Structure

As said above, WSAR is a joint venture between the provincial government of the Western Cape, represented by the Directorate of Emergency Medical Services (Metro EMS), and the member organisations. This is the structure in which we work together:

Each Organisation, state funded or volunteer, has a representative in the Management Advisory Committee (MAC) which decides on the future development of WSAR.

Memorandum Of Understanding

Basis of this working together is the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), a document that outlines aim, structure and process.

Download and read the full Memorandum of Understanding here:

wsar-memorandum-of-understand-15042008 (.pdf | 60 Kb)

Geographic areas

The Western Cape is divided into cells: Cape Peninsula (PEN), Winelands (WIN) and Eden District, each with their own duty raster and management.

ICARInternational Affilliation

WSAR is member of the International Commission for Alpine Rescue (ICAR)

Legal body

The trust is registered with SARS as a public benefit organisation under reference P. B.O. 930 028 737