Geocaching takes Belgians down the hidden path

Geocaching takes Belgians down the hidden path
Credit: Natuurpunt

Looking for something different to pass the time during the summer holiday? Why not try geocaching, the digital treasure hunt that utilises your GPS system and smart devices?

The concept, which came to Belgium from the United States around 20 years ago, is a simple one: by following GPS coordinates, the 'geocacher' is led on a hunt to find hidden rewards and clues to bigger and more extensive searches. Geocaching is composed of "geo," for the geographical aspect, and "caching," for the action of hiding something. It has grown into a global phenomenon since its inception in 2000 and now boasts a large community of players from all over the world.

To play, you just have to bring a mobile GPS which you can easily carry as you will be following the course on foot. You must then register on the geocaching.com website. You will find the list of around two million available caches scattered around the world. Finally, choose the city you are in and decide on a treasure to look for. For each cache, there is a card with a description of the surroundings and the GPS coordinates of the place where the treasure chest is located.

Discovering Belgium

There are many courses in Belgium which can be found via the main site or through local sources such as geowallons.be. Some, like the cache in Picardy, Wallonia, are specifically set up with children in mind. Five caches have been installed by the Maison du Tourisme de la Wallonie Picarde, so there is something there for everyone.

The gemotions.be platform also offers a series of treasure hunts that range from "Most beautiful villages of Wallonia" to "Arlon, cobblestones of memory" and "Mons and its Doudou." It's an exciting and innovative way to discover a region or a city.

There are also thousands of caches in the Belgian Ardennes, as well as the French and Luxembourg Ardennes. With its beautiful surroundings and often rugged landscapes, the Ardennes makes for a challenging and exciting area for caches.

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There are also many new digital spaces in museums as well as outdoors with access to augmented reality through a screen to reconstruct historical scenery that has long since disappeared. At the Abbey of Villers-la-Ville, take out your smartphone and scan the QR codes available on the course. The QR code links to the platform on which you can find all manner of information in the form of text, photos, videos and even podcasts.

Even if you don’t have the most up-to-date technology, there are still ways to use your phone to enhance a trip out. At the Parc du Château d'Enghien, you can take part in a treasure hunt through the gardens of yesteryear by following clues sent to you by SMS. This offer provides both young and old with a playful, fun and interactive immersion in the past.


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