By Thandiwe Kubere

MASERU – Something that some may regard just as “long walking and climbing mountains” hold greats value and is essential for a healthy life. In search of knowing how, Earth Lovers Hiking Club filled us in on the benefits of Hiking and their coming trail of Bela Bela to Mahobong which will take place on July 1st, 2023.

People engage in sports for different reasons- be it for entertainment, good health, and fitness. And just as other forms of exercise, hiking comes with heart health benefits. The Club’s Corporate communication officer, Liteboho Leketa deliberates that Hiking; lowers  and sterilizes blood pressure, tackles obesity, reduces anxiety and depression, improves sleeping patterns, helps build strong muscles and bones in order to alleviate the  rate of arthritis. “Personally, going to mountain tops is a very good space to breathe, introspect, find oneself and get refreshed as well. 

When people move from one place to another in a form of hiking, it already relies a message that there are some advantages attached to it. “When one goes to a certain place to explore and connect with nature, it means they are not just a hiker but a tourist as well.” This means that people are able to capture grand memories and inspire people to tour and see the beauty of the mountain kingdom which in turn becomes a marketing strategy and boosts the economy of the country. It further encourages good health because fruits and healthy meals are eaten along the way. Another good that comes with hiking is that it gives an opportunity for people to meet and form relationships and network especially now when people have busy schedules and do not frequently go out. “It is also a very good platform for making business transactions and sharing contacts because people of high caliber in different fields go hiking. It is basically a great place for socializing and relieving stress”, he said.

Mr. Leketa emphasized that for a person who has never engaged in hiking, it is important to have the right equipment for it to be enjoyable. The essentials include a hiking backpack pack, hiking shoes and stick, hydration bladder, buff and gaiters- which serve as protection from snakes, and pricking plants. 

In terms of safety, since the sport sometimes comes across as risky, the club takes responsibility to have incentives as a way of protecting lives as well as to guide hikers on the right equipment. “We are very cautious, especially to women and we make sure that everything goes well in order to safeguard lives”.   

When the Moshoeshoe walk began in 2007, people got more into the idea of hiking. The vice PRO of Earth Lovers Hiking Club, Mpeke Matsoi, explains the love for hiking and the establishment of the club came when a group of people who had just come from the Moshoeshoe walk in 2014 went to South Africa. They received a warm welcome and were asked which entity they belong to and that is when they got inspired to form a club which they called Earth Lovers Hiking club since. He further elaborated that personally, he loved hiking even before he knew it was a sport because to him it was a form of meditation since he loves exploring nature, this is why it was easy to join the club.

“I love hiking because it gives a person an opportunity to be in a place where they would not normally or regularly get a chance to be. We go to places which vehicles do not reach and find places which are still naturally reserved with wild animals and plants because they are less disturbed by human interactions, developments and pollution.” Mr. Matsoi declared hiking offers peace of mind and helps in avoiding regular challenges such that a person becomes free and feels renewed.

He explained that hiking with the club is normally for free and after engaging in a number of trails, it is then that an individual can decide to be a member. Concerning the coming hiking event of Bela Bela and its demand, people are likely to show up in large numbers.