When you visit Matobo Hills Lodge, one of the more rugged activities in store for you is hiking the hills. There are many reasons why hiking is good for you. It isn’t just about the view, the sweet smell of nature, the sounds of its inhabitants or the company of creatures large and small such as dassies or Klipspringers. Hiking also has several health benefits. According to Gregory Miller, former President of the American Hiking Society, “hiking has a positive impact on combating the symptoms of stress and anxiety”.
The following hiking tips will help you ensure you make the most out of this adventurous exercise.
1. Hike with others,
…especially if you’re new to the world of hiking. The Matobo Hills can be dangerous and there is safety in numbers. Travelling with experienced hikers will help prevent getting lost or taking wrong or too difficult routes.
2. We can’t stress this enough;
drink as much water as you can. This is also important especially when the weather is hot. This will help you avoid dizziness or any other physical distresses from difficulties climbing the rough granite hills.
3. Depending on how long the hike is,
take some nutritious snacks with you. Dried fruit, nuts, energy bars and a sandwich should do the trick.
4. The sun’s rays can penetrate all skin types so,
…no, having dark skin does not exempt anyone from applying sunscreen. You need to protect your skin from the damaging ultraviolet rays. You might also want to bring a hat and good pair of sunglasses.
5. LET SOMEONE KNOW WHERE YOU’RE GOING.
Carrying a whistle and head light might also come in handy in case you need to use it. It might seem like unnecessary work but let someone know where you’re going, the routes you plan to take, where you’ve parked your car or bicycle (if you have one), and when you plan to be back.
6. Carry your (fully charged) phone with you.
Hopefully, there won’t be any network disruptions so you’re able to reach anyone if the need arises. Besides, you may want to snap an image and post it on Facebook so everyone else knows what you’re up to.
Oh and remember the point about four-legged company? Make sure that you don’t startle these animals with any noise from your camera shutter. Besides, scaring them away is the least dangerous thing that could happen.
7. Wear comfortable clothing.
This means avoid any clothing that is too tight especially around the waist or your legs. You need to be able to move your body with ease.
Also, don’t forget that wearing cotton when hiking is not always such a good idea. When you start sweating, the fabric no longer traps warm air near your skin. The air spaces would have filled up with your sweat which, besides making you cold, also makes it a bit heavier. Always go for fabrics that can breathe, regulate your temperature and do not retain any moisture.
8. Another great hiking tip is to wear comfortable shoes.
Make sure your hiking shoes fit perfectly and do not hurt. If you decide to wear boots, make sure to wear a pair of thin cotton socks which will absorb your sweat. You may also want to wear a thicker pair of socks which you can pull right up to your ankles. Layering will help prevent any blisters.
As a rule of thumb, your hiking boots ought to be comfortable everywhere and tight nowhere. If they are new, you may need to break them so that the leather softens and allow you to wiggle your toes and walk in them comfortably. This article has some helpful tips on how to break your boots.
9. Pay attention to the weather.
Before you leave your house or lodge, check the weather conditions. You need to remain mindful of any changes in the conditions during your hike. This will help you know whether to continue with your hike or make a U-turn.
OK. So, this last tip is much harder to implement than the nine we’ve already mentioned. Still, it’s worth considering, so it gets a half.