How to switch off in nature and recover from the stress of daily life with a short hike on your next great escape

by Forever Resorts South Africa on 1 September 2020

After being confined to our homes for the past few months, many of us have been longing for the great outdoors, the Great Escape.

With the announcement of lockdown level two, many are excited to travel to their favourite holiday destinations again. Hiking is a great outdoor activity that has many benefits, but it can seem overwhelming to first-time hikers and beginners. Nols van der Berg, General Manager at Forever Swadini gave us some insights into the world of hiking, from benefits to preparations and even some practical essentials ideal for the beginner.

As mentioned, hiking has a substantial amount of mental and physical benefits. Some of these benefits include:

  • Great cardio workout.
  • Boost's your overall state of mind and mood.
  • A variety of health benefits.
  • Can be a bonding experience when going with a friend, relative or spouse.
  • Gives you a break from Zoom Meetings, Conference Calls and emails.
  • Budget-friendly and affordable.
  • An activity the whole family can enjoy and participate in, young and old.

All hikes, even short hikes require some planning and preparation to ensure you are prepared for your adventure. Some worthy of mentioning are:

  • Sunblock, sunglasses and a hat are very important to protect you from the harmful sun rays. Ensure you have enough sunblock and use as required.
  • Hydration is our second essential must-have. Ensure you have enough water to accompany you on the hike. Avoid drinking alcohol before and during a hike as this does cause dehydration.
  • Pack a nutritious snack to eat along the way, especially if you are going to hike for a few hours.
  • Comfort is key, make sure when you're hiking that your hiking shoes are comfortable, have already been worn in and have a good grip.
  • Make sure your cell phone is charged before you depart, if possible also take a battery bank along. Not only will this come in handy to capture moments during your adventure, but it can also help you in case of emergency.
  • Memorise or save emergency numbers such as the numbers at the place you are hiking, local emergency services and ICE contacts.
  • Plan and stay on your route. Some places may have more than one hiking route with more than one destination or based on the different levels of experience. Make sure you have a map to carefully plot your route to ensure you don't get lost, and give yourself enough time to enjoy the hike but also complete it before dusk. When choosing a hiking route, carefully select the route best suited to your fitness level.
  • A compass can come in handy; you can even download one on your phone to help you navigate in case you venture off the designated trail.
  • Always let someone know about your hiking plans, even if you're not going alone. Let them know where you're going, what your route is and how long you're planning to be out for. Especially when you're hiking in secluded areas without cell phone signal.
  • Read the reviews and what people have said about the trail you would like to explore. Sometimes these reviews will tell you when is the best time to catch the perfect sunrise or most scenic lookout point.
  • Check the weather before and on the day of your hike. Weather can be unpredictable on any given day, but no one is looking forward to getting drenched or getting heatstroke.
  • Take a good backpack along with you. You can keep your sunblock, water, snacks, cell phone, first aid kit, bag for your rubbish (hiking trails don't always have dustbins available on the routes) and other items with you, just be careful not to pack too many items in as a heavy backpack can hurt your neck and back on a long hike. So keep it to the basics and essentials.

"Hikes are a great way to recover from life's daily stress and take a necessary break from our busy schedules. We are blessed with some of the most scenic destinations in our country and we have beautiful hiking trails for both the beginner and advanced hikers. At Swadini we are in the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve with six hiking trails, and about an hour away, we have Forever Blyde Canyon which has four hiking trails so we see hikers both locally and internationally coming to enjoy the scenic routes and breath-taking lookout points. Hiking trails can also have some exquisite beauty that hasn't been seen before. Just last year we had a group of hikers find an undocumented specie of Dragonfly", said van der Berg.

So there you have it, we are blessed with a magnificent country for us to explore, it's time to plan your next hiking adventure.

For more information about the ample hiking opportunities in and around Forever Swadini, contact them today on +27 (0)15-795 5141 or +27 (0)76 634 1170 or send them an email on swadinires@foreversa.co.za. For information about the hiking opportunities in and around Forever Blyde, contact them on +27 (0)86-122 6966 or send them an email on blyde@foreversa.co.za

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