Hiking events

Rapid Rise of Hiking in the Kingdom of the Mountains – CAJ News Africa

from THABISO MAHLOKOHLA in Maseru, Lesotho
Lesotho Office
MASERU- HIKING, among the most sought after outdoor activities in Lesotho, is fast becoming a tourist attraction in the country.

The activity showed potential for industry growth in a nation aptly named the Mountain Kingdom.

For this reason, the government has approved the hike.

It is estimated that more than 20 trekking clubs are active in the country, each with more than a dozen members who take on grueling treks and climbs over the rugged terrain and scenic highlands of Lesotho.

The Earth-lovers hiking club is one of the most successful and established clubs.

It currently has about 40 registered members, although the number of participants tends to increase during a trek.

The club has just organized a successful three-day hiking expedition in the rugged mountains surrounding Ribaneng Falls in the western district of Mafeteng.

Liteboho ‘Fresh’ Leketa, president of Earth Lovers, said the annual hike has attracted more than 200 participants. About 70 of them came from neighboring South Africa.

Leketa said the response has been overwhelming, resulting in more requests to join and participate in club activities.

He said the contribution of trekking to the growth of tourism in Lesotho was on the rise as more clubs and activities were added.

Bodies such as the Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Culture and the Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation have endorsed the activity.

“Hiking is an outdoor activity that exposes well to the outside world where civilization is ground zero, Leketa said.

“It is through hiking that we are exposed to the wonders of nature. It is here that we are most likely to experience creation at its finest.”

“Tourism also has a big playground in hiking when you are in the middle of nature. It exposes us in the same way to the same environment as hiking,” the official added.

Lesotho, being a mountainous country, has a tourist advantage.

This mountainous terrain offers features such as natural bodies of water and waterfalls.

“Through hiking, we have the benefit of getting closer to such scenic beauty and naturally attractive places that in most cases have historical value and significance,” Leketa said.

The country has paintings of bushmen in intact cave dwellings. There are also uncharted territories of historical features such as dinosaur footprints.

“Hikers from abroad can come and visit Lesotho through our invitation,” Leketa said.

“It goes without saying that the places visited are well marketed so call for a second visit with a larger group next time.”

The most popular places for hiking and tourism hotspots in Lesotho include Lion Rock, Lefika-la-Raboshabane, Soloane Hot Springs and Kome Caves.

Leketa says that although the club was only registered in 2018, the idea started in 2014.

“The idea to form a club came from two young women who attended all the events organized by T-Connections,” he said.

The agency organizes the Moshoeshoe Walk to celebrate the birthday of the founder of the Basotho nation, King Moshoeshoe I.

It takes place every year from Menkhoaneng to Thaba Bosiu.

“The ladies then invited seven other people they met on the Moshoeshoe walk. Since then, the club has grown enormously until today,” Leketa continued.

An executive committee elected every two years administers the club.

The club is currently in a phase of transformation, moving from a society to a professional body.

Some of the club’s goals are to promote hiking, camping and mountaineering, weekend trips, vacations, and social functions like cancer awareness, career counseling in schools and rural villages.

It also aims to promote good health and exercise through outdoor activities, to contribute to the protection and conservation of the environment, and to cultivate and maintain a love of nature and life. outside.

“Our slogan is: ‘Qhazability Club or your club of choice’,” Leketa said.

“We are doing this because we want a professionally run club that people outside, not only in Lesotho, but also those in South Africa and other countries can look up to.”

Activities planned for the rest of the year include: Let’seng-la-Letsie Camping Adventure, Quthing in April and Make a Difference Day at Butha Buthe in June.

There is also the Cape Town City Tour in October and the end of year function in December.

Earth-lovers Make-a-Difference Day is hailed as the most important of events.

“On that day, we will distribute goods to needy people in this district,” Leketa explained.

“It’s our way of appreciating how the community takes care of us while hiking. We also work with community leaders and chiefs during our trekking activities and sometimes we are fed and housed by community members.

As well as being a tourist attraction, experts claim that hiking contributes to health and well-being.

– CAJ News