Teboho Mahlaba has combined his years of experience in the tourism industry with his love for nature to create a platform for locals to explore and learn about nature.
The entrepreneur went from walking alone to establishing the Bloem Social Hiking Club in 2020 in response to the panic that surrounded gyms during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“People were afraid to go gyms,” he explains.
With hopes of encouraging people to get out and appreciate the beauty of nature, Teboho has gained more than he bargained for with the Club.
“A lot of people who joined said that hiking helped them conquer their fears. They feared heights, feared nature, and they had a fear of getting close to antelopes and some of the animals we find in the veld. They became friends with nature,” he adds.
The benefits of hiking include improved mental and physical strength. For Teboho, peace of mind is something that running does not offer, but which hiking does.
“When you run you concentrate on the road or the cars around you, and you need a lot of physical strength. With hiking you need your mental strength because you can walk a longer distance uphill and downhills without it being strenuous on your body,” he says.
Teboho says the Social Club is open to anybody. There is also no need for expensive hiking gear and clothes, as long as you are comfortable.
“The most important thing is shoes. It would help if you had proper shoes. We do five to ten kilometres depending on the trail. Yes, it is true, hiking equipment is expensive. Come as you are and once you enjoy being on hiking trails we advise on the type of shoes or socks you need to buy.”
Teboho says he carefully selects the hiking trails before the Club members embark on them. The Club recently had a Winter Camp at Engedi Retreat outside Ladybrand.
If you are interested in joining the Bloem Social Hiking Club, contact Teboho at 081 810 3485 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow the Club on Instagram at tjmahlaba.