Thabang Buthelezi
2 minute read
20 Jun 2017
1:51 pm

EpicHikes: No better way to be healthy than curiosity about what’s out there

Thabang Buthelezi

Stepping out in the world.


Sunday mornings are usually a time of rest for the average Joe. Some prefer to spend it at church, with family, or outdoors exploring South Africa’s hidden gems on foot.

Last Sunday, a group of fitness buddies gathered at Witpoortjie, outside Roodepoort, for EpicHike’s Cycle to Hike. About 40 people cycled from Witpoortjie to the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens in Poortview, Roodepoort, where they hiked for 4km. EpicHikes is an outdoor hiking club founded in 2015 by Lesego Mapeka and Bogosing Modise.

“EpicHikes was born from the passion for the outdoors and the adventures of exploring them,” said Mapeka. “I used to work from 9 to 5 in 2015,” he said.

“My line of work required me to travel to Cape Town quite often. The Western Cape boasts exquisite mountains and terrain and the sun sets late that side, so I started hiking after work as a hobby.” The lifestyle and scenery of the Western Cape ignited Mapeka’s love for hiking and the outdoors, which then sparked the idea to start a hiking movement in Joburg.

“The vision for EpicHikes is to introduce hiking to a lot more people, especially the black community,” he said.

“We want to put ourselves in the forefront of living healthily. We want to get to a point where hiking is top of mind when people are thinking health,” he said.

“We want people to incorporate hiking into their lifestyle. It exposes you to travel and exploring nature, whereas gym doesn’t expose you to much, if anything,” Mapeka said.

“Our goal is to spread the excitement of outdoor adventure, whether just down the road or across the globe, by inspiring people to discover, explore and share their favourite activities and play – grounds.

“With hiking, we want to take people out of their comfort zones, we want to make people travel, and we want people to explore. South Africa is one of the most beautiful places in the world.”

During his travels, Mapeka made numerous observations and discovered that South Africa has some of the best mountains – Table Mountain, for instance.

Cycle to Hike came after Mapeka and his team learnt the impor – tance of collaboration in business: as the closest movement to hiking, cycling became the obvious collaboration of choice for them. “There are bicycle lanes on the road, which evidently shows that cycling is being taken seriously.

“We wanted to be a part of that and that’s how Cycle to Hike came about. We wanted to bring the cycling and hiking communities together.”

The main point of the event was to get people who are already cyclers to get into hiking. For them, it’s all about making fitness fun and an experience, and it sure was an experience. They might even have a “Running to Hike” event, also to promote fitness and hiking, Mapeka said.


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