By Emily Setona
GOLDENGATE – Maoto Mpepe hiking club celebrated their heritage weekend with a theme of creating awareness about climate change through taking a couple of moderate to extreme hiking trails through the Golden Gate Highlands national park.
Eighty six year old Olga Motlharo from the North West is a living testimony that change is the one true constant and if you set your mind to it you can achieve great milestones. “I began hiking at the age of 83 because of health reasons and have since done the 30km bush walk in Botswana and Moshoeshoe walk in Lesotho. I am here today because I love hiking,” Motlharo said. Fellow hikers from Limpopo Lehlogonolo Kgaabi and Shuffle Sello both did the 14Peaks hike which is an extreme hiking trail that led them from the tented camp in Glen Reenen rest camp to the Border post of Lesotho in Monontsha village. “The 14Peaks is a very difficult hike that wants you to be mentally prepared for it, what was wonderful about it is that you could see Lesotho on the others side of the fence, one foot could be in South Africa and the other foot in Lesotho. This was an extreme but amazing hike,” Kgaabi said.
Thabo Maretlane the organizer of the Moshoeshoe walk came to give the Maoto Mpepe hiking club his moral support, “My fellow hikers from Lesotho couldn’t be here because we are preparing for our elections, but I am here as a courtesy call towards the hiking club that always supports my annual Moshoeshoe walk,” Maretlne said.
Tour guide Thabo Mokoena when speaking to The Guard said that this hiking group really impressed him because they are physically fit and a wonderful team for him to work with; “We didn’t experience any medical emergencies, with climate change being the theme for this heritage weekend hike, and nobody was negatively impacted by the weather. No heat strokes or negative reactions to changes in the weather throughout the entire weekend,” Mokoena said.
“Planning an event of this magnitude is not very easy but to see our hikers enjoying themselves and unwinding in nature makes it all worthwhile for us as Maoto Mpepe Hiking club,” Pakiso Makatla said. As part of celebrating heritage day, a poitjie kos competition was hosted and participating teams won a few wonderful prices that will enhance their hiking experience.