Africa-Press – Botswana. Parents have been advised to encourage their children to partake in hiking expeditions.

The move, it is said could encourage them to conquer their fears and learn to depend on their will power.

This was said by former University of Cape Town Vice Chancellor and chief walker of the 25km Bikwe hike, Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng on Saturday.

“They will learn to never give up in life and when they are faced with life challenges, they will understand that they have to fight until they overcome them,” she said.

She highlighted that hiking taught people to conquer their fears and test their will power, adding that it also taught people to work hard in order to achieve their dreams.

Prof. Phakeng also said hiking promoted good health adding that her participation in hiking was propelled by her love for keeping fit.

“Hiking keeps me fit, mentally and physically; it helps in the fight against NCDs.

I have climbed a lot of hills such as Kilimanjaro and I climb Table Mountain every week,” she added.

She further pointed out that hiking also gave people the opportunity to learn about the history of different tribes who lived in areas where trails passed through, adding that she had learnt a lot about how the Xhosa tribe came to settle in Bikwe.

With hiking, she said people interacted with nature, which was vital in life, adding that it was not about finishing first but about experiencing nature.

Bikwe Hike’s marketing consultant, Tiro Kganela said the hike celebrated Bikwe area’s natural beauty, which most Batswana were not aware of.

“We are therefore here to introduce hiking to harness the opportunities in this beautiful area,” he said.

He said the event also brought opportunities for Bikwe such as growth for the local economy, since residents sold various products to hikers.

Kganela highlighted that there was an opportunity for some hikers to invest in the area, as some had already shown interest in buying land in Bikwe.

“Those investing here would obviously be bringing developments to the area and creating employment,” he said.

Hosting the event here, he said also promoted tourism, noting that most hikers loved the landscape, including rainforest, hills and caves and they were most likely to come back.

He said Botswana Tourism Organisation personnel were impressed and promised to find ways of promoting tourism in the area.

Kgosi Nkosiyabo Mnqibisa of Bikwe explained that he was happy to have hosted such a large number of people, adding that it would attract developments to the village.

He urged residents to attend such events and network in an effort to solicit for partnerships in different ventures to better their lives and eventually contribute to the local economy.

“I am hopeful that the organisers would continue hosting this event here as it has the potential to positively change lives,” he added.

The first edition of Bikwe Hike had attracted over 250 hikers from around the world, some from Zambia, Ghana, Netherlands and South Africa and two hundred hikers to arrive first were awarded gold medals.

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