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Hiking Essentials for Beginners

Hiking is an adventurous and liberating outdoor activity that lets you test your own strengths and weaknesses. It’s a great way of exploring and discovering new places, and also helps improve your health if done regularly. 

If you’re a beginner, the following tips will help you get started!

Choosing the Right Trail

The first step toward a successful hike is to choose a suitable hiking trail. Make sure you research about the length and elevation gain of your trail. The elevation gain is the sum of all the uphill parts of your hike. The greater the elevation gain and the longer the trail, the harder your hike will be. If you’re a beginner, choose a hike with a low elevation gain. 

Research about your trail by asking fellow hikers. Join groups on social media that provide more information about the particular area you’re going to cover. 

Make sure you keep weather conditions in mind too. For example, a simple hiking trail in summer can be a huge challenge in winter or during the rainy season because the trail can get very slippery if it snows or rains. It’s best to start hiking in summer. 


Training for your Hike

Training for your hike will make your journey a lot easier. Here are some ways to train for your hike:

  • Walking and running. The best way to train yourself is to practice walking and running. Increase the distance and try incorporating elevation. This is best done on a treadmill but you can also walk by to a nearby hill and practice every day. 
  • Core strength training. Building your core muscles will help you balance yourself during your hike. Moreover, strength training also makes it easier for you to carry your hiking backpack. 
  • Stretching. Improving your flexibility significantly helps you balance yourself. It can make the challenging parts of your trail easier to hike through. 


Essential Items to Pack for a Hike

Here are some of the most important items to pack for a hike:

  • Sunscreen
  • Flashlight/Torch
  • First aid kit
  • Snacks that give you instant energy, like granola bars
  • Plenty of water
  • Extra pair of socks 
  • Mosquito repellant
  • A sturdy hiking backpack

Make sure you wear appropriate clothing according to the weather conditions.


Wildlife Safety While Hiking

Hiking in East Africa is always accompanied by plenty of wildlife sightings. As interesting as it is to encounter wildlife on your hiking trail, it’s important to make sure that you maintain a safe distance at all times. Here are some wildlife safety tips:

  • Make some noise at all times. This could include a conversation or soft, low music. This usually helps animals stay away from the trail. 
  • If you do encounter an animal, don’t make any sudden movements that might make the animal feel attacked. Instead, back away slowly. 


Other Considerations

Here are some other tips that may help make your journey easier:

  • Find a hiking buddy – preferably someone who has already been on the trail. 
  • Purchase a local sim that works the best in the area so you can contact someone in case of an emergency.
  • Make sure you learn basic phrases of the local language so that you can easily communicate with the locals in case of an emergency. 


So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and have a safe and fun hike in East Africa! While you’re there, don’t forget to check out the 5 Best Things to do in Dodoma