Introducing Lesego Mapeka: A Trailblazer and Innovator in Wellness

by | Apr 25, 2023 | Life

Lesego Mapeka founded Epic Hikes, a business focused on conscious and transformative hiking experiences in Africa. 

His journey began when he found himself stressed and at risk of depression, and he discovered that hiking and being outdoors helped him cope. He soon started hiking every weekend and during the week, seeking out hidden gems and meeting like-minded individuals on the trails. This led him to organise weekend getaways with friends and, eventually, organically… Epic Hikes was born. 

“There’s a misconception that ‘the best views, sunsets, sunrises, the best nature experiences and outdoor connections are only displayed on an HD screen or when guided around an alluring island by a costly tour guide.’ Or that ‘the most meaningful lessons one can ever learn take place in the classroom.’ At Epic Hikes, we strive to prove the opposite by curating outdoor, connective experiences with limited expenses and confinements while getting people to escape their comfort zones, achieve their health goals and elevate their mental health,” says Lesego.

Epic Hikes is unique because it focuses on making guests connect with themselves, others, and nature in a mindful and meaningful way. The hikes have been described as a safe space where people from all walks of life can find a space between an exhale and inhale, gazing at a vista or looking inwards for a brief and quiet moment in nature.

In this Men’s Health exclusive, the entrepreneur reveals what the words “Your Fittest Year Ever” mean to him, he opens up about his mental well-being and how you can be a part of Epic Hikes. 

READ MORE: Start Your Wellness Journey and Improve Your Lifestyle

Men’s Health: Our core theme for the year is living “Your Fittest Year Ever” What do those mean to you looking at Epic Hikes and what have you achieved so far?

Living your fittest year ever is about pushing yourself to new heights, both physically and mentally. And what better way to do that than by embarking on an epic hike?

Hiking not only allows you to challenge yourself physically by climbing steep trails and rugged terrain, but it also provides an opportunity to connect with nature and take in breathtaking views that leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

For me, living my fittest year ever through hiking means setting goals and conquering new trails. It means pushing myself to go further and higher than ever before, while also taking the time to appreciate the beauty and tranquillity of nature.

So far, I have achieved some incredible feats on my hikes. From summiting towering peaks to traversing challenging ridgelines, each hike has taught me the importance of mental and physical resilience, perseverance, and determination.

But it’s not just about conquering the trails. Hiking also offers a chance to unplug from the stresses of daily life, clear your mind, and reconnect with yourself. It’s a form of wellness that benefits not only your physical health but also your mental and emotional well-being.

Living your fittest year ever through hiking is an incredible way to challenge yourself, push your limits, and experience the beauty of nature. It’s a reminder that we can achieve great things when we set our minds to it and embrace the power of the great outdoors.

READ MORE: 5 Ways To Keep Calm When Life Gets Hectic

Time is a factor when working out, and it can sometimes be a deterrent for many, how are you able to manage the demands of your personal life, career and Epic Hikes?

At Epic Hikes, we understand that time is a precious commodity and that the demands of personal life and career can make it difficult to prioritize fitness. That’s why we offer slow contemplative walks that provide an opportunity to connect with nature and improve overall wellness, without adding extra stress to your already busy life.

Our guided walks are designed to be a restorative and meditative experience that allows you to slow down and reconnect with yourself, others, and nature. These walks are not about speed or distance, but rather about the journey and the experience.

We work with you to create a customized schedule that fits your lifestyle, whether it’s a weekly evening walk to unwind or a weekend getaway to disconnect and recharge. By joining our walking community, you’ll also have the support of like-minded individuals who share your passion for wellness and can offer tips and encouragement.

At Epic Hikes, we believe that wellness is about more than just physical fitness, it’s about finding balance and cultivating a sense of inner peace. Our slow contemplative walks provide an opportunity to do just that, allowing you to manage the demands of your personal life and career while also prioritizing your overall wellness.

Mental well-being is very important to us and you’ve used Epic Hikes as a platform to escape and be in touch with nature whilst taking care of your mental well-being. Take us through that and what it means for you.

As the founder of Epic Hikes, I can attest to the importance of mental well-being and the transformative power of nature. For me, being in nature is a way to escape the stresses of daily life and find clarity and peace of mind.

Through our contemplative nature walks, we offer an opportunity to slow down and connect with the world around us. These walks are not about distance or speed, but about being present in the moment and taking in the beauty and serenity of nature.

For me personally, these walks have been a lifeline. They have provided a space to disconnect from technology and the demands of running a business, and reconnect with myself and the natural world. They have helped me find clarity and focus, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve my overall mental well-being.

But it’s not just about me. At Epic Hikes, we believe that everyone can benefit from spending time in nature and prioritizing their mental well-being. We work with our clients to create customized hiking experiences that meet their unique needs and provide a space for self-reflection and growth.

Being in nature has the power to heal and transform, and at Epic Hikes, we are committed to using that power to help individuals connect with themselves, others, and the world around them. Mental well-being is just as important as physical health, and our contemplative nature walks offer a way to prioritize both.

READ MORE: Simple Ways to Prioritise Self-Care

Why is it important for you to stay fit and healthy?

As the founder of Epic Hikes, staying fit and healthy is not only important for my personal well-being but also for the success of my business. Hiking and exploring nature requires a certain level of physical fitness, and I want to lead by example and inspire others to prioritize their own health and wellness.

But it’s not just about the physical benefits. Staying fit and healthy also has a profound impact on mental and emotional well-being. Exercise releases endorphins, which can boost mood, and reduce stress and anxiety. It can also improve cognitive function and overall quality of life.

As a hiking company that focuses on connecting individuals with nature, staying fit and healthy is essential to fully experiencing and enjoying the natural world. By taking care of our bodies, we can fully immerse ourselves in the breathtaking views and challenging terrain South Africa has to offer.

Beyond that, staying fit and healthy is also vital for longevity and disease prevention. By maintaining a healthy lifestyle, we are able to reduce the risk of chronic diseases and increase our chances of living a long and fulfilling life.

At Epic Hikes, we are committed to helping individuals prioritise their health and wellness, both through our guided hikes and leading by example. We believe that staying fit and healthy is not just a personal choice, but a responsibility to ourselves and to the world around us.

Besides hiking, do you exercise? If you do, what is the one thing you do and never skip in your workout routine?

You learn very quickly to never skip leg day and chest day lol.

READ MORE: This Brutal 6-Move Leg-Day Workout Is A Great Cardio Workout, Too

What hiking Trails would you recommend for each of the 9 provinces we have in our country?

As the founder of Epic Hikes, I have had the privilege of exploring some of the most breathtaking hiking trails in South Africa. Each of the nine provinces has its own unique beauty, and I would be happy to recommend some of my favourites.

Starting with the Eastern Cape, the Amatola Trail offers stunning views of the lush forest and river valleys. Moving on to the Free State, the Golden Gate Highlands National Park is home to the famous Brandwag Rock Formation, which provides a stunning panoramic view of the surrounding mountains.

In Gauteng, the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve offers a variety of trails, each with its own scenic views of the rolling hills and grasslands. KwaZulu-Natal, the Drakensberg Mountains are a must-see, with trails such as the Cathedral Peak Hike offering breathtaking views of the dramatic peaks and valleys.

Limpopo, the Magoebaskloof Trail takes hikers through dense forests and past waterfalls. At the same time, the Blyde River Canyon in Mpumalanga offers a stunning view of the third-largest canyon in the world. The Northern Cape‘s Namaqua National Park boasts a colourful display of wildflowers in the spring, while the Cederberg Wilderness Area in the Western Cape offers a unique landscape of sandstone rock formations.

And last but not least, in the North West province, the Magaliesberg Mountains provide a range of hiking trails with views of the surrounding plains and hills.

At Epic Hikes, we are passionate about helping individuals connect with nature and experience South Africa’s beauty. Each of these hiking trails provides a unique opportunity to escape the stresses of daily life and immerse oneself in the natural world.

READ MORE: 19 Amazing South African & African Eco-Destinations To Visit In 2023

How do we join Epic Hikes?

You can get a hold of us on social media 

• (Twitter, Facebook, Tik Tok, Instagram )

• Or checkout our website here: 

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