There is an ideal time of day to go hiking, but it is not when you might think it is. While some might say that heading out in the morning is better, or that afternoon hiking is ideal, the real best time of day to put on those hiking boots and hit the trail is whenever you have enough energy for it.

All times of the day can have their pros and their cons when it comes to hiking.

For those early birds among us, going out just as the sun starts lighting up the sky is the best option while for those who like to ease into their day, starting out later, perhaps after a hearty breakfast and as the sun is half way up, starting out later might be best. And then there are those for whom an afternoon hike is a real treat.

It is all about the circadian rhythms

Each of us have energy cycles and sometimes these cycles change, meaning one day you can feel energetic in the morning and then the next day wonder why you are so tired upon waking. For the most part, your circadian rhythm will determine your energy and most of us will have at least 2 energy peaks each day.

The first peak is in the morning, and it is usually within about 90 minutes of waking up. By midday, energy tends to slip away, and then by the evening you might feel more awake again. So from this point of view, the perfect time to hike can be from around 7:00 am to 10:00 am or later in the afternoon. This means that whether you are an early starter or not, there is a time of day when your energy will be at its highest.

virtual hiking

Which time of the day is hiking the safest?

In South Africa, it is safe to say that hiking in the morning is probably the best time if you are concerned about your safety. It goes without saying that you should always hike with a buddy or a group, so as to avoid becoming a target, while it is also probably a really good idea to stick to private hiking trails, like those at Bermanzi, instead of public trails.

As for your health, hiking in the morning in winter won’t be too hard on your body while hiking in the summer can mean a little strain and there is always the threat of dehydration.  You should also always make sure that you eat something before you get physical, to keep your energy up and to just stay feeling good.

Late afternoon hikes are also great fun, but you will want to watch the sunlight. In winter, the sun sets quite quickly, and you don’t want to be caught out on an unfamiliar trail after dark. Other than that, with your late afternoon hike you should be sure to bring along enough water as well as a snack to eat.

If hiking is on your list of things to do this winter, you should book your stay at Bermanzi. Our hiking trails in Mpumalanga are absolutely beautiful, no matter when you choose to head out.