When hiking in Mpumalanga during the summer, there is a good chance that the afternoons will end with a blissful summer thunderstorm. Our province is well known for its exceptionally hot and humid summer months. And we are also known for our storms that seem to blow up out of nowhere, shower down and then leave almost as quickly as they come.
Thunderstorms are generally most welcome after a day of intense heat, but we’re sure you can agree that there isn’t much fun when you end up caught in a storm while out on a hiking trail! Suddenly, that awe inspiring thunder and lightning that you would normally relish in behind a window seems all too close for comfort.
A thunderstorm can be terrifying when you are hiking but we’re going to give you a handful of helpful tips that we hope will come in handy should you find yourself out in the thick of it!
- Check the weather
As in find out what kind of weather has been predicted for the day. There are many helpful apps and reliable reports available that can help you with your planning. You can also keep in mind that storms generally blow up in the afternoon, so planning your hike to end before then might be clever, if you have doubts about the predictions. When out hiking, watch the clouds and listen for thunder.
- Time the distance
Remember when you were small and your parents taught you to count the time between the flash of lightning and the sound of thunder? Now is the time to dig up this old bit of knowledge! If you by chance have not been taught this technique, hold onto your seats, this is some exciting information that you won’t forget! Count the seconds between the flash of lightning and the thunder, and then multiply that number by 340. This will give you the distance for how far away the storm is in meters. A 3 second count, for instance, means that the storm is about 1 km away and it might be time to wrap up the hike.
There are does and don’ts to the kind of shelter you might seek out. For starters, let’s look at the shelter you should go for. This includes a cave, trail shelter, a low point in the land, or a depression. As for the kind of shelter you should avoid, exposed ridge lines, under a single tree, the entrance of a cave or at the summit of a mountain or hill are all to keep clear of. Any objects taller than you can pose a danger.
- The right pose
On the off chance that you are without shelter when the storm comes overhead, the best thing you can do is crouch low on the balls of your feet and try to make your body as small as possible. Let only your feet touch the ground.
At Bermanzi, we offer the best hiking trails in Mpumalanga and we have become one of the best places to spend a summer weekend. Book your stay with us today!