South Africa has one of the world’s most crowded hikes

Adventure tour operator Explore Worldwide has conducted new research to find which popular hikes around the globe are the most congested and which trails offer a quieter trekking experience.

The study took a unique approach – analysing the length of popular walking routes and the number of associated Instagram posts.

Some hikes have become so popular that local authorities have had to introduce visitor caps – like at Japan’s Mount Fuji this summer.

Explore Worldwide have thus found the world’s busiest hikes according to social media, and their experts have suggested alternatives for walkers who want a less crowded hiking experience.

Cape Town trail makes a congested Top 10

Some key findings from the study include:

  • Table Mountain hike is South Africa’s busiest hike (and the world’s 7th most crowded), with 1 189 Instagram posts per kilometre of trail.
  • Malaysia’s Mount Kinabalu ranks as the world’s most crowded hike, with over 22 000 Instagram posts per kilometre.
  • The Inca Trail follows in second place, with 6 723 posts on Instagram per kilometre.

From the alpine crossings of Tongariro in New Zealand to coastal routes like the West Coast Trail in Canada, the study has highlighted the most in-demand hikes worldwide – based on the number of Instagram posts uploaded per kilometre of trail.

Here are the 20 most sought-after routes in the world:

Table Mountain hike is the world’s seventh-busiest trail. Table: Explore Worldwide

On the topic of popular South African hikes, nature lovers planning to explore the scenic Lonehill Koppie will have wait until next season to climb its summit.

The beloved Johannesburg hiking trail closed on 6 May for the winter months, and will re-open on 7 September, The South African reported last month.

Hiking trails and biodiversity

The break also helps preserve food sources for local wildlife, including dassies, reptiles, birds and insects, ensuring the nature reserve’s ecosystem remains balanced and allows the wildlife to thrive, undisturbed, in their natural habitat.

“We assess the walking paths and carry out required maintenance on the bush, veld, woody plants, and trees during this time,” Lonehill Residents Association environment manager, Nadeem Abrahams, told the Fourways Review.

“We also take this opportunity to remove invasive plant species. The Green Team works extensively during the winter months on the koppie to ensure its ecosystem is healthy and strong enough to re-open in spring.”

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