Lesotho - 'Kingdom in the Sky' by Gerald Crawford
Enclosed by South Africa
on all sides, but separated from it by the huge Drakensberg and Maluti
mountain ranges, the mountainous kingdom of Lesotho is small and rounded
in shape, situated on a plateau of over 3,281ft (1,000m), with peaks reaching
to heights of more than 10,000ft (3,000m). Sani Pass is a breathtaking
entry point into Lesotho from South Africa's Drakensberg National Park
and is the gateway to the 'Roof of Africa' scenic route, linking the magnificent
scenery of the two mountain ranges.
described as the 'Kingdom in the Sky', the lofty highlands are characterised
by majestic mountain scenery, crisp mountain air and the simple serenity
of the traditional lifestyles of its people. Pony trekking is one of the
finest ways to experience the Lesotho highlands, with time spent in remote
Basotho villages scattered among the grassy hills, where waterfalls saturate
the surrounding rocks with rainbow-coloured mist and crystal clear streams
criss-cross the landscape. The region is also perfect for those who prefer
to test the sure-footedness of their own two feet, with miles of solitary
scenery to appreciate, an abundance of trout in the rivers and dams and
the assurance of a warm and friendly welcome in the rugged mountain hamlets.
The central highlands is home to the highest waterfall in southern Africa,
the Maletsunyane Falls near Semonkong, meaning 'Place of Smoke', which
thunders from a height of 624ft (192m) and is at its most spectacular during
the summer rainy season.
From the heights of the Maluti
Mountains, the land descends to the western lowlands where all the major
towns are to be found and where two thirds of the population live. Maseru,
the capital, is a fascinating city of contrasting modern and traditional
lifestyles. Blanket-clad horsemen sidestep the traffic jams on their way
to market, and woven handicrafts are displayed on the busy pavements outside
new glass buildings filled with self-important office workers.
Time spent in Lesotho will
allow visitors to observe an African country filled with an extraordinary
appeal, a kingdom of rugged beauty and unchanging culture that remains
natural and largely unaffected by tourism.
Weather conditions in Lesotho
vary greatly depending on the altitude. Summer is the hot, rainy season
from October to April, with the hottest days in January and February, and
the most rain falling between March and May and October and November. Days
are sunny with afternoon electric thunderstorms, and temperatures range
from around 86ºF (30°C) in the lowlands with cooler temperatures
as the altitude increases, averaging about 64°F (18°C) in the mountains.
Snow falls mainly in winter from May to September, but can occur in the
mountains at any time of year. Winter can be bitterly cold, particularly
in the highlands, but days are usually clear and sunny. Temperatures can
fall to 20°F (-7°C) in the lowlands and 0°F (-18°C) in
the highlands. At any time of year the weather can change very rapidly
in the highlands from warm sunshine to mist, rain and freezing temperatures.
Come for a visit.
IN BUTHA-BUTHE, LESOTHO
Mountain Lodge, Butha-Buthe, Lesotho
Located in the Royal Mountain
Kingdom of Lesotho within the Tsehlanyane National Park, Maliba Mountain
Lodge is a 5-star mountain retreat set in a pristine sub-alpine wilderness
valley deep in the heart of Lesotho’s breathtaking mountains. Maliba Mountain
Lodge is the first 5-star lodge in Lesotho and it has set the benchmark
for future Lesotho Tourism ventures. Over 5600 hectares of extremely rugged
wilderness mountain terrain is protected within this park, which includes
one of the very few remaining indigenous woodlands in Lesotho. Guests are
accommodated in one of six private and luxurious Basotho-style chalets.
- MALOTE ROUTE, LESOTHO
River Lodges, Malote Route, Lesotho
Maliba River Lodge (SELF
CATERING). Located in the Royal Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho within the
Tsehlanyane National Park, Maliba River Lodges are self catering retreats
set in a pristine wilderness valley deep in the North of Lesotho's breathtaking
Maluti/Drakensberg Mountains. Maliba River Lodges are situated at the junction
of two rivers and offers modern, serviced accommodation which is perfect
for families, groups of friends or even couples that want an affordable
getaway where they can relax.
- MOKHOTLONG, LESOTHO
James Lodge, Mokhotlong, Lesotho
Nestled quietly on a hillside,
deep within the barren Maloti mountain range and overlooking the working
Roman Catholic Mission of St James, lies the igneous rock buildings of
St James Lodge. These modernized century old buildings are conveniently
situated on the Thaba Tseka road only 1hr away from the infamous Sani Pass,
and just under 2hrs away from the new snow skiing resort of Afriski.
Fill your lungs wtih the fresh mountain air, see the stars like you've
never seen them before, experience the rich Basotho culture and history
of the area, and most importantly, relax and enjoy the views.