Lesotho
Lesotho

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  • Day49

    Lesotho

    March 1 in Lesotho ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    Königreich im Himmel. So wird Lesotho aufgrund seiner Lage hoch in den Bergen auch genannt.

    Die Einreise nach Lesotho gestaltet sich wesentlich komplizierter als von uns angenommen. Nachdem wir extra nach Bloemfontein gefahren sind um den obligatorischen Versicherungsnachweis für unseren Mietwagen abzuholen, lassen uns die Lesothis an der Grenze einfach nicht durch. Umso glücklicher sind wir als uns die Beamten am zweiten Grenzübergang durchwinken und uns eine gute Fahrt wünschen.

    Wir fahren direkt nach Malealea im Südwesten des Landes. Es ist eine kleine Ortschaft die gefühlt fern ab der Zivilisation liegt und in der unser Mietwagen wie ein Fremdkörper wirkt. Überall in der weitläufigen Natur sieht man traditionelle Hirten, wie sie bei ihren Tieren stehen oder auf Pferden durch die Gegend galoppieren. Mit einem Führer aus dem Dorf machen wir eine Wanderung in ein nahegelegenes Tal und versuchen die uralten Felsmalereien zu entziffern. Und natürlich ist ein Ritt auf einem Pferd in diesem Land ein absolutes Muss. Erstaunlich gut meistern wir eine zweistündige Runde auf dem Plateau und können dabei sogar noch die Aussicht geniessen.

    Da die Strassen hierzulande rar sind, müssen wir wieder fast bis zur Hauptstadt Maseru zurückfahren um ins nächste Tal zu gelangen. Über mehrere Pässe und durch eine sagenhafte Berglandschaft führt uns die Strasse nach Semongkong. Hier befindet sich der Maletsunyane, der wohl schönste und höchste Wasserfall in Lesotho.

    Um noch mehr von dieser Berglandschaft zu sehen, beschliessen wir eine Runde durch den Nordosten zu fahren. Die vorerst gute Strasse führt uns auf fast 3000 Meter über Meer und wandelt sich dann in eine ziemlich ausgewaschene Erdpiste. Wir fahren an diesem Tag nur knapp über 300km aber benötigen dafür 8.5h reine Fahrzeit. Die anstrengende Fahrt wird aber mit tollen Aussichten auf die Berge und den Katse Stausee reichlich entlohnt.

    Wir verlassen dieses bezaubernde Land ein bisschen wehmütig über die nördliche Grenze. Die Ausreise aus Lesotho und Rückkehr nach Südafrika ist glücklicherweise deutlich einfacher und geregelter. Tsamaya hantle, auf Wiedersehen.
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    Peter Züger

    Hoi zusammen, ein unbekanntes Land, das gemäss eurer Beschreibung und den Fotos sehr schön und eine Reise Wert zu sein scheint. Danke für die Inspiration.

    3/6/22Reply
     
  • Day35

    Back to South Africa

    January 9 in Lesotho ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    Leaving Lesotho was, migration wise, easy, entering South Africa not that much since we had to line up for a Covid test before we were allowed to get back to South Africa. Luckily we were all tested negative 🙃Read more

  • Day34

    Camping at a Bicycle Place 🙄

    January 8 in Lesotho ⋅ 🌧 22 °C

    On our navigation app we found this campsite with attached bicycle rental and there was even a bicycle hangar on the map, so for sure, we had to go there, just for seeing what this is all about.

    I'm the end, it was a nice, but ordenary campsite, nothing about bicycle rental and we were, as usual, the only persons staying there.

    Okay, something was really special about that places, it was by fare the most expensive campsite we stayed and was sure not the nicest 😳
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  • Day33

    Marakabei - Rondavel

    January 7 in Lesotho ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    Because we did not know how the weather and the street condition would be, we planed to stop for the day in Marakabei.

    According the information from our navigation app, the paved road would start in Marakabei again. Leaving Thaba-Tseka, the road was still paved. Okay, it can be that the gravel road starts some kilometers after the town. As the road was still paved after some time, we started to hope, that the information from the navigation app might be outdated and the road is actually paved. And yes, the road was paved 😃 and we progressed quite fast.

    Despite the fast progress, we did not change our plan for today's stop then after Marakabei an other 1000 meter climb starts which we liked to save for tomorrow 😁

    So checked into on of the Rondavel, enjoyed to afternoon and had a local dinner 🙃
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  • Day33

    Lunch at a newly opened Restaurant

    January 7 in Lesotho ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    We found it by chance, while looking for a other place we're we cloud eat something. The restaurant was really nice and had great food 🙃 The lady running it was really happy we stopped there. We were surely the first foreigner's since she just open the restaurant two weeks ago.Read more

  • Day154

    Up the Sani Pass to Lesotho

    February 16, 2020 in Lesotho ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    Today we're leaving South Africa and heading into the mountainous country of Lesotho. To get there, we drive away from the coast and head through the Drakensberg (Dragon's Mountain) range, up to the Lesotho highlands.

    Most of the way, the drive is very smooth, on new tarmacked roads which wind up into the mountains, and we soon arrive at the border. We check out of South Africa, and head into no-mans land. Here, the road stops, and it becomes a mountainous dirt road, and we need to engage the 4x4 low gear in order to make it up the last few kilometres. Our little 4x4 handles it well though, and the views are breathtaking. The mountains are reminiscent of a dragon's back, cutting a jagged silhouette against the blazing blue sky. The air gets thinner and thinner, and it takes a nervously long time to turn the engine back one once we've taken a few photos.

    A couple of hours later and we reach the top. We're able to take in the wonderful vista that we've scaled, with a sense of achievement that we've made it up here by ourselves (most visitors arrive in organised 4x4 tours). The mountaintop is rugged, with a rough moorland which reminds Chris of Yorkshire. It's also very cold here, despite the blazing sun, so we wrap up in hoodies.

    After setting up our tent, we head to the highest pub in Africa, just next to the border post. We have a Lesothan beer on the terrace, which is sat right on the cliff edge, affording incredible views down the pass.

    Later, after the sun disappears, the temperature plummets, and we're the coldest we've been in Africa. We head up to the pub for our evening tea, which is a hearty mountainous affair, accompanied by warming red wine. We read stories on the wall about snowfalls trapping people in the pub on top of the mountain for days on end. We eye the extensive wine rack and muse that there would be worse places to be trapped.
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  • Day89

    Lesotho - Day 3

    February 21, 2020 in Lesotho ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    We were due to have breakfast at the relatively late hour of 9am so I was able to get up at my leisure. I packed my rucksack for a day's trek I had planned. However, when i tried to open my dorm room door it had completely stuck and wouldn't open so i had to climb out of the window to get out. We had a cooked breakfast of eggs, bacon, mushrooms, beans and toast cooked by the cook group in the communal kitchen.
    After breakfast, Graham, Kristen and I organised to do a trek to a waterfall and then to some caves with ancient 7000 year old rock paintings painted by hunter gatherer bushmen. We were allocated a young local woman as our guide for the day and she took us out of the hostel and down a long hill towards a valley surrounded by high mountains. The guide stopped by a series of graves and told us about the local funeral and burial practice which seemed to be a mixture of ancient burial rites mixed with more recent Christian practice. For example a cow and a sheep were sacrificed and eaten as part of the funerary and burial rites. The family also cut off their hair and mourned until it grew back. The rites were also strictly divided between men and women. If one of twins died there was an even stranger practice where the living twin had to get in the dead twin's coffin and grave and say their dead twins name and say, but I am not him/her, I am the living twin.
    We continued to walk down to a beautiful river valley with a bubbling stream tumbling down it. There were small fields of maize and sunflowers. Apparently, local villagers could claim land for farming with the permission of the chief of the village. We walked along the stream valley with wonderful views of the surrounding mountains until we reached where the stream met a larger river valley. The rain had brought out a carpet of various wild flowers that were visited by a multitude of butterflies and insects. We talked about the density of wildlife and how England would once have had a similar density of life before the intensification of farming. The stream carved through a geological layer of white smooth rock which created sculptural carvings in the rock. A large eagle circled in the thermal updrafts above. We crossed the river with some difficulty as the the river had risen due the heavy rains that fell when we arrived in Lesotho. As we made our way up the lovely river valley towards the waterfalls, the guide realised that the river level was too high to go up the river to reach the waterfalls. We therefore had to climb up a steep, loose rocked, path out of the valley which was a very taxing climb in the hot, strengthening sun as we approached midday. We then crossed over the top of the valley to the top of the waterfalls. The waterfalls were quite high with the river water passing through two narrow outlets to tumble about 30 metres to the floor below. We then had a long walk over and down to the bottom of the waterfalls. As we arrived at the bottom, two herder boys came down and started some very poor drumming on a home made drum in the hope that we would give them money. This rather destroyed the peaceful atmosphere of the place and after a short rest we climbed back up the steep path to the top of the waterfall, climbed back across the valley top, and then had to negotiate a very tricky descent back down the loose rocked, steep path. The rocks rolled under foot and you had to concentrate very carefully not to slip and twist or break an ankle. When we reached the bottom of the valley, we walked back down the valley, and then turned up a long, steep incline up a hill towards the local village. We all got very tired climbing up long incline and rested under a large rock ledge to shelter from the strong, hot sunshine. The views back across the valley to the mountains beyond were again very beautiful. Three young children approached where we were sitting, but did not come too close, and shyly waved at us from a distance. They later cupped their hands to ask for money, emphasising the poverty of the area. There were also children and adults herding sheep and two donkeys, one very young rested in the sunshine. After our rest we passed through the village. Some villagers were friendly and said hello, but others looked at us with a blank expression as if we weren't their. I had noticed this contrast in local people's response to us white tourists already during our stay here.
    We then had a long descent down the other side of the hill towards another valley where the caves and ancient rock paintings were. We could see large, dark clouds gathering over the mountains behind us and could hear worrying rumbles of thunder. but we were lucky as the storm passed by us without raining on us. We had wonderful views over the distant mountains all around us as we slowly descended from the high point of the village. When we dropped down into the new river valley a large group of children ran excitedly down the hill to follow us down. This river valley had huge sheer, polished, rocky sides which opened out into a simply stunning view over the river and to the valley beyond. You could see why the ancient bushmen hunter gatherers regarded this as a special place. We walked down to a small cave and the guide showed us how the bushmen had used this cave acoustically as an impressive echo chamber. I whistled loudly and a perfect echo of my whistle came back a second later as it reverberated down the sheer sided, narrow, rock valley sides. The young children watched on from above and chatted and laughed with each other. After a short rest we continued on down a short path to where another indent in the rocky sides of the valley revealed a number of very interesting 7000 year old rock paintings in red (blood and plant pigment), white, and black (charcoal) colours. Most of the paintings were of elongated human figures with animal heads including birds and antelope heads. Our young female guide suggested that the elongated human figures represented the visionary experiences of the shamans who painted the images. She said that the shamans experienced themselves as tall giants in the landscape. This was a very interesting insight into the nature of the shamanic visionary experiences. There were also images of animals such as antelope, snakes, fish, and a beautifully rendered figure of a large cat. There was also a depiction of a number of human figures congregating together and possibly singing and dancing. This place had a very strong atmosphere and was clearly a sacred place for thousands of years in this stunning valley. The images had faded with time and were difficult to photograph, but you saw more and more in them the longer you looked. We then walked on to another indentation in the smooth yellow rock where there was another series of rock paintings, fewer in number, but perhaps even stranger and more evocative in nature. Some of the figures were painted high up on the rock wall and were more distinct. One of the elongated figures had a birds head and another had two horns. A third figure was more bent over and had a very strange, indefinable, animal like quality. The figures had an other worldliness that almost took you into the visionary experience of the shamans who painted it (apparently only shamans were allowed to paint the images). Another figure that was difficult to make out had an impossibly extended leg and foot which extended for nearly a metre away from the body. This also gave a sense of how the visionary experience allowed the shaman to stretch his spirit body to enormous lengths. We spent some time resting, photographing, and looking at the rock painting. Unfortunately, a third cave with rock paintings was too difficult to reach. We decided to walk back up out of the valley. When we reached the cave with the echo, the children had set up a small choir and sang for us in the hope of us giving them some money. I had no money on me, but left them a big bag of nachos to share among themselves which they seemed quite happy with. We climbed back out of the steep valley with stupendous views of the valley and mountains behind. It was hard work climbing out of the steep valley after many hours of walking up and down steep inclines in this mountain terrain. We then reached a more level path where we could recover our breath a bit. We passed some houses where people waved back in a friendly way - they also knew our local guide. We passed a very old and characterful woman with a dog who also sweetly said hello and goodbye to us. We then had another exhausting climb back up to the hostel and were fantasising about reaching the bar for a cold drink. When finally got there we paid for the guided walk in the reception and I paid in advance for the evening meal. We also left positive comments about our kind and friendly guide in the visitors book which would help her to get future guided walks and gave her a big tip. The guided walks are apparently shared among members of the local community to help give them some extra income.
    I then bought a cold coke in the bar which tasted very good after a long, tiring walk and collapsed into a chair. The evening sun cast long shadows across the distant mountains. My dorm room door had been repaired while I was out walking, so i could now get in and out of my room. I returned to my room to get a shower and rested in my room until it was time for dinner in the dining room and 7pm. I joined my fellow traveller, Brian, for a nice dinner of roast chicken, potatoes, peas and carrots with a gravy like sauce. I had a nice glass of red wine with my meal which was only 20 rand for a large glass, about £1. We sat opposite a young American woman who was working locally as a paediatrician before returning to Texas where she was from. We had an interesting conversation with her about our mutual experiences of Africa before going to the bar for another drink.
    I felt very tired after my day's exertions and soon retired to my room to rest. The crickets were chirping loudly as I slowly went off to sleep on the less than comfortable mattress.
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  • Day88

    Lesotho - Day 2

    February 20, 2020 in Lesotho ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    Sadly, I could hear heavy rain on the roof of my accommodation as I awoke at around 7am which would put pay to doing a trek in the mountains as I had planned. I therefore got up for a shower at a leisurely pace and enjoyed having my own space in my own room. I joined my fellow travellers for a light breakfast in the communal kitchen we had been allocated. After spending some more time relaxing in my room, I played some table tennis with fellow traveller, Kristen. It took me a while to get back to playing again as I hadn't played table tennis for many years, but I started to get back into the rhythm of playing, and Kristen played to a good standard, so that I slowly improved even though she was beating me I got closer to matching her. It was an enjoyable game and passed the time while it rained outside. I had some lunch and the weather began to clear so that I could begin to see the mountains surrounding the hostel for the first time.
    I rested in my room after lunch and then returned to the bar. The clouds had further cleared from the mountains so I walked around the perimeter of the hostel and out of the front gates to take photos of the mountain. I then found a really nice spot to take photos of the mountains in a field at the back of the hostel grounds. I then went to the games room to play table tennis with my fellow travellers, Grant, Jemma, Kristen and Graham. We had some more close and enjoyable games playing doubles. After the table tennis we went to the bar to play pool doubles which was equally enjoyable. We then had macaroni cheese cooked by the cook group in the communal kitchen. We all returned to our dorm rooms for an early night. However, I noticed that the skies had cleared and the night sky was blazing with stars of the milky way. This was probably the best night sky I had seen on my travels through Africa so I spent a lot of time looking at the night sky and taking photos. I had been having difficulty getting into and out of my room as the wooden door appeared to have warped with all the rain. I therefore had to force the door open with my shoulder. I eventually settled into sleep on a less than comfortable mattress where the springs pushed through.
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  • Day15

    Malealea Lodge Lesotho, Tag 3

    October 2, 2019 in Lesotho ⋅ ☀️ 5 °C

    Village Tour
    Als ich heute morgen zum „Frühshooting“ unterwegs war, hat mich Jason angesprochen. Er würde für 10 ZAR/h (0,60€) eine private Village Tour anbieten. Wenn wir wollen, mit Mittagessen beim Chief (Bürgermeister). Nach Rücksprache mit den Anderen, haben wir das Angebot angekommen. Um 9:00 Uhr ging’s los. Was wir in den nächsten 3 h zu sehen bekamen, war faszinierend und erschütternd zugleich. Man kann sich nicht vorstellen, in welch herrlicher Landschaft und totaler Armut diese Menschen leben. Ganz besonders hart trifft es die Kinder. Hier ist Aids nach wie vor das große Problem, so dass viele Kinder mit Aids geboren werden und auch früh Waisen sind. Mit ein paar Süßigkeiten kann man ein Strahlen in die Kinderaugen zaubern, wie man es bei uns garnicht mehr sehen kann.
    Nach einer schönen, informativen Tour, haben wir gegen Mittag in der Hütte des Chief‘s zu Mittag gegessen. Es gab Bapp, Karotten und eine Art Kraut. Sehr schmackhaft und äußerst nahrhaft. Total satt und doch mit einem etwas beklemmendem Gefühl, haben wir uns verabschiedet. Vorher haben wir zu Gunsten der Waisen beim Chief noch eine Spende hinterlegt.
    Über WhatsApp will er uns eine Kontonummer zukommen lassen, wo wir für die Waisen Spenden überweisen können.
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  • Day14

    Malealea Lodge Lesotho, Tag 2

    October 1, 2019 in Lesotho ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    Gorge Hike
    Heute haben wir uns entschlossen, die Umgebung von Malealea zu Fuß zu erkunden.
    Über Micheal, dem Chef der Lodge, haben wir einen Guide gebucht. Michael unterstützt mit seinem Team die ganze Region und sorgt für Arbeit und Ausbildung der Jugend.
    Um 10:00 Uhr sind wir mit Mechelele zu dem 8,5 km langen Rundweg aufgebrochen. Abgesehen von der grandiosen Landschaft, haben wir sehr viel über Land und Leute erfahren. Nach fast 3h waren wir wieder zurück in der Lodge. Die Wanderung war nicht allzu schwierig, aber durch die vielen Fotostops, vergeht halt die Zeit.
    Übrigens, für Mechelele mussten wir 120 ZAR bezahlen, Das sind etwa 7,25€. Er bekam von und noch ein Trinkgeld und eine Tüte Süßigkeiten, da sind sie ganz scharf drauf.
    Den Nachmittag verbrachten wir mit Kartenspielen und nach dem Abendessen haben wir noch Tottenham gegen Bayern angeschaut.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Kingdom of Lesotho, Lesotho, Lɛsutu, ሌሶቶ, Lesoto, ليسوتو, Lesothu, Лесота, Лесото, লেসোথো, ལེ་སོ་ཐོ།, Lɛsoto nutome, Λεσότο, لسوتو, Lesothô, Leosóta, Leasoto, લેસોથો, לסוטו, लेसोथो, Լեսոտո, Lesótó, レソト王国, ლესოტო, លើសូតូ, ಲೆಥೋಸೊ, 레소토, لەسۆتۆ, Lesothum, Lesoso, ເລໂຊໂທ, Lesotas, Лешото, ലെസോത്തോ, ଲେସୋଥୋ, Lesòto, Lesôtho, Losooto, லெசோதோ, లెసోతో, เลโซโท, لېسوتو, لیسوتھو, Lê-xô-thô (Lesotho), Sutuvän, Orílẹ́ède Lesoto, 莱索托, i-Lesotho

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