Africa never ceases to amaze me. Over thirty years of living on this continent and there are still surprises to be had and many roads to be more travelled. And so it was when my husband and I travelled to Lesotho for the first time for a weekend at Maliba Mountain Lodge.
The landscape after leaving Bergville, still pretty enough in itself, transformed. Suddenly we were higher, the light changed to pastel shades and the scenery so different that at times it felt like we were on a different planet. As a photographer on a journey I can be annoying – there I’ve said it – as photographs have to be taken all the time and on this trip I was even worse. After the tenth stop or so I had to resort to taking pictures out the window to avoid infuriating the driver. For the snapper in the family, at least four stops must be made along the Sterkfontein dam and that’s a conservative estimate, while for me eventually the mountains and rolling hills just whistled by and I had to console myself with a promise of a few stops on the return trip.
And then we came to the Golden Gate National Park. It was difficult to believe that in all the travels that had been made around the country we had never been this way before. The warm afternoon light was catching the rugged, yellow, sandstone cliffs, and more, many more photos had to be taken and we still had to get to Clarens for the night – a place that had been on the bucket list for a while. Clarens, of course was charming with its craft shops, restaurants and art galleries centred on the village square. More pictures had to be taken the next morning before leaving for Lesotho.
Once again the landscape changes, even more so after crossing the border at Buthe Butha (Caledonspoort), and despite being landlocked by South Africa, there is a definite feeling of being in a different country. The Basothos do wear blankets, even on the warmest day as they herd their goats, and donkeys plod along the roads carrying their heavy loads. The mountains here are almost a luminous green colour and bordered by crystal clear rivers and fields of mielies. The road gently winds – thankfully, for speed limit is only 50 km per hour – through the mountains, into the Ts’ehlanyane National Park. And there, about 45 minutes from the border and nestled in amongst the mountains, is Maliba Mountain Lodge. Like a thatched set of pots at the end of a rainbow drive of shapes and colours.
Looking directly onto the mountains, the lodge is the ideal place to relax, chill and admire the scenery while the more energetic can hike along one of the many trails, swim in the naturals pools or go pony trekking through the mountians. My husband and I, were happy to just sit on the deck of the lodge or the verandah of our suite, sip wine and just watch the light and the view as it changed endlessly throughout the day. And take a few photographs of course!
Story and Photo by Sharon Bishop
A big thank you to Sharon for sending us this image. Sharon has won herself a Maliba Mountain Lodge peak cap which we will be sending to her shortly.