Archive for Off the beaten path

The Basotho Pony

The horse is a source of pride in Lesotho and the Basotho are renowned as a nation of horsemen.

For generations, the sure-footed Basotho pony has been bred as the ideal form of transport in the rugged mountains. Even today, the pony is still the most effective means of reaching the more inaccessible mountain villages.

Basotho pony treking in Lesotho

Pony trekking holidays on the hardy Basotho ponies are immensely popular and a fantastic way of exploring Lesotho’s beautiful rugged terrain as the bridle paths that criss-cross Lesotho are barely wide enough for vehicles but the ponies effortlessly dodge obstacles and loose rocks.

The oldest Sesotho word for horse is “khomo-ea-haka”, which means “livestock called haka” (Hacqua is Khoi for horse). There is no original word in Sesotho for horse, and by the 1950’s the word “pere”, derived from the Dutch and Afrikaans “perd”, was common. Read more

Camping in Lesotho

 

The mountain kingdom of Lesotho offers some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes anywhere in Southern Africa. Lesotho is a fascinating country to travel around by vehicle, with the mountainous terrain offering 4×4 enthusiasts hundreds of exciting rugged routes through the countryside.

Katse Dam

Image: Johan Lötter - 4x4 Community - Katse Dam

There are no fences in Lesotho and the wildlife have the freedom to roam about where they wish, the most common are mountain reedbuck, rhebok, eland, baboon, jackals, meerkat and mongooses. Read more

Lesotho’s Natural Heritage

The National parks and reserves of Lesotho are just as diverse that the country itself. Sehlabathebe boasts open grassland, lakes and striking rock formations. Ts’ehlanyane is awe-inspiring with its indigenous forests, wildlife and dominating mountain peaks. Bokong is perched high above Katse Dam and offers uninterrupted views of the Lepaqoa Valley, while Liphofung has unique cultural and historical significance.

All of Lesotho’s parks and reserves are part of The Maloti-Drakensberg Transfontier Conservation and Development Project (MDTP). This is a collaborative initiative between South Africa and the Kingdom of Lesotho to protect the exceptional biodiversity of the Drakensberg and Maloti mountains through conservation. This includes, Golden Gate Highlands National Park, Qwa Qwa Nature reserve, Sterkfontein Dam Nature reserve, Royal Natal National Park and the Malekgonyane (Ongeluksnek) Nature Reserve.

Maloti-Drakensburg Conservation Project Area

Liphofung Cave and Cultural Site

The Liphofung “place of the eland” cave occupies an important place in Lesotho history. This is the smallest of the LHDA reserves at about 4 hectares. The cave is in fact a large sandstone overhang, which is a typical feature of the Lesotho lowlands region.

Originally used by the San and other Stone Age people, the walls contain important rock art and a rich archaeological deposit of Stone Age implements. Later, King Moshoeshoe “the Great” used the cave as a stopover when visiting that part of the kingdom.Liphofung Caves - San Drawings

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Get ONTO the 4×4 track in Lesotho

The Lesotho Highlands offer some of the most fantastic off road driving you will encounter anywhere in Southern Africa. It is full of beautiful mountain passes and deep river valleys with tremendous scenery where ever you look.

Since Lesotho is so mountainous, 4×4 vehicles make many parts of Lesotho far more accessible to the Lesotho traveller. Sani Pass for example, is a spectacular mountain road and well-known entry point into Lesotho from South Africa’s KwaZulu Natal Drakensberg. Known as the gateway to the ‘Roof of Africa’ scenic route, it links the spectacular scenery of the Drakensberg with the Maluti Mountains of northern Lesotho. Once at the top, visitors can have lunch at the highest pub in Southern Africa, Sani Top Chalets.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtXYAV4HDoo
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Ts’ehlanyane National Park

This National Park is as underrated as it is underused. This is the largest park in Lesotho and no other place is about as far away from it all as Ts’ehlanyane. Lying further north in the district of Leribe, it is reachable by tar roads. This Lesotho Northern Park protects a beautiful high-altitude, 5600-hectare patch of rugged wilderness, including one of Lesotho’s only stands of indigenous forest with a number of rare undergrowth plants that are unique to this woodland habitat. Here indigenous “Ouhout” (Leaucosidea) trees of significant size are preserved.

Maliba Mountain Lodge - Tsehlanyane National Park

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Sehlabathebe National Park

Lesotho’s first national park, proclaimed in 1970, is remote, rugged and beautiful, and getting there is always a worthwhile adventure, especially if you’re into wilderness, seclusion and fishing. Sehlabathebe means the “Shield of the Plateau”, mirroring the rolling grasslands, wild flowers and silence provide a sense of complete isolation.

Situated in the south-east corner of Lesotho, At an average elevation of some 2,400 metres, the main attraction of the spectacular Sehlabethebe National Park is its exceptional peace and solitude. It is wonderfully peaceful, and yet exciting, many small lakes, huge rock overhangs and striking sandstone formations, especially the many “Arches” which characterise this park.Rock Arches - Sehlabathebe National Park

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Bokong Nature Reserve

Bokong Nature Reserve is one of the highest reserves in Africa. It lies at the top of the Mafika-Lisiu Pass, leading to Katse Dam and reaches an altitude of 3090m above sea level.

There are some outstanding views across the highlands. However the reserves highlight is the Lepaqoa Waterfall, which freezes in winter to form a column of ice.Views from Bokong Nature Reserve, Lesotho

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The Sani Stagger Endurance Race

Drakensburg Rockjumper Sani StaggerThe Sani Stagger is known as ‘The Ultimate Endurance Race” and is an annual event run along the famous Sani Pass in the Southern Drakensberg.  A famous entry point into Lesotho from South Africa’s Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park, the Sani Pass is also the location for the Sani Stagger endurance race. It comprises a tough 42km marathon and a more sedate 21km half marathon. Organised by the local Sani Athletic Club, under the rules of both Athletics South Africa and KwaZulu Natal Athletics, it has become a sought after and ‘must do’ race on any racers calendar.

The magnificent Sani Pass climbs through a narrow valley cut deep in the rock by the Mkhomozana River, steeply zigzagging its way up the face of the Drakensberg escarpment to an altitude of 2874m above sea level. The pass was originally developed as a bridal path in 1913, where it remains an important and historic trade route into the Eastern Highlands of Lesotho. The first vehicle negotiated the path in 1948, when it was no more than a boulder littered donkey track. It is now used for the most part by 4×4 vehicles and has become a highlight for tourists visiting the Southern Drakensberg. For runners it is one of Africa’s most unique athletic experiences. Read more

Top 10 Activities to do in Lesotho

Top10 Lesotho Activities in LesothoPicturesque Lesotho is a perfect destination for adventure tourism. You won’t find the Big Five in any of Lesotho’s parks and reserves, and the wilderness attraction here is predominantly geared towards hikers and pony treks.

Described as the “Kingdom in the sky” or the “Mountain Kingdom”, Lesotho provides memorable scenery for tourists, with its surreal rock formations, abundance of water with lakes, rivers and spectacular waterfalls everywhere, grasslands and unique mountain flora and fauna. It is the unique landscapes of this mountain kingdom that makes any activity that bit more special.

Some of the outdoor activities, which can be performed in Lesotho, are:

1. Fishing

Lesotho Fly Fishing Fred SteynbergFishing in Lesotho is a heavenly experience offering plenty of excitement for the angler. A number of dams and rivers in Lesotho have made fishing one of the most enjoyable leisure activities in the country. September to May is the best time for fishing in Lesotho. The Mountain streams of the Lesotho highlands offer some of the best trout fishing in Africa. The high altitude and cold temperatures lend themselves well to year round trout fishing in Lesotho. Read more

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