Tag Archive for Lesotho

Disa cephalotes subsp. cephalotes

Flower of the month (February 2012)

Disa cephalotes subsp. cephalotes

Disa cephalotes subsp. cephalotes photo by Bokang Ntloko

Photo by Bokang Ntloko

 

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Bird Watching In Lesotho

Birding in Lesotho will come as a fascinating and surprising entertainment for all the bird lovers as well as ordinary tourists from all over the world, who will be able to view its astonishing variety and beauty first hand.

the Fairy flycatcher sitting on a branch

Fairy flycatcher - Photo Johann Grobbelaar

Lesotho is shelters an impressive number of species of birds. Over 300 varieties have been recorded in the country and vary from residents, that stay all year around, to breeding birds, that spend a good part of the growing season in Lesotho to raise their young, migrants who pass through Lesotho with the seasons, to wintering birds who like to spend a the winter in Lesotho to escape even colder conditions up north. However, many species of birds are relatively common as they are part of the ecosystems of the country.

The Lesotho Drakensberg and Maluti are among the most sought after by bird watchers who come for Birding in Lesotho. You will be bowled out by the sheer variety and number of these colorful birds, some of which are extremely rare. The birds can be seen in the natural parks in the region, with its well known avifauna, as well in isolated spots which host a variety of fauna of Lesotho. Read more

A Day trip up Sani Pass by Charles Bruce

I have decided to do a separate entry about this day because it was a completely different experience from our hike in the Drakensberg. We were picked up in the morning (which dawned bright and sunny but eventually became cold and rainy at the top of Sani Pass) by our guide Stuart and set out in a group of 7 people in a well-used Land Rover. The day before we had eavesdropped on the owner of Sani Lodge telling a caller that they could attempt to drive up the Pass in their rental car, but they may end up leaving pieces of their engine behind. There was a reason that the only vehicles that we saw on this road were Land Rovers and Land Cruisers and other such four-wheel drives. A few kilometers past Sani Lodge the road turned into a narrow, rutted, rocky dirt track. Some areas were washed out and as we ascended the pass, it turned into steep switchbacks. Some were so steep that we had to do three-point turns to turn the corner! Apparently in the winter this road becomes an even bigger challenge with black ice and with South African drivers that have made the trip up the Pass to see snow, but have no idea how to drive in it.

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Ford Ranger launched at Maliba Mountain Lodge

There are 3 things Lesotho is not short of, Water, Rocks and Mountains. Mix all these together and you have a recipe for some stunning scenic 4×4 trails. Ford Motor Company South Africa recently decided to put the All New Ford Ranger through its paces in the mountain kingdom.

“Everything about the new Ranger is new, says Ford, after 30’000 computer models and a million kilometers of extreme-climate testing in 15 countries, including Lesotho, with its unique combination of altitude, heat and dust.”

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Basotho horse racing in Lesotho

The first thing I notice is the hats. This is not Ascot, so there are no ladies in ostrich feathers, but a ragged crowd of men wearing everything from gumboots and jeans to big patterned blankets. We’re gathered along a track curving through stubbly fields, with a hazy backdrop of blue mountains. It’s a big race day at the Morija cultural festival, so you might expect the headgear of choice to be the Basotho hat, the woven cone traditionally favoured by herders (and adapted as lampshades in tourist lodges). But I can see only one man in a 150-strong crowd wearing a Basotho hat, and I think he’s doing it ironically. It certainly doesn’t match his T-shirt and jeans.

Basotho jockey complete with traditional blanket , cowboy boots & helmet - Photo by Di Jones

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My Daily Walk through the villages of Lesotho

Juliana Fulton - American Lesotho Peace corpsI have an hour till class. I put down my book, I grab my worn, patched bag, I head out.

Down the slope, passing dry grass and old corn stalks, my shoes turning a brown to match the dirt. I pass a baby goat, chewing sideways, showing its small pink tongue. The wind blows at my skirt and I pass small children calling me. Where am I going, where is the candy, my name over, and over.

At the bottom, I stomp off some dust as I start down the paved road. My shoes crunching the uneven tarred gravel, dodging broken glass and manure scattered on the road. Read more

Our Ha Mali Community Center

Juliana Fulton   We are only a month away from opening the Ha Mali Community Center!  The idea for its creation came from hearing all the different problems facing the families in my village when I went door-to-door for my household survey.  My work at the schools didn’t seem to touch many of the problems the people in my village complained of: not having easy access to a clinic, not having jobs or training for them, the number of orphans living with elderly grandparent and sanitation issues.  What seemed to be needed was a center for outreach and skills training within the village.  World Vision recently built a pre-school, the only communally owned building in my village, and one that fit the outreach/ community center scheme perfectly.  Maliba Lodge’s Community Development Trust was equally enthusiastic about the idea and agreed to help with the funding and applied for another Peace Corps volunteer to help make it a reality.

Lesotho Peace corp volunteers at the Ha Mali Community center Lesotho

Lesotho Peace corp volunteers (Posto, Juliana and Maggie)

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Maliba Lodge – Vulture Restaurant Project

www.ewt.org.za
Maliba Mountain Lodge, with the help of vulture specialists Sonja Kruger and Andre Botha from KZN Wildlife and the Endangered Wildlife Trust, have started a vulture feeding site in the Ts’ehlanyane National Park, with the aim to attract the rare Bearded and Cape vultures for protection and research. In the past vultures have been seen as vermin- spreading disease and killing livestock and have thus been killed, virtually driving them to the brink of extinction.KZN Wildlife Vulture Program

Vultures form an important ecological component of our natural environment, cleaning up dead carcasses and decreasing the spread of some diseases and therefore need to be protected. The main cause of the demise of this important raptor group is a declining food source, although other issues such as loss of foraging areas, electrocution by electricity pylons, and inadvertent poisoning also have a strong negative influence on their numbers. Read more

Tasol Race to the Sun cycle race

This past Saturday, 10 September 2011, on a beautiful sunny day, set in the highest country in the world, the Tasol Race to the Sun started at the Likileng State Secondary school in Butha Buthe.

A total of 37 cyclists form Top South African cycling teams as well as International teams, which included Tasol Solar, Bonitas, MTN Quebecka, Cyclelab Super cycling, ASG and Team UCI from Eritrea started the race at an altitude of 1673m in Butha Buthe.

Moteng Pass Tasol Cycle Race to the SunThe race split up soon with 6 riders going out in front.The teams that was represented was ASG, Bonitas, Tasol Solar and UCI Africa team, the group worked together until 2 of the UCI Africa members decided to go out in front on one of the steep climbs 5km before the gruelling Moteng pass. The two riders were caught on the pass and passed by Jacques van Rensburg on his way to the top of the first climb. The bunch was split dramatically over the first climb which meant that riders were to ride their own pace to get to the finish line. They then descended reaching speeds of about 100km/h, up and down towards Oxbow lodge, then just over the Malibamatso river climbing the even more gruelling Mahlasela pass started since it starts at 2500m altitude and finishes at 3267. David Maree caught one of the UCI riders which secured his second place. Read more

Journal Excerpt from Sept. 1

Juliana Fulton - American Lesotho Peace corps[An excerpt from my journal for these past couple weeks]

Well I’ve been super busy, with 2-4 things to do every day for these past couple weeks. Today I had a meeting about the community centre in the morning (and building a seed bed) and two life skills classes at different schools this afternoon.

The community centre is really coming along. We’ve dug beds for 10 plots, 19 out of the 30 orphans showed up last Saturday and worked so hard, digging the stiff, weedy soil. It just looks like mounds of dirt, but I’m proud of the kids. I wonder what motivates them. It’s nice to think they’re invested in this project, growing food. We’re planning on planting the seeds this Saturday. The cabbage seeds are already in the seed bed. Regular watering is going to be a challenge. And we’ll see it the schedule to fix up the building this week actually holds. Next week we’re getting the gardening tools. It will be nice not having to borrow and carry them around (my shoulders are soar from carrying all those spades yesterday). Read more

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