Whilst travelling round South Africa for three months we embarked on a detour into landlocked Lesotho. Due to time constraints we decided to join onto the private “Roof of Africa” tour provided by Sani Lodge. We were unsure what to expect as it turned out to be just us and our crazy guide (and now friend) Matthew, who would lead us into the Mountain Kingdom.
Day One: Sani Pass
We departed Sani Lodge with our guide Matthew who arrived looking wild with excitement. Boarding our all-purpose 4×4 Land Rover we left the backpackers behind and began to wind our way up the Sani Pass. Not-to-be-missed photo opportunities were round every bend and Matthew was exceptionally patient as we stopped frequently to try to take it all in offering a constant commentary of factual information about the area we were passing through.
Crossing into Lesotho was a straightforward process as Matthew dealt with immigration allowing us to reflect on the steep switchbacks of the Sani Pass that we had just safely transversed. Stopping for a quick photo opportunity in Africa’s highest pub we made the decision to have a final drink here on the way back to South Africa at the end of the tour. Matthew then carried on via the Kotisepola Pass (3240m) and down into the scenic Sehonghong Valley.
Lunch was eaten as a picnic lunch by the river where we met our first shepherd boys, trading apples for photos. A brief stop via the shearing sheds where Matthew negotiated a quick look around. Whilst Matthew caught up with the owner and donned a mane of wool, I was the centre of attention as each of the shearers posed for photos!
Arriving at the Matsoaing village we met our hosts: the Nkune family at the charming and picturesque No. 10 Riverside. After being shown our room (in a traditional rondavel) and toilet facilities (an out-of-place tin box covering a drop toilet), we headed off to learn more about life in the village. Meeting a traditional healer was a real highlight before an evening of entertainment: sampling local beer; experiencing traditional dancing; and having a traditional meal.
We opted for a paid tour of Lesotho due to time constraints and were not disappointed as it was our guide Matthew who made it a highlight of our time in Southern Africa. If you have more time then as always a self-guided tour could be the best way to maximise your time, keep costs down and give you the flexibility you want. Our good friend Ivan over at NoLegRoom did just that and you can read how he got on via his blog. As always, please free to comment and sign up for updates so you don’t miss day two.