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. Never a dull moment with Matthew as our guide, we tour the imposing Katse Dam before a brief encounter with a leopard that is no longer alive! An opportunity to meet more of the resourceful Basotho people follows before we settle into the high-end remote lodge set in the mountainous Ts’ehlanyane National Park.
Day Three: Katse Dam Tour
After providing us with a cooked breakfast, a bare-footed Matthew got us into the Katse Botanical Garden for a very fresh morning walk. Of particular interest were the medicinal plants promising to cure a strange mix of ailments as well as the Spiral Aloe (Aloe polyphylla) which is the national flower of Lesotho. We were then back to Katse Dam in time for our tour allowing us to see inside the wall itself as well as views from the top of the dam itself. Unfortunately no photos due to security inside the dam itself.
We proceeded to follow the lake north, up towards its headwaters and crossed the dam over the spectacular Malibamatso Bridge before climbing another 3000m+ pass, Mafika Lisiu at the top of which is Bokong Nature Reserve. Yet more spontaneous stops ensued with us getting a new driver (just for photos) at what we thought might be a driving centre(?) and finding out that a very obviously stuff leopard is not alive … anymore!! The visitor centre might have been empty but we got a great view of the Lepaqoa Waterfall even if we were soaked from the rain afterwards.
As we dropped further down into the valley the sun cleared, the rain dried up and we were treated to a beautiful view of the mountain flora. At the town of Hlotse we visited the excellent Leribe Craft Centre, a sheltered workshop producing beautiful mohair crafts such as tapestries, rugs, runners, scarves and bags as well as a centre where women with HIV and AIDS made jewellery.
Saying goodbye to the friendly and resourceful women we had met, with a few souvenirs bought for family back home, we continued on to Ts’ehlanyane National Park. We arrived at the high-end Maliba Lodge, a 5 star concession within the National Park, which would be our home for the next couple of days. We stayed in a small house just down from the main lodge itself but took our meals up at the lodge where we also made the most of free wifi. To say the meals were some of the best we had ever eaten would be an understatement. Eating them at a candlelit table with a fire burning behind us was a nice touch.
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 four.