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. Day two saw us waking up in Lesotho ready to explore more of this Mountain Kingdom with Matthew, our guide.
Day Two: Off to Katse Dam
After breakfast we headed over to view some local schools. This was an addition to the usual itinerary and had been included due to Anthony and I being teachers and having an interest in education. The kids were excited to see us and teachers were supportive in our looking around. Although basic, as we expected, schools did have some resources including chairs, tables and teaching materials. We had seen much worse on our travels but knew that out here in the villages the options for education were still likely to be reduced even by Lesotho standards. We were also able to visit a health centre – once again allowing us to compare standards in services and get a real insight into what life was like in rural Lesotho.
We continued to travel west, over another 3000m+ road pass, the Menoaneng. The scenery was breathtaking even as we wound our way into the clouds and became saturated before dropping down to the major river draining the Lesotho Highlands, the Senqu which later becomes the Orange River. It was at the lowest level, at the Koma Koma crossing that we crossed before climbing out of the valley towards the town of Thaba Tseka.
Thaba Tseka was a town by Lesotho standards but a single street lined with everything from South African chain stores to shacks. Matthew treated us to street food from his favourite “restaurant” though I’m not sure anyone else would refer to it in that way.
We arrived later than advertised on the itinerary to Katse Dam on account of all of the spontaneous stops we’d been treated to. Matthew managed to get us a first glimpse of the dam from the visitor centre before making arrangements for our tour the next morning. Staying round the corner at the Katse cottages that had been used to house the multitude of workers required for such a feat of engineering, we were treated to a sunset over the dam. This was followed by dinner at the Katse Lodge restaurant.
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 three.