Exploring Lesotho, the magical ‘Mountain Kingdom’

by Naomi on September 6, 2010

in Daily Life

Post image for Exploring Lesotho, the magical ‘Mountain Kingdom’

It’s early Spring in Lesotho, also sometimes called ‘Kingdom in the Sky’, thanks to the magnificent Maluti’s. High in the mountains, this independent enclave is completely surrounded by South Africa. Bright pink peach blossoms decorate the landscape, like paint spattered across dusty parchment.

YELLOW CLING PEACH TREE - Lesotho, Southern Africa

A chill still stirs the thin air, settling on the crisp lawn that’s been rendered to straw. Ramabanta Lodge and its wonderful hostess, Rose, open their arms to our Enduro World tour. This is a training trip for the extreme Roof of Africa race, scheduled for November.

RAMABANTA LODGE - Lesotho, Southern Africa

A VIEW from RAMABANTA LODGE - Lesotho, Southern Africa

Tough as gladiators in their bulky gear, the bikers tackle endless, rock-strewn gorges. Friday’s epic 5+ hour trail takes its toll. Some of the riders arrive well after nightfall, among sighs of relief all round. Dave’s toes are badly injured, earning my sympathy, mixed with delight at having his company for Saturday :-)

DAVE'S DEJECTED KTM, AWAITING ITS NEXT RIDE

So we hop into the Touareg and head for the hills, particularly the famous Maletsunyane Falls at Semonkong (‘Place of Smoke’). The highest waterfall in Southern Africa, its single cascade drops 204 metres. Cradled in a spectacular canyon, it steals our breath away!

MALETSUNYANE FALLS - Semonkeng, Lesotho, Southern Africa

TOUAREG overlooking the Maletsunyane Falls canyon, Lesotho

A local shepherd drifts over from his sheep, asking Dave (in good English) to take a photo.

LESOTHO SHEPHERD - Meltsunyane Falls, Semonkong

This place and its people exude peace, as if the rhythm of the seasons remains untarnished. Fields are systematically ploughed by men and their cattle, revealing rich, dark earth beneath winter’s arid dress.

PLOUGHING FIELDS - Lesotho, Southern Africa

Meanwhile, women carry water and do the washing.

WOMEN CARRYING WATER - Lesotho, Southern Africa

RIVER snaking through landscape - Lesotho, Southern Africa

WASHING - Lesotho, Southern Africa

Horses and donkeys are the main mode of transport. Of people and supplies, as we discover when we stop for lunch at Semonkong Lodge. The only patrons present, we’re waited on hand and foot, leaving satisfied and smiling.

RIDERS ON HORSES - Lesotho, Southern Africa

DONKEY CARRYING SUPPLIES - Semonkong Lodge, Lesotho

Dinner back at Ramabanta is a noisy affair, alive with tales of triumph and torment. Another group of guys is still out in the dark, navigating their way with the help of a few headlights. It’s a dangerous game, enduro riding. Especially in Lesotho, home of one of the world’s most extreme events, The Mother of Hardenduro.  But inside, we’re warm, indulging in a delicious home-style dinner, rounded off with cling peaches, drenched in syrup and custard. They’re the legacy of January’s harvest, which filled four hundred bottles! Judging by today’s blossoms, it seems the next one will vie for first place:

PEACH BLOSSOMS - Ramabanta Lodge, Lesotho, Southern Africa

PEACH BLOSSOMS - Ramabanta Lodge, Lesotho, Southern Africa

We’ll be back, once summer washes the gardens lush green, and Lesotho beckons the Best of the Best back to take on The Roof!

For more photo’s from our trip, here’s a link to my Facebook album: Enduro World Lesotho Tour – Sep 2010.

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

cindy September 6, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Fab pics and words of a fab place.
If you come across accommodation in your travels that is close to Joburg and allows dogs, please let me know.

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Naomi September 6, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Thanks Cindy, will definitely do so! Wonderful that you travel as a whole family :-)

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Tokeloshe September 8, 2010 at 2:24 am

Cindy have you tried Googling Pet friendly accommodation in South-Africa?

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nrhatch September 6, 2010 at 5:49 pm

Gorgeous! Thanks for sharing this piece of paradise with us.

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Naomi September 7, 2010 at 8:51 am

Any time, Nancy, thank you for appreciating it!

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buttercup600 September 6, 2010 at 9:59 pm

Unbelievable photography Naomi, you are so talented and truly paradise in it’s own right!! Thanks so much for sharing!! Hugs x

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Naomi September 7, 2010 at 8:53 am

Thanks so much for your wonderful words, Amanda! You’re such a honey :-) x

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kateshrewsday September 6, 2010 at 11:25 pm

I could almost hear it, those pictures were so vivid and your commentary so evocative. One day – much later – I’ll take a plane, I think, and try to see some of these stunning places for myself.

As always, thankyou. It’s fabulous.

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Naomi September 7, 2010 at 8:55 am

Ah, thank you, Kate, how kind you are!! You will so enjoy it here, most especially in person :-)

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souldipper September 7, 2010 at 12:40 am

I’ll be passing this link on to my friend Meron who is highly involved with Lesotho. She is part of a group, here on our wee island, who gather all sorts of good, chattels, funds to help the Lesotho people. She’s in Vancouver at the latest Cirque d’Soleil production, but I hope she will comment…

Thank you for all the time and effort (and concern – vis-a-vis Dave’s adventurous spirit) that you put into these fabulous trips and consequent posts that take us with you so creatively.

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Naomi September 7, 2010 at 5:14 pm

Thanks so much, Amy – for your wonderful words, as well as referring this to your friend! How stunning to hear of her and the group, so far away and so involved with Lesotho!! It really is a special place :-)

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Jingle September 7, 2010 at 4:17 am

your post is rich in words and images,
lovely done!
:)

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Naomi September 7, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Thank you, lovely Jingle :-)

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Jingle September 7, 2010 at 4:18 am

http://jingleyanqiu.wordpress.com/band-wagon-tag-and-three-things-tag-plus-an-award/

a tag in the middle for you, plus an award on the bottom of the post,
Happy Tuesday

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Meron Moroz September 7, 2010 at 5:31 am

Thanks for hooking me up with the link Amy. Wow! wonderful pictures, takes my breath away and makes me eager for the new year to arrive. Plans afoot for a return visit to Lesotho in February/March of 2011. I’m excited, it has been far to long.

Sala hantle,

Meron

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Naomi September 7, 2010 at 5:22 pm

What fabulous news, Meron! Thanks so much for stopping by here and taking the time to leave such a lovely comment! I’m delighted to make your virtual acquaintance, thanks to Amy :-) You will surely have another wonderful visit to Lesotho…whereabouts have you stayed before?

In the meantime, please enjoy gorgeous Vancouver for us!

Love,

Naomi (wish I knew the language to return a quick sentence :-))

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Meron Moroz September 27, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Mostly I’ve stayed in the north, HaMakhata, a little village just outside Hlotse (Leribe). Our major project is there is the Phelisanong Disabled Centre. We are currently helping to build a secondary school. I hope it is finished in time for my visit early next year.

Gorgeouser than Vancouver, I have the privilege of living on beautiful SaltSpring Island.

Be well,
Meron

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Naomi September 28, 2010 at 11:53 am

Wow, Meron, it sounds like you’re involved in some amazing work! All credit to all of you. It will be so exciting if the school is finished in time!

I’ve only been introduced to SaltSpring Island via Amy, but it sounds (and looks) like a little piece of paradise, on our list to visit one day :-)

Enjoy,

Naomi

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Tokeloshe September 8, 2010 at 2:20 am

Absolutely stunning!

What an amazing waterfall. I love the “blanket” people. The Peach trees are almost unbelievable. What a trip!
You captured Lesotho very well .
Thanks for taking us with you. What cameras do you use?
The Wordpress button is still not working for me ;-(

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Naomi September 8, 2010 at 6:08 am

Thanks Tokeloshe! Also for trying the WP button…been too busy to think of it myself, will try to remember :-) Isn’t Lesotho and its people lovely? It’s so great to hear from those far away who know it! These pics were taken with our Nikon D300s. Dave uses the D3, but I prefer this one because it’s smaller and lighter. Quite perfect with their 18 – 200mm lens for a holiday trip :-)

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RiikaInfinityy 마왕 September 9, 2010 at 6:04 pm

So many beautiful images and words <3 the peach trees and the mountains, they are so wonderful!=D Thank for bringing me on a trip to a land I never been to=P

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Naomi September 10, 2010 at 11:22 am

You’re so welcome, Riika…thank you for appreciating it!!

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Jamie Dedes September 11, 2010 at 7:30 am

Oh my goodness! Too achingly beautiful. Thank you!

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Naomi September 11, 2010 at 11:18 am

Thank you for appreciating – it really is a stunning place :-)

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Maliba Lodge October 6, 2010 at 8:43 am

Hi Naomi, Just wanted to say a big thank you for letting us use some for you amazing photographs in our newsletter. They have proved very popular with our readers.

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Naomi October 7, 2010 at 4:45 pm

You’re most welcome, and thank YOU very much for the exposure on your great site – much appreciated!

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