Lesotho, sometimes referred to as “the kingdom in the sky”, is a landlocked Southern African country completely surrounded by South Africa. It is the only independent state in the world that lies entirely above 1,000 meters in elevation. This attribute makes it one of four countries on the African continent to operate a ski resort. I visited Lesotho and stayed in the capital city Maseru: this was my experience.
I used public transport to travel from Cape Town to Maseru. My choice of carrier was the intercape bus service. The bus was reasonably comfortable and this made the 18 hour bus ride fairly bearable. I opted to travel at night and managed to sleep for most of the journey which was a plus on my part. The bus dropped me off at Ladybrand a small town in South Africa, a ten-minutes’ drive from Maseru. I used a public commuter taxi to get to the South Africa – Lesotho border crossing point. Although the taxis take you to the city center, my hosts opted to pick me up from the border. I spent two days with my hosts and managed to do a few activities within or close to Maseru.
This is Maseru in 24 hours:
- Visit Thaba-Bosiu Cultural Village
This cultural village is a celebration of Basotho culture. It seats strategically at the foot of Thaba-Bosiu mountain, which is the most respected heritage site in Lesotho. The beautiful structures at the village bring the past to life with grass thatched houses, well-manicured lawns and walking trails.
- Hike the Thaba-Bosiu mountain trail
The name ‘Thaba-Bosiu’ means “Mountain at night” and was home to the first Basotho under leadership of King Moshoeshoe between 1824 and 1870. Now a graveyard to members of the royal family and other important people, the site still maintains ancient ruins and a commanding view of the country. In the low lands stands an isolated hill akin to the traditional Basotho head-dress called a mokorotlo. Some say it is the inspiration for the head-dress while others claim it is pure coincidence.
The picture on the left shows the hill that bears a strong similarity to the Basotho head-dress in the image on the right.
- Go horse riding in the hilly outskirts
A horse ride in the hilly outskirts of Maseru is a great way to enjoy the scenery. I visited in November when the summer heat had dried up most rivers but still enjoyed the views. Although the horses were not satisfactorily groomed and language barrier with the guides made the start difficult, it is an experience worth trying.
- Drive around the city center
This is one activity that can be done en-route Thaba-Bosiu and the horse riding center. Maseru is a small town with few interesting spots to visit, so check it out.
If you have more time to spare, stay longer in Lesotho and visit the mountainous countryside. Pay a visit to the Afriski resort which offers exciting packages for adventure seekers in both winter and summer. An overnight stay at the resort sounds like a plan for my next trip to “the Kingdom in the sky”