05 May 2008

Lesotho - first impressions

We entered the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho in the Southwest, at Tele Bridge, which borders on to the Eastern Cape. It is there that we first saw that Lesotho is a totally different world, to our own country that co,letely surrounds it and I guess, fell in love with the land and its people.

One similarity though is the taxis - when it comes to speeding and stopping in awkward places we are on a par - though I will be bold enough to say that ours are probably worse than theirs, when it comes to aggression.

As you start climbing from the river valley at Tele Bridge you see the first of many huts, probably very similar the the early stone structures. The older ones have walls built of beautifully dressed sandstone, while the inside walls are plastered with a mixture of clay and cow dung. Where corrugated iron has replaced thatch the roof sheets are held down with rocks, to prevent them from blowing off in the high winds that sweep through the country.

Taxis are an important mode of transport in the country - other than donkeys, horses, wheel barrows and of course feet.

The land is badly eroded eroded from over grazing. Wherever you go, whether in the river valleys or on the highest peaks, you will come across herdmen looking after their livestock.

We found that the people are warm and friendly. Wherever we went someone was smiling and waving at us as we drove past. Here a couple of women are headed home with firewood they have just collected.

Many of the Basotho people still wrap themselves in their traditional blankets when going out during the day, a custom that is unique to the Basothu.

The village of Mt Moorosi was organised chaos. Music blaring from radios, traders selling their wares and shoppers looking for a bargain. Believe it or not this is a main road - no wonder the speed limit through the towns is 50 kph.

If you happen to miss the speed limit sign, which is quite possible as there often aren't any, you may hit a rather nasty speed hump in the middle of the road, if you are not careful. As you will see in the picture below they are also not well marked.

The road to Mount Moorosi, where we spent our first two nights, followed the Senqu (Orange) River as it wound its way through rather hilly country.

Journey's end on day one was Mount Moorosi, which was the scene of an epic nine month seige and battle between the the Baputhi tribe and the British forces in 1879. It is a heroic and tragic story that I will be covering in a later post.


photowannabe said...

Thank you for this glimpse into a world I know little about. It is a strangely beautiful place.

Katney said...

Thank you for the tour. I look forward to further adventures.

Bob Johnson said...

Beautifully different, I like how they seem to be so friendly.

Bob Johnson said...
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dot said...

I enjoyed your pictures! The land is very strange looking but beautiful also.

Rethabile said...

Right there in Mt Moorosi on "High Street" is the best fish and chips café in Lesotho. Hope you got a chance to try it.

I saw at the other blog that you stayed at the Chalets. I wonder if you were able to go further upland toward Ha Makoae (my home), as there's a beautiful, mimosa-canopied road along the Senqu river, and sightings of the lakabane (giant iguana) all along said road.

Gorgeous photos on bothe blogs.

Old Wom Tigley said...

Thank you Max.. how nice for me to get the chance to see these places.

Max-e said...

Photowannabe, this ia an amzing part of the world - so much variety - I love it.

Katney, glad you enjoying the ride, there is still lots more to come.

Bob, this was my first visit to Lesotho. It is a wonserful country with wonderful people. I will definitely be back.

Dot, it is very mountainous, and very beautiful

Rethabile, thanks for stopping by. I really enjoyed our visit to your country. It is a great place. I missed the fish and chips shop, but as I will be going back I will look out for it next time.

Tom, glad you enjoyed the trip. What I was so pleased about was being able to climb that big mountain, with out any side effects