A Lesotho overnight

This item appears on page 33 of the August 2011 issue.
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My one-day trip to Lesotho in September ’10 started with a one-hour flight on South African Airways from Johannesburg, South Africa, to Maseru, Lesotho’s capital. No visa is required for US citizens, and there are several flights each day, which makes a short trip very easy.

Rondavels at Maliba Lodge — Lesotho. Photo: Hallaq

Including air, lodging, meals and guide, my Lesotho trip cost about $900. It was arranged by Adventures Abroad (Blaine, WA; 800/665-3998) to be a private tour prior to my joining their Southern Africa tour in Johannesburg.

I was picked up at the Maseru airport by my driver/guide, Mo­­tlatsi Rametse, of Unique Tourism Facilities (114 Old TY Road, PO Box 7895, Maseru 100, Lesotho; e-mail uniquetourism@ecoweb.co.is) and driven to the Maliba Lodge (office in Durban, South Africa; phone +27 31 702 8791), located within Tsehlanyane National Park, about two hours from Maseru.

The rustic lodge has individual “rondavels” (chalets) each with a fireplace, private patio and luxurious bathroom. Gourmet meals are served in the main lodge.

Lesotho, known as the Kingdom in the Sky, is one of three countries in the world completely surrounded by another country; the others are San Marino and the Vatican. It is also one of three kingdoms in Africa; Swaziland and Morocco are the others.

Lesotho is famous for its pony trekking, hiking and outdoor activities, and all of these can be arranged by the lodge.

I was interested in visiting a diamond mine, and a tour was arranged to the Letseng Diamond Mine, the highest in the world, located in the windswept Maluti Mountains. Several of the world’s largest rough diamonds were discovered there.

On a tour of the open-pit mine, I was taken to an overlook to view a blasting site, from which the ore was taken to a crusher. (It takes one to two dump trucks of ore to find a carat of diamonds.)

Driving through the countryside, we saw men each wearing a multicolored blanket walking along the road or riding ponies. The blanket not only provides protection from the heat and cold but is a status symbol. I asked Motlatsi if he had a blanket and he replied, “Yes, but I wear it only on special occasions.”

Conical hats are worn by many. The hat is depicted on Lesotho license plates.

One day is not enough for this unique country.

HENRIETTA HALLAQ
Tucson, AZ

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

My one-day trip to Lesotho in September ’10 started with a one-hour flight on South African Airways from Johannesburg, South Africa, to Maseru, Lesotho’s capital. No visa is required for US citizens, and there are several flights each day, which makes a short trip very easy.

Rondavels at Maliba Lodge — Lesotho. Photo: Hallaq

Including air, lodging, meals and guide, my Lesotho trip cost about $900. It was arranged by Adventures Abroad (Blaine, WA; 800/665-3998) to be a private tour prior to my joining their Southern Africa tour in Johannesburg.

I was picked up at the Maseru airport by my driver/guide, Mo­­tlatsi Rametse, of Unique Tourism Facilities (114 Old TY Road, PO Box 7895, Maseru 100, Lesotho; e-mail uniquetourism@ecoweb.co.is) and driven to the Maliba Lodge (office in Durban, South Africa; phone +27 31 702 8791), located within Tsehlanyane National Park, about two hours from Maseru.

The rustic lodge has individual “rondavels” (chalets) each with a fireplace, private patio and luxurious bathroom. Gourmet meals are served in the main lodge.

Lesotho, known as the Kingdom in the Sky, is one of three countries in the world completely surrounded by another country; the others are San Marino and the Vatican. It is also one of three kingdoms in Africa; Swaziland and Morocco are the others.

Lesotho is famous for its pony trekking, hiking and outdoor activities, and all of these can be arranged by the lodge.

I was interested in visiting a diamond mine, and a tour was arranged to the Letseng Diamond Mine, the highest in the world, located in the windswept Maluti Mountains. Several of the world’s largest rough diamonds were discovered there.

On a tour of the open-pit mine, I was taken to an overlook to view a blasting site, from which the ore was taken to a crusher. (It takes one to two dump trucks of ore to find a carat of diamonds.)

Driving through the countryside, we saw men each wearing a multicolored blanket walking along the road or riding ponies. The blanket not only provides protection from the heat and cold but is a status symbol. I asked Motlatsi if he had a blanket and he replied, “Yes, but I wear it only on special occasions.”

Conical hats are worn by many. The hat is depicted on Lesotho license plates.

One day is not enough for this unique country.

HENRIETTA HALLAQ
Tucson, AZ