Africa Tours and Safaris
8 Day Lesotho Overland

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Itinerary:

Day 1: 
Departure in the morning from Underberg. Stop at the Good Hope Trading Store, originated in 1917 by John White-Smith. Ascending the legendary Sani Pass with its hairpin bends offering unparalleled vistas of the Sani Valley and Drakensberg Escarpment situated within the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park, one of our World Heritage Sites. Proteas along the road, proceed to viewing of 12 Apostles. These geological structures are one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world. Our Guide is taking care of the border formalities. At the summit at 2.874m we stop for refreshment at the Sani Top Chalet, the Highest Pub in Africa. Thereafter we proceed to the village and the Basotho culture will be explained. Ascending the Black Mountain Pass up to 3.280m, following the Mkomazi River. Nearby the highest mountain in Southern Africa, Thabana Ntlenyana with 3.482m, meaning “the little mountain which is a little nice”. Lunch stop at Mokhotlong, named after the Bald Ibis, the National Bird of Lesotho. Guided tour at the Letsieng Diamond Mine, the highest mine in the world. Our journey takes us on tar road onto the summit of the highest road in Africa, the Tlaeeng Pass (3.385m) – The Roof of Africa. Slightly lower is the Pass of Guns with 3.240m, pass the Mahlasela Ski Slope to Oxbow within a Ski Resort. All mountains are covered in snow in winter. Dinner at the lodge.
Overnight: Oxbow Lodge within a Ski Resort, Oxbow, Lunch & Dinner

Day 2:
Breakfast at the lodge. Departing for the twisting tar road to the summit of the Moteng Pass, with 2.840m one of the highest roads attained by normal two-wheel-drive vehicles in Southern Africa. This is the basalt roof of Southern Africa, a world of winter snows, frozen waterfalls, crisp clear air and crystal streams with fat trout. Descending into the Holola Valley (River of the Blue Crane), pass spectacular overhangs and rugged countryside to Butha-Buthe. On our way to Hlotse strange, richly colored rock shapes may be seen on all sides, creating the effect of a vast assembly of weird, petrified figures. Pass a few missions and several rock shelters where Bushmen Paintings may be seen, the main road passes the Leribe Farmers Training Center to the town of Hlotse. Continue on the Nelson Mandela Road, crossing the Malibamatso River (River of dark Pools) where the great Katse Dam has been constructed from 1991 – 1997. Our Guide is taking care of the security checkpoint. The Katse Dam is the second largest dam in the world and supplies water to Witwatersrand (Gauteng, Soweto, Farming, Mining) in South Africa and irrigates the lowlands in Lesotho. Video Presentation and Guided Tour into the dam wall. Lunch at Katse Dam Lodge. Afternoon at leisure. Dinner at the lodge.
Overnight: Katse Dam Lodge, Katse Dam. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 3:
Breakfast at the lodge. Today we travel a long way to Roma. The dirt road leads us to the town of Thaba Tseka. Heading west, leaving the highlands with its dark basalt stones. We climb steeply to the summit of the Tshetshe Pass, 2.560m, the road crosses the Senqunyane River, also known as the Little Orange River, is one of the principal upper tributaries of the Orange River. Picnic lunch on route. Our Guide will take care of the security checkpoint. Ascending the Blue Mountain Pass to 2.620m, named after the 2.900m high Thaba Putswa (Blue Mountain), which dominates the range in the north. The Mohale Dam was constructed from 1998 – 2003 in a joint venture of Germany, Italy and South Africa. Leaving the dam area our Guide will check out at the security post. On tar road we drive past mountains of white sandstone to Roma. The city is the principal center of the Roman Catholic Church in Lesotho and since 1964 the site of the National University of Lesotho. Roma was found in 1862 when King Moshoeshoe granted the site to Bishop Allard and Father Gerard. Dinner at the guesthouse.
Overnight: Trading Post Guesthouse, Roma. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 4:
Breakfast at the guesthouse. On tar road we ascend the Nkesi’s Pass (2.010m) from where a superb view of the 3.096m Thaba Putswa Range can be seen. On dirt road we travel across the basalt moorland of Southern Africa to Semonkong, “the Place of Smoke”. View stop at 2.260m before we reach the summit of the Makheka’s Pass with 2.860m. Panoramic views into the valley with farmlands. The grassland is dotted with the yellow flowers of Euryops, the white Arum Lilies, the bright red and yellow colours of the Red-Hot Pokers and plenty of other wild flowers. The road becomes very rugged before and after the summit. Lunch at the lodge. In the afternoon visit the spectacular Maletsunyane Falls. The longest single drop waterfall in Southern Africa (197m). We have to double-back the route to Moitsupeli. A scenic drive through bushy landscape, small forests and farmland dotted with picturesque villages. Along the road dense bushes and shrubs used by locals for medical purposes. At the roadside basalt stone with hardened bubbles. Our destination houses a popular Pony Trekking Center and is situated in secluded woodland surrounded by beautiful countryside. Dinner at the lodge.
Overnight: Malealea Lodge, Malealea. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 5:
After breakfast at the lodge we continue traveling north on dirt roads in good conditions. We descend the pass to a viewpoint at 1.860m to look down to the awesome valley. We have to double-back the route to Roma. Just before the town the road looses altitude and we drive through spectacular white sandstone rocks and valleys. Lunch in Roma. In the afternoon visit of the Morija Museum with its collection of Bushmen Art, Dinosaurs footprints, Books, Clay Pots, Fossils, old tools used by various tribes and good explanations. The Moeder Craft Center is housed in the oldest building in Morija, erected in 1843, where one may purchase a variety of tapestries, Mohair shoals, Souvenirs, etc. With a little luck we can have a glimpse of the King at his Royal Residence. Dinner at the guesthouse.
Overnight: Trading Post Guesthouse, Roma. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 6:
After a good breakfast we depart for a long day to Mashai. We drive past Peach Trees and mountains of white sandstone on tar road to the Mohale Dam. Our Guide will take care of the security checkpoint. Climbing up the Molimo Nthuso Pass, meaning “God help me”, to the summit of 2.320m. Descending into the valley the windy road climbs again to an altitude of 2.620m, the Blue Mountain Pass. The pass descends steeply into the Likalaneng Valley. Leaving the dam area our Guide will check out at the security post. Picnic lunch on route. We ascend the pass on dirt road, dotted with low shrubs and wild flowers, inclusive the Red-Hot Poker in summer. A long, curving road into the valley of the Senqunyane River. We pass the Trading Store and Police Post of Marakabei, named after a Chief in this area. The road crosses the Senqunyane River, also known as the Little Orange River. Driving higher up the mountains with its dark basalt stone, covered in snow in winter. Awesome views, lonely herd-boys on the mountain slopes; the gentle sound of their “Lesibas” floating on the wind. At an altitude of 2.900m Mountain Reedbuck find they way on the steep slopes. Follow the long, windy road into the Highlands of Lesotho. At this altitude of +-3.000m there are no more trees growing. Donkeys are heavily loaded with goods or shrubs, herded by horsemen in their colourful blankets. Cross the Mashai River, which is flooded if the sluice gates of the Katse Dam are opened. Refreshment stop at a local shabeen (pub) before we proceed for the last few kilometers to our destination. Finally arriving at the self-catering lodge, enjoy the sunset while relaxing on the swing-chair. Dinner: self-catering in fully equipped kitchen. Communal bathroom.
Overnight: Mashai Lodge, Mashai. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 7:
Late breakfast at the lodge. Double-back route to the shabeen (pub) along the Mashai River. Rocky mountains and hills with patches of maize fields where Basotho’s work on their land with loving care. Cairns within the mountains for the shepherds to protect their sheep and cattle from wild animals. (Ask your Guide for details). Steep gorges and valleys, dotted with little Basotho huts. Watch Yellow Billed Stork and Black Eagle in flight. The landscape is spiked with thousands of Red-Hot Pokers. Picnic lunch on route. At the summit of 3.003m, spectacular view into the valley. The “Pyjama Flower” on the side of the road, used for traditional purposes, growing at an altitude of 1.800m – 3.000m. Take the “Garden Route” near the St. James Mission, a very rugged and adventures experience. Ascend Black Mountain Pass up to 3.280m, following the Mkomazi River. Awesome view of Hodgon’s Peaks and the Giants Cup. Descending the pass and heading for our next accommodation. The rest of the afternoon at leisure, relax at the “Highest Pub in Africa” at 2.874m. Dinner at the restaurant.
Overnight: Sani Top Chalet, Sani Pass

Day 8:
After breakfast at the chalet our Guide will take care of the border formalities. Descending the Sani Pass beneath towering cliffs, buttresses, past waterfalls and unique flora and bird life. Following the Mkomazi River back to Underberg. Arrival about lunch time. Travel to Durban.
Note: Transfer to Durban and/or accommodation in Underberg can be arranged for an additional cost.

 

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