The Kingdom in the sky

Our three days in Lesotho has been one of the highlights of all my overlanding trips so far. The mountain scenery is as good as any I have seen and constantly amazing hour after hour, roads cling to the sides of deep gorges and blue rivers and often run along the ridges of the mountains were the small settlements seem to concentrate. Although the population is sparse the people sport colourful blanket capes and oddly often white wellington boots and balaclavas as they pass walking or on horse or donkey back, very little other traffic is seen just wild and majestic country in the clouds above South Africa. We find lovely new roads, battle through rough old roads, and need to use first or second gear both up the hills and down the hills to avoid burning out the brakes on Nelson which get a bit over hot occasionally. There are great natural sights like the falls at Maletsunyane in the picture below and man made wonders like Katse Dam which we had a tour of including going inside it. However the overwhelming feeling we are left with is of a country of majestic enthralling beauty, which is still partly of the past, but disappearing slowly as access opens up bit by bit
Go while you still can ….

After the Sani Pass we find a good road initially, then we have to turn left, on to this “road” I am thinking this is going to take a while….
The first bridge on the road, without barriers, does not bode well for the remaining 150km
We wind our way up the gravel road in low ratio dodging pot holes
The views from the new road are spectacular around every corner we see new amazing sights
Then surprisingly just as we were getting worried we find a brand new, not on the map, super smooth road across the highlands, perhaps we can still make the dam

We make it to the dam and camp up for the evening as the sun sets, tour planned for the morning
The dam at first light is spectacular with a little bit of morning mist still in the valley we sip our tea and eat breakfast overlooking this sight
Our tour of the dam means we can go inside the massive structure and see the sluice gate mechanisms while learning about its construction and operation
We press on through the highlands on rough tracks sometimes and on twisty steep new roads that test our brakes
Maize and flowers line the roads
Sometimes the road runs right across the top of the ridges with deep valleys falling away on both sides
Another dam lake can just be seen above Nelson these massive lakes supply water to South Africa a good source of revenue for the country
A typical view from the road as we drive along, little villages, well kept and maize plantations in terraces
After eight and a half hours of very tough driving we get to this camping spot in the dark, the next morning in the dawn we realise what a pretty spot it is
We went about four hours out of our way to see the Maletsunyane Falls, it was well worth the diversion, even if it was in the shadow of the morning sun
The road out of Lesotho weaves in and out of valleys like this for hours on end with almost no traffic
We leave Lesotho behind and head on to Bloemfountain back on to the plains of South Africa

About Gerry Mulligan

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