Christmas in Lesotho: 6 Beautiful Adventures to Discover
Call it ‘small but mighty’ and you won’t be wrong. Welcome to Lesotho, Southern Africa’s “jewel of inestimable value”. This is a stunning country in many ramifications, and if you’re looking to doing something different this season, Lesotho is the way to go. For an unforgettable Christmas in Lesotho, here are 6 beautiful adventures to discover as we countdown to Christmas (Egwuonwu; 2015).
1. Sehlabathebe National Park
The Sehlabathebe National Park is situated in the south eastern region of Lesotho. This massive park parades a magnificent array of rock formations unique to this destination. You’ll be awed by the sight of the small lakes, rock art, rock arches as well as a beautiful and unique ecosystem of plants, birds and animals. Despite its fairly inaccessible location (which could be difficult without a 4 wheel drive vehicle), the Prime Minister of Lesotho at the time was reputed to have paid regular visits to the park to engage in trout fishing, a favourite pastime of his. Now that’s one captivating reason to take the plunge (Egwuonwu; 2015).
2. The Dinosaur Footprints
Lesotho is reputed to have some of the world’s largest known sites of dinosaur footprints. If you think dinosaurs never existed, a visit to Lesotho will surely change your mind. This small but beautiful country is a favourite destination of archaeologists, palaeontologists, and enthusiasts of natural evolution. The nation even has a dinosaur named after it – the “Lesothosaurus” – a 1-metre long herbivorous lizard, a very primitive ornithopod from the late Triassic and early Jurassic period 200 – 208 million years ago (Egwuonwu; 2015).
Many dinosaur footprint locations abound within different locations in the country and some can be found at Morija, Subeng Stream (between Leribe and Butha-Buthe) and Tsikoane close to Leribe, Moyeni, Matsient and Mohale’s Hoek and Quthing District at Masitise / Ellenberger’s Cave House (Egwuonwu; 2015).
3. Tse’hlanyane National Park
This is Lesotho’s largest park. Occupying a 5,600-hectare patch of rugged wilderness, the Tse’hlanyane National Park parades a stunning array of high altitude landscapes. It also has a unique collection of undergrowth plants that are unique to this woodland habitat. Despite its distant location, it’s a great place to visit, relax, clear your mind and get some fresh air (Egwuonwu; 2015). Tse’hlanyane National Park is the home of yours truly, Maliba lodge.
4. Kome Cave Dwellings
The Kome Cave is an interesting historical masterpiece which dates back to the early 19th century. Actually, Kome itself is a remarkable village where cave dwellings have been carved and built under towering sandstone rocks. For almost two centuries, these caves have been inhabited, even till date. It is a place called home by descendants of the original inhabitants, the Basia and Bataung clans. The hut-like caves are shaped more like traditional Sotho kilns, built with rock and plastered with a mixture of mud soil and cow dung. Visitors are usually thrilled to learn about the rich history and culture of the people. This prompted the designation of the Kome Cave Dwellings as a National Heritage Site (Egwuonwu; 2015).
5. Maletsunyane / Semonkong Falls
Did you know that the 204-metre Semonkong falls is the highest single drop of water in southern Africa? Also known as the Maletsunyane falls, this beautiful waterfall can be accessed from Semonkong, a 5-kilometre walk along the Maletsunyane River. This is a perfect spot to catch a picturesque view of this majestic cascading of the river into the swimmable pool below.
The spectacular sight of the fall is at its peak when the water flow is highest. At winter, however, the water freezes, spraying the rocks with ice and forming a stunning cage over the pool. It’s also a wonderful sight to behold. Visitors can lodge at the Semonkong Lodge where the adventurous ones can have the unique opportunity to climb the falls and conquer the world’s highest abseil at 204 metres (Egwuonwu; 2015).
Thaba-Bosiu is a national monument in Lesotho, considered the birthplace of the Basotho nation. This is one of the country’s most significant historical sites; and it invokes a sense of identity for the proud nation of Basotho. Thaba-Bosiu literally means “mountain of the night”. It was reportedly the mountain stronghold of “Moshoeshoe the Great”, an ancient ruler and leader of the people. Legend has it that the mountain (though not appearing very high by day) grows by night into an impossibly tall, unconquerable mountain fortress. Even though this story sounds larger than life, Thaba-Bosiu was known to have been attacked many times during Moshoeshoe’s reign, but never conquered.Generally, the Thaba-Bosiu is an interesting place to visit. Its countryside outlook has captivating views that will intrigue you especially the Qiloane pinnacle (the inspiration for the Basotho hat “Mokorotlo”), Moshoeshoe’s grave and the remains of fortifications, among others. Thaba-Bosiu is indeed worth visiting (Egwuonwu; 2015).