Lesotho – Been There

Getting high on peace in Lesotho

Lesotho (pronounced Ley-soo-too) is often referred to as the Kingdom in the Sky because of its high altitude. Landlocked by South Africa, it is the only country in the world with all its land at more than 1,000 meters above sea level.

Photo by Jacques Marais / Getty Images

Lesotho – Been There

Getting high on peace in Lesotho

Lesotho has enormous potential as a center for adventure travel.

Sue Bryant
Sue Bryant Travel Writer

Maletsunyane Falls is one of the highest waterfalls in southern Africa. A Guinness World Record certificate for the world’s longest single drop abseil, on which you shimmy down a rope drenched in spray from the waterfall, is proudly displayed in the bar where I am drinking.

The following morning, the rain has stopped and we ride to the waterfall. Yet again, I am amazed by the ravishing beauty of this strange and exotic place. The clouds have cleared to reveal high peaks encircling the lodge. We follow the contours of the hillside, past rippling patches of maize and barley. The horses’ hooves squelch in the mud.

One sweeping vista after another unfolds, the constant stream of blanket-clad Basotho creating splashes of brilliant color against the lush green fields. Some are accompanied by donkeys, weighed down by sacks of grain, en route to Semonkong village to shop and trade. Cowbells clank and people shout out greetings to one another.

In such a remote place, where an individual may ride the high mountain trails alone for days to reach a village for supplies, extending greetings to all and sundry is an essential social ritual. “It’s the very depth of rudeness not to greet someone,” says Charles, as we call “Khotso!” (Peace) to everyone we meet.

In the often bitterly cold mountains of Lesotho, it is not unusual to meet a Basotho horseman...

In the often bitterly cold mountains of Lesotho, it is not unusual to meet a Basotho horseman wearing a kobo, which is a patterned woven cloak or blanket. He will raise his hand in the customary greeting “Khotso”, meaning peace. Photo by Chris Jackson / Getty Images

Chris Jackson

Chris Jackson

Agency
Getty Images

In the often bitterly cold mountains of Lesotho, it is not unusual to meet a Basotho horseman wearing a kobo, which is a patterned woven cloak or blanket. He will raise his hand in the customary greeting “Khotso”, meaning peace.