It’s early Spring in Lesotho, also called ‘The Mountain Kingdom’, thanks to the magnificent Maluti’s. High up, this independent enclave is completely surrounded by South Africa. Bright pink peach blossoms decorate the landscape, like paint spattered across dusty parchment.
A chill still stirs the thin air, settling on the crisp lawn that’s been rendered to straw. Ramabanta Lodge and its wonderful hostess, Rose, open their arms to our Enduro World tour. This is a training trip for the extreme Roof of Africa race, scheduled for November.
Tough as gladiators in their bulky gear, the bikers tackle endless, rock-strewn gorges. Friday’s epic 5+ hour trail takes its toll. Some of the riders arrive well after nightfall, among sighs of relief all round. Dave’s toes are badly injured, earning my sympathy, mixed with delight at having his company for Saturday 🙂
So we hop into our car and head for the hills, particularly the famous Maletsunyane Falls at Semonkong (‘Place of Smoke’). The highest waterfall in Southern Africa, its single cascade drops 196 metres. Cradled in a spectacular canyon, it steals our breath away!
This place and its people exude peace, as if the rhythm of the seasons remains untarnished. Fields are systematically ploughed by men and their cattle, revealing rich, dark earth beneath winter’s arid dress.
Meanwhile, women carry water and do the washing.
Horses and donkeys are the main mode of transport. Of people and supplies, as we discover when we stop for lunch at Semonkong Lodge. The only patrons present, we’re waited on hand and foot, leaving satisfied and smiling.
Dinner back at Ramabanta is a noisy affair, alive with tales of triumph and torment. Another group of guys is still out in the dark, navigating their way with the help of a few headlights. It’s a dangerous game, enduro riding. Especially in Lesotho, home of one of the world’s most extreme events, The Mother of Hardenduro. But inside, we’re warm, indulging in a delicious home-style dinner, rounded off with cling peaches, drenched in syrup and custard. They’re the legacy of January’s harvest, which filled four hundred bottles! Judging by today’s blossoms, it seems the next one will vie for first place:
We’ll be back, once summer washes the gardens lush green, and Lesotho beckons the Best of the Best back to take on The Roof!
For more photo’s from our trip, you’re welcome to take a look at my Facebook album: Enduro World Lesotho Tour – Sep 2010.