Cape Town to Tanzania 2014

Solo trip for 12 months - Toyota Hiace 4x4 van

Landscapes of Lesotho

April 21, 2015  —  Lesotho

Road from Sani Pass to Butha-Buthe

Road from Sani Pass to Butha-Buthe - Lesotho

Most of the time, people travel from point A to point B to visit the nicest sites of a country. The road is sometimes boring, but sometimes it can be quite awesome. In Lesotho, the road between two tourist sites is often nicer than the sites themselves.

I loved each kilometre that I drove in Lesotho. The landscapes are awesome, villages are picturesque and villagers are proud of their culture and also very friendly despite the language barrier.

Road from Sani Pass to Butha-Buthe - Lesotho
There are a lot of villages in the mountains.
Road from Sani Pass to Butha-Buthe - Lesotho
Many plots of flat land are cultivated.
Road from Sani Pass to Butha-Buthe - Lesotho
This river bed is shaped like a horseshoe.
Road from Sani Pass to Butha-Buthe - Lesotho

Yes, it is possible to ski in Africa. This small ski resort is open a few months each year and is also fitted with snowblowers.

Road from Sani Pass to Butha-Buthe - Lesotho
Chair lift with a diesel generator in case of a power cut.
Road from Sani Pass to Butha-Buthe - Lesotho
The ski resort in the centre and some cottages.
Road from Sani Pass to Butha-Buthe - Lesotho
Road from Sani Pass to Butha-Buthe - Lesotho
Road from Sani Pass to Butha-Buthe - Lesotho
The ski trails are not very long.
Road from Sani Pass to Butha-Buthe - Lesotho

When we look at a map of Lesotho, we have the impression that distances are short. At bird flight, a village could be 20 km away, but when we drive along the winding road through the mountains via numerous passes, the total drive can be double the length, some 40 km or more.

For example, the village of Malealea was about 5 km at bird flight from where I was... I had to drive 15 km of trails to reach the place.

Road from Sani Pass to Butha-Buthe - Lesotho
Broken down truck on the road.
Road from Sani Pass to Butha-Buthe - Lesotho
Winding road through the pass.
Road from Sani Pass to Butha-Buthe - Lesotho
Road from Sani Pass to Butha-Buthe - Lesotho
Road from Sani Pass to Butha-Buthe - Lesotho
Typical village.
Road from Sani Pass to Butha-Buthe - Lesotho
Agriculture near the river.
Road from Sani Pass to Butha-Buthe - Lesotho
The road is vanishing away on the mountain on the right.
Road from Sani Pass to Butha-Buthe - Lesotho
The road is seen above the electrical wires and winding down at the bottom of the pass (in the centre).
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Road from Ts'Ehlanyane Park to Mafika Lisiu Pass

Road from Ts'Ehlanyane Park to Mafika Lisiu Pass - Lesotho
Shepherd's house.
Road from Ts'Ehlanyane Park to Mafika Lisiu Pass - Lesotho
A shepherd and his 'car'.
Road from Ts'Ehlanyane Park to Mafika Lisiu Pass - Lesotho
Road from Ts'Ehlanyane Park to Mafika Lisiu Pass - Lesotho
Road from Ts'Ehlanyane Park to Mafika Lisiu Pass - Lesotho
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Mafika Lisiu Pass

Mafika Lisiu Pass - Lesotho

This pass goes up by about 1000 metres in only a few kilometres. It is one of the most impressive roads that I drove.

Mafika Lisiu Pass - Lesotho
The road winds through the mountain side.
Mafika Lisiu Pass - Lesotho
The road disappears in the clouds.
Mafika Lisiu Pass - Lesotho
Mafika Lisiu Pass - Lesotho
Mafika Lisiu Pass - Lesotho
At the pass viewpoint, I got quite a surprise. I was waiting for a break in the clouds to take some photos of the pass when it started to hail, snow and rain. Moreover, there were some impressive lightning with deafening thunder claps that seemed to explode only a few metres away from me. I even managed to make a movie of a lightning stroke...
Mafika Lisiu Pass - Lesotho
After the snow, cars were going down at 5-10 km/h in the slush.
Mafika Lisiu Pass - Lesotho
Very cold night; ice in the morning...
Mafika Lisiu Pass - Lesotho
Mafika Lisiu Pass during the storm. Snow can be seen on the ground.
Mafika Lisiu Pass - Lesotho
The next morning, the snow has melted away.
Road from Mafika Lisiu Pass to Katse Dam - Lesotho

Driving in Lesotho is well described by this road sign.

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The lowlands

In the highlands (2500 metres and above), the farmers mainly own sheep, goats, or cows. They do little agriculture since the climate and the soil is not very appropriate for it.

In the lowlands (2000 metres), it's the other way around. Large areas of land are cultivated and villages are numerous.

Lowlands - Lesotho
Lowlands - Lesotho
Lowlands - Lesotho
Lowlands - Lesotho
Lowlands - Lesotho
Lowlands - Lesotho
Young shepherd with a typical hat of the area.
Lowlands - Lesotho
Lowlands - Lesotho
Lowlands - Lesotho
Lowlands - Lesotho
Lowlands - Lesotho