African shoestrings – Lesotho Day seven

Malealea Lodge is at the top of a hill right next to Malealea Village. The lodge itself is a collection of chalets, huts, a dorm and a bar/store dotted among Pine trees and areas of brown lawn. Set to one side away from the other buildings, stood a colonial style house that the old man at the gate pointed us towards.
There we managed to find Mick Jones with his feet up on the veranda overlooking the Malotti. Mick owns and runs Malealea with his wife Di. At the time, Mick stayed all the time at the lodge whilst Di ‘commuted’ to their office in Bloemfontain in South Africa.

We watched Mick from our chalet veranda striding around and barking instructions at his employees in the local lingo, SeSotho, until the afternoon thunderstorms that had been threatening all afternoon, turned on a show.

Thunderstorms are a way of life here. Incredibly more people die in Lesotho from lighting strikes than any other single cause. Which is really surprising considering the way they drive! I suppose the bottom line is that a country as poor as Lesotho, it’s one of the world’s poorest, doesn’t have that many cars but does have plenty of people travelling by foot. When you travel by foot in such a mountainous country the risk of getting struck by lighting is relatively high.

That’s not to say that it’s unsafe to walk around Lesotho, it’s just some care is required during their thunderstorm season in the summer months.

The spectacle of these thunderstorms is a show not to be missed, especially after dark.

Watching this show brought home to us that we were actually living our dream. We were away from our home, family and friends travelling the world without a care, except that constant nagging fear of spending too much money. It was a great feeling and a place like this was what it was all about.

Mother and Boy outside a hut, their home in the mountains of Lesotho

Mother and Boy outside a hut, their home in the mountains of Lesotho

Advertisements

African shoestrings – Lesotho Day six

Malealea Lodge is set in the quaintly called Valley of Paradise that’s about 2200 metres high.
To get to it, after travelling on what can only be described as the ‘road from hell’, 13 kilometres of potholes loose rock and shifting gravel, you have to travel through the “Gates of Paradise”.

This is a pass with such a beautiful vista, that a guy called Mervyn Smith left the words “Wayfarer Pause and Look Upon a Gateway of Paradise” inscribed on a plaque.
Mervyn also founded the Malealea trading post so I guess you could accuse him of being a little bit one eyed.
Even so the view is magnificent and gives the feeling that you are entering a secret valley of gentle rolling hills with a dramatic backdrop of mountains and storm clouds, hidden over the centuries by the locals from the mass commercialism of the white man.
As we stood absorbed by all of this, one of those buses that can only be found in the third world, charged up the hill towards us and came to an abrupt stop amongst it’s own clouds of diesel fumes.
This was the local bus stop and this vehicle was unloading some of it’s cargo of bags, people, children, chooks, goats and anything else that could hang onto the outside or be crammed into the interior, there were even two guys on the roof!
Before I had time to point the camera it was off again, incredibly still jammed packed and leaving behind clouds of black smoke and some of the cutest kids that have ever been put on this earth.
Three of these kids came up to talk us, which we thought was so nice until they stretched out the palm and asked for money or “sweets”.

Young girl from Lesotho looking for her mother on a remote roadside.

Young girl from Lesotho looking for her mother on a remote roadside.