Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Lesotho Adventure 4: Semonkong

Riding: 26 km
Hiking: 8.4 km

Semonkong lodge is on the up-river side of the falls, and on the opposite side of the canyon into which it falls. You can either ride around the canyon to view the falls from the opposite side, or hike along the river to see it from the top. The lodge also arrange donkey-tours to the falls if you're tired of your bike by now.

 If you feel adventurous, you can take on the world's highest commercial abseil just next to the falls (which includes a hike out of the gorge.)

We took the bikes on the dirt-road around. It is 13 km one-way on interesting gravel road with shallow water crossings and some steep up- and downhills. 

The Lesotho sky (mountain bike event) had a stage in this area last year, and it's easy to see why event organisers would want to include this in the route. The thin air together with the hills would make this a very tough event, though ... Lesotho is not flat.

The afternoon Hardy and I hiked along the river to the waterfall. It's an 8.4 km round-trip, a bit over 2 hours. Follow the river from the lodge all the way down to the falls, or stay on the higher ground inland (an easier route). Cross the river at the bridge about a km upstream from the falls, so that you can get a clearer view of the falls where they drop.

The waterfall looks a lot higher if you view it from right next to where it falls.

You could swim in the river (just next to the campsite) after your hike ... or just go for a hot shower if the March air is too nippy and the sun is already down.

The Duck & Donkey (the lodge's tavern) has excellent lunches. The dinner menu has fewer options (2 options per night, but a new choice each day) and you have to book otherwise you wont get space - the restaurant was fully booked and a bit squeezed the night that we were there. Eating there felt a bit like the 'youth hostels' that I used when I bicycle-toured in Europe many years ago: travelers from all over Southern Africa and indeed from around the world, all on their own adventures and with different tales of the places where they've been to and where they want to go next.

If you braai or make a potjie, be careful of the ducks - they tried to steal food off our plates while we were eating. (and please don't feed them ... at least not while you're eating ...)

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