Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Lesotho Adventure 3: Ramabantha to Semonkong

Lesotho Long weekend adventure 3: Ramabantha to Semonkong
49 km
1452m vertical ascent

After yesterday's long day, it was just a short distance from Ramabantha to Semonking. The road is in great condition - recently tarred, very little traffic and no potholes.

I love the Drakensberg in Autumn - everything is green, but the bulk of the summer thundershowers is over and it's not too cold yet. Same must be true for Lesotho - everything is green, with patches of pink cosmos scattered inbetween.

There's only one 'hill' between Ramabantha and Semonkong - as far as a 1468m ascent can be considered a 'hill'.

The last bit of uphill on the only climb for the day was so steep that the taxi had to engage 'low range' to get up there - zig-zagging his way up the hill. I was glad I was on the TW and not on a mountain bike.

We would have time to explore the waterfall the next day, so we ignored the signs pointing to the waterfall and went straight for Semonkong. Hardy was disappointed that the old bridge over the Maletsunyane river (that becomes the falls a few km downstream) was replaced by a shiny new one. The old one looked more interesting ...

To get to the lodge, you go through Semonkong's 'CBD' and then an interesting little road shared with donkeys and horse-riders.

The campsite at Semonkong is way more rustic than the one at Ramabanta. It was also a lot busier - while we were the only campers at Ramabanta, Semonkong's campsite was full. This was the only campsite where we booked in advance, and we were glad we did so.

If you're ever in Semonkong, ask at the Lodge's restaurant for Elizabeth, the blanket lady, and see if you can arrange a blanket tour (R65-100 pp, depending on how many people). She's a great source of info about Basotho blankets, but even more so about the history, stories and culture. The local store has tuna, cheese sauce, rice and pasta and basic vegetables, but if you're planning to braai, maybe consider bringing your own meat. If you're braaiing, ask at the restaurant if you could buy a flat round bread to go with supper.

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