Thursday, January 7, 2016

Lesotho Dec 2015

We left Clarens in South Africa and decided to skim down the border and head into Lesotho.  We knew the peaks of the Drakensberg mountain chain formed part of the border between the two countries and that Lesotho had some stunning scenery in its interior.  It is wholly surrounded by South Africa.
The small homes with majestic backgrounds.

The rocky cliff faces reminded us somewhat of the SW of the USA.  The hard cap rock is nearly flat and the softer rock below is eroded by wind and rain to form some pretty awesome formations.
A welcome drink of brown sherry greeted us at our lodging location of Naleli Guest House in Leribe.

A 3-D wall sculpture in the meeting room next to Reception in the lodge.

Look closely and you'll see that this is the SHOP.  Tiny little store fronts in the middle of nowhere.  The stones come from the fields here.  They just pile them up to make walls and its a shop or a home.

These rondavels with thatched roofs can be made of the same stone, or of sticks or bricks.
This egg-shaped rock was peeling off layers.  Could it be a fossilized dinosaur egg?

A huge vista in the mountains of Lesotho.  The views are huge.

You can see for miles into the valleys here.

A local in his gumboots making the donkeys carry his bags of maize or rice.

More mountain majesty with the rondavels and thatched roofs in the foreground.  One newly thatched roof looks yellow; the grey one is what aging does to them.

Mohair goats roam in these mountains.

Looking back down the valley we've just driven up.

There is a lot of copper in the rocks here.  This rock face is green with some white calcium still attached.

At the top of the Mafika Lisiu mountain pass, 3090 meters high.  If we kept going we would've reached Katse Dam, but we turned around a short distance later and headed back.

Karen at the top of the mountain pass.

Another view of another direction from the mountain top.  It was pretty windy up there.

A spot of bright color at the top of the rocky pass.

A Karen selfie in Lesotho.

The mountain viewing point.

The mountain flakes off in big slabs and chunks and the piles of rubble rock lie next to the roads. 

Some of the slabs of rock look sharp.  The angular break in the rocks make it interesting.  Folks use these slabs as fence posts to wrap the barbed wire around.  They may use sticks or poles for most of the fencing, but every so often they reinforce the fence with a rock slab.
The local herders are always fully covered from head to toe and wearing these gumboots.  You'd think they'd sweat to death in the heat, but very little skin is exposed in this country.

A zoomed in shot of a sharp spire of rock in the range in the distance.
The bigger picture of the range of rocky mountains.
WE just pulled into this info center to turn around.  It was the start of a 4WD-only route.  But the man came out in a full fake fur coat and hat.  Like it was freezing in winter or something!  We were in shorts and t-shirts and had the air conditioner running.  I don't know how he did it.  He must think his coat is really good looking.

Women here carry everything on their heads. 

More rock scenery

One of the sellers along the roadside--Tupperware?  Really? The cloth proclaims they are an authorized seller.

Other stuff is sold along the roads like this.  Just heaps of whatever you have to sell--clothes, bundles of thatching grass, fruit, etc.--just put it out and sit and wait for someone to come along and buy it.
Our room at the Naleli Guest Lodge.  It looked nice but almost nothing really worked.  Still, the receptionist liked us and upgraded us to this room.  They had found bees in it earlier and sprayed for them and she was concerned about the residual smell of the insecticide.    If only they'd worried about the plumbing and water and cleaning the dishes.....

Who needs a bus when a tractor can pull an open cart full of people along the main road?

This white stone was shaped into blocks, bricks, tiles and slabs right where the rock was exposed along the road.  It was sold there, too.  Just chunking away at the mountain to make money.

These mountain peaks were formed eons ago when the escarpment buckled as it was moving.

Spelling isn't the most important thing here, I guess.  They are advertising a Lo-Jack kind of gadget for vehicles.
A crushed water tank on the back of a small pickup truck as we drove through the outskirts of Maseru in Lesotho.

Market day along the roadside in a village where we stopped to buy gasoline.  We found the gas here cheaper than anywhere in South Africa.

A cattle herder moving his cattle along the road.  He is wearing a traditional hat that is the symbol of Lesotho.

Most vehicles are overloaded here.  Must be moving day for someone.

Kids ride the donkeys here.  The bag of maize is like a padded saddle for him.
Sharp tooth-like mountain peak in the distance.

The gas station has an armed guard standing on the property.  Yes, that's a big gun slung over his shoulder while he drinks a Coke.

A truck full of watermelons for sale across the street.

The license plates here sport a picture of the traditional hat worn by the men here.  They really do look like that, with the knob on top and all.

I liked this lady's fancy woven hat, too.

Even with the hat on, this lady carries her basket of goods on her head.

Wheelbarrows for the men, heads for the ladies to transport just about anything and everything.  My neck hurts just looking at this.

One little Isuzu pickup pulling two trailers with three huge water tanks on each one.  This would be interesting to watch in a strong cross wind.

At the border, we saw a truck with all these new wheelbarrows heading in.  After all, Christmas is coming.
At first I thought this was another view of scorched earth from a fire.  But it was just really black dirt.  It was plowed and ready for planting, but I couldn't remember seeing dirt so black before.

A cool rock formation.  To me it looks like two cartoon hippos standing and kissing.
Most of the people in Lesotho didn't smile or wave back at us.  Only the folks in the tourism industry were nice to us.  One guy flipped us off as we drove past, just because....
While Lesotho has some magnificent scenery, you could see the other side of the mountains from South Africa and probably get a warmer reception. 

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