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Woven mats from Elelloang Basali

Must-Have Christmas Gifts From the Maluti Mountains

I went to Lesotho last week for a work assignment. I was in a rush on the drive there, but on the way back I took my time, winding through the Maluti Mountains and visiting some of my favorite places. The Maluti Mountains on the South African side of the Lesotho border. As a travel writer, I’m always trying to discover new things. I rarely visit the same place twice. But there are a few places that are magical and special enough to draw me back again and again. The Elelloang Basali Weaving Centre is one of those places. The Clarens Blanket […]

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Lesotho mountain

Remembering Things in the Land That Grows Rocks

Amidst all the excitement of the #MeetSouthAfrica trip, I nearly forgot that I was going to Lesotho. One of my newest Instagram connections, @nuttywheat, recently referred to Lesotho as “the land that grows rocks”. It’s a perfect description so I’ve decided to adopt it. Anyway, I got home from the #MeetSouthAfrica trip and ran around the house for 36 hours — unpacking, doing laundry, repacking, blogging, and trying (unsuccessfully) to rid myself of a persistent head cold. Then I jumped into my car and drove to Maseru, capital of the Land That Grows Rocks. I didn’t think much about where I was going […]

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An Interesting Story About Blankets

The people of Lesotho are famous for the blankets they wear. The blankets are thick and wooly and have a distinctive type of pattern that is immediately recognizable and unique. Photo of a man wearing a Basotho blanket, which appeared in my recent post about Lesotho. Basotho blankets have an interesting story, as far as blanket stories go. The British first brought the blankets to Lesotho in the mid 19th century — before that time the Basotho kept warm by wearing animal skins. The blankets became popular quickly, and within a few decades they were an established part of Basotho […]

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Malealea: A Vacation for Fun People

My friend Michelle and I have a tradition of meeting up somewhere in Africa over the Christmas holidays. Last year we went to Namibia. This year, Michelle wanted to go somewhere new (not easy, as Michelle has been everywhere), and I wanted to go somewhere within driving distance of Joburg (peak-season flights are too rich for my blood). We decided on Lesotho. Lesotho is beautiful. (If you read my previous post then you already know this.) There’s something about the way the light shines on the mountains. It’s not like any other place.

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Portraits From the Kingdom in the Sky

Very few people in the world know that there is a tiny country in Africa called Lesotho. Fewer still know how to pronounce it. (It’s Leh-SOO-too.) Even fewer still have actually been there, which is a pity because Lesotho is a beautiful, mystical place. Lesotho, which has the highest mountains in Southern Africa, is called the Kingdom in the Sky.  I’m fortunate to live in Lesotho’s closest neighbor — South Africa surrounds Lesotho on all sides — and it’s an easy drive from Joburg. I went there twice on back-to-back work trips in September 2010 and have been yearning to return ever […]

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Heather Went to Lesotho and All I Got Was a Clay Porcupine.

From the Melville Cat: Heather left me over the holidays and went on a trip. Apparently she went to a tiny country called Lesotho, and to a place in South Africa called the Eastern Free State. Heather was gone for nine days. How rude. Here is a photo Heather took in Lesotho, at a place called the Malealea Lodge. I suppose it’s rather pretty.

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Lesotho Redux

2summers has been on hiatus for the last week, as Joe and I were holed up at the Lesotho Sun Hotel in Maseru working on a photo exhibition for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. I didn’t have much time for writing, and even when I did I had a hard time sorting out my thoughts. The Lesotho Sun, Maseru’s only fancy hotel, sits on a big hill overlooking the city. It has a terrace where you can sit and watch the sunset, a pool, a fitness center, a spa, and a casino frequented by Chinese tourists and business people. […]

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Final Thoughts on Lesotho

This trip ended more than a week ago but I still have a few more things to say about it. Driving to Mokhotlong The drive from Maseru to Mokhotlong was about 300 kilometers (168 miles). It took six hours. An hour after leaving Maseru, we reached a police checkpoint. Such checkpoints are common in Africa. Often they serve no apparent purpose – they’re just there. This was one such checkpoint.

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Horse-riding for Health in Mokhotlong

Let me back-track and explain the purpose of our trip to Lesotho. Bear with me because this will take time. On a map, Lesotho looks like a small dot in the middle of South Africa. It’s nick-named “the Kingdom in the Sky” and is one of the few places in Africa where it snows. Lesotho’s Maluti Mountains are among the highest in Southern Africa – many peaks are over 10,000 feet. Typical mountain scene in Lesotho.

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The Weaving Women of Teyateyaneng

I’ve fallen behind and I have such a backlog of things to write about, I’m not sure where to start. I’ll tell a quick story about our trip home from Lesotho and come back to the rest later. We were ready to leave Lesotho at 1:00 yesterday, but discovered Friday afternoon is not a good time to cross the border at Maseru. The line of cars waiting to cross stretched to the horizon. We turned around and headed for the border crossing at Peka, 80 kilometers to the north. Joe fought the frenetic midday traffic out of the city and […]

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The Purple Onion and the Basotho Hat

Joe and I are in Lesotho. We had an exciting day yesterday — here are a few highlights. The Drive It was a five-hour drive from Joburg to Maseru. It was dry and beautiful with lots of cows, windmills, and crazy rock formations. It felt like the American Southwest. We stopped at two interesting places: 1) Makiti, a quirky rest stop/restaurant/lodge/gallery/shop off an exit ramp on the N3 highway, in the middle of South Africa’s Free State. It’s a red adobe dome with giant ant sculptures climbing up the roof and life-size ostrich statues in the yard. Joe says Makiti […]

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