9 Day trip
8 nights/9 days
Departure from Underberg in the morning. Our journey takes us west on tar road into the heart of East Griqualand where we turn off onto dirt roads. An area of wide open spaces, rolling plains, numerous mountains and crystal clear streams. A place for trout fishing, bike riding, 4x4 Adventures and a whole lot more. Drive through the rolling hills of maize- and potato fields, grassland with cattle, sheep and White Storks, Pine Forests and mountains showing in the distance. After the border formalities we enter the Kingdom in the Sky- Lesotho. Picnic lunch on route. On the tar road, which was built in the 1970s, we proceed along the Orange River. A very steep mountain pass an dirt road leads us past little villages with vegetable gardens, crossing small streams. At 2.080m we stop at the "Christ the King" viewpoint with a beautiful view into the valley below and mountains around.
After breakfast we break up the camp and enjoy a beautiful dirt road leading through the gorge containing the Quthing River. The area is wild, rocky and famous for its Aloes. Here Chief Moorosi fought a battle against the British. One of the memories is Fort Henley. This sandstone building, erected in 1900 by the British, serves today as a Trading Store. Discover ancient Dinosaur Footprints, which were created over millions of years ago and are now converted to stone. Lunch at Quthing. Moyeni (Quthing) means "Place of the Wind" and is the southerly town in Lesotho. It was chosen by the British as an administration center. In the afternoon a visit of the Cave House, which was built 1866 by Rev. Ellenberger. Time of leisure. Dinner at the hotel.
Breakfast at the hotel. Travel north crossing the Orange River on the Seake Bridge, which is 191 m long and the longest bridge in the country. Built in England, shipped to South Africa and carried by wagon on road to Lesotho. Stretching our legs with a 20min. walk up the mountain to view the Cannibal Caves. There are several caves inter-leading where in the 1820s people were forced to practice cannibalism in order to survive. Picnic lunch on route. Descending the twisting mountain pass with panoramic views of the Makhaleng Valley. Dominating the mountain here is the impressive Thaba Putswa (2.908m). Dinner at the lodge.
Breakfast at the lodge. Continue north on good dirt roads. Scenic drive through bushy landscape, small forests and farmlands dotted with picturesque villages, dense shrubs used by locals for medical purposes, eg. the "Wild Als Bush", a remedy for asthma and flu or the "ChiChi Bush" (Old Wood) for stomach problems. Basalt stone with hardened volcanic bubbles. Descend the pass to a view point at -1.860m into the awesome valley. Picnic lunch on route. Afternoon at leisure within the beautiful surrounding of Ramabanta. Dinner at the Trading Post.
Hearty breakfast prepared by Chef Patrick, we get ready for an exciting journey over the summit of the Thaba Putswa Range via Makheka's Pass and across the basalt moorland of Southern Africa to Semonkong, the Place of Smoke. View stop at 2.260m before we reach the summit of the Makheka's Pass at 2.860m. Panoramic views into the valley farmlands. The grassland is dotted with yellow flowers (Euryaps), white Arum Lilies, bright red and yellow Red-Hot Pokers and other wild flowers. The pass is very rugged before and after the summit. Lunch at the lodge. In the afternoon visit the spectacular Maletsunyane Falls, the longest single-drop waterfall in Southern Africa (197m). Dinner at the lodge.
Breakfast on the verandah or in the restaurant at the lodge. We head back to Moitsupeli, on tar road to Roma. We climb steadily to the top of Nkesi's Pass (2010m), a superb view of the 3096m Thaba Putswa can be seen. Just before Roma the altitude drops and we drive through spectacular white sandstone rocks and valleys. Nearby is Thaba Telle at 2.530m, which is climbed by mountaineers. The city of Roma is the center of the Roman Catholic Church in Lesotho and since 1964 the site of the national University of Lesotho. Roma was found in1862 when King Moshoeshoe granted the site to Bishop Allard and Father Gerard. Lunch in Roma. Afternoon visit of the Morija Museum with its collection of San Art, dinosaur footprints, books, clay pots, fossils and old tools used by various tribes. The Moeder Craft Center is housed in the oldest building in Morija, (1843), where one may purchase a variety of tapestries, Mohair shoals, souvenirs, etc. With a little luck we could see the King at his Royal Residence. Dinner at the guesthouse.
After a good breakfast we depart for Mashai. We drive past Peach Trees and mountains of white sandstone on tar road to the Mohale Dam. Our Guide takes care of the security checkpoint. The Mohale Dam was built (1998-2003) in a joint venture of Germany, Italy and South Africa. Climbing up the Malimo Nthuso Pass "God help me", to the summit at 2320m. Descend the valley which climbs again to 2620m, the Blue Mountain Pass. Named after the 2900m high Thaba Putswa (Blue Mountain), which dominates the range in the north. The pass descends steeply into the Likalaneng Valley. Leaving the dam area our Guide will check out at the security post. Picnic lunch on route. We ascend the pass an dirt road, dotted with low shrubs and wild flowers, and Red-Hot Pokers. A long, curving road into the valley of the Senqunyane River. Pass the Trading Store and Police Post of Marakabei, named after a Chief in the area. The road crosses the Senqunyane River, also known as the Little Orange River, is one of the principal upper tributaries of the Orange River. We climb to the summit of the Tshetshe Pass, 2560m, immediately descend into the Matsonyane River Valley (small black), driving higher up the mountains with its dark basalt stone, covered in snow in winter. Awesome views, lonely herd-boys on the mountain slopes; the gentle sound of their "Lesibas" floating on the wind. At an altitude of 2900m Mountain Reedbuck find they way on the steep slopes. Follow the long, windy mountain road into the Highlands of Lesotho. At 3000m there are no trees growing. Donkeys are heavily loaded with goods or shrubs, herded by horsemen in their colourful blankets. Cross the Mashai River, which is flooded if the sluice gates of the Katse Dam are opened. Dinner at the restaurant
Breakfast at the hotel. Cairns within the mountains for the shepherds to protect their sheep and cattle from wild animals. (Ask your Guide for details). Steep gorges and valleys, dotted with Basotho huts. Watch Yellow Billed Storks and Black Eagle in flight. The landscape is spiked with Red-Hot Pokers in summer. Picnic lunch on route. At 3003m, spectacular view into the valley. The "Pyjama Flower' on the side of the road, used for traditional purposes, growing at 1800m- 3000m. Take the "Garden Route" near St. James Mission, rugged and adventurous experience. Ascend Black Mountain Pass (3280m), following the Senqu River. Awesome view of Hodgon's Peaks and Giant's Cup. Descend the pass, head for Sani Top. Afternoon at leisure, relax at the Sani Stone Lodge. Dinner at the restaurant.
After breakfast at the chalet, our guide will take care of border formalities. Descend the legendary Sani Pass to Underberg. This steep pass with its hairpin bends offers unparalleled vistas of the Sani Valley and Drakensberg Escarpment situated in the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park, a World Heritage Site. Viewing of 12 Apostles, one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world. Stop at the Good Hope Trading Store, built in 1917 by John White-Smith who was a trader in Mohair and wool. Arrival in Underberg about lunch time.
Transfers and accommodation in Underberg/Himeville can be arranged at an additional cost.