Lesotho – journey to the Kingdom in the Sky

Lesotho – journey to the Kingdom in the Sky
A typical scene on the road down from the Sani Pass and the Afriski ski resort into the lowlands. Indigenous vegetation is hard to find, with eucalyptus, willows, poplars and peach blossoms dotting the landscape. (Photo: Angus Begg)

Whether by felling trees or herding sheep, the Basotho have shaped the landscape, with some of the transport blanks filled in by Chinese highways that, regardless of the trade-off involved, make the traveller’s journey.

A series of sandy twists and turns, switchbacks and birds for the twitcher’s checklist – that’s Lesotho’s Sani Pass in a nutshell. Bearded vultures with wedge-shaped tails, which the Germans delightfully named lammergeiers, pierce the space between peaks that stand as though they are on guard. The other side of a border post – to which raiding Basotho horse thieves pay little attention – reveals village life on the tundra, surrounded by stone kraals and wrapped in the country’s iconic blankets.

The Basotho cannot be separated from their ponies. They’re in their DNA. (Photo: Angus Begg)

Basotho blankets are an everyday part of winter or summer in the Lesotho highlands. There is a different colour for each region of the country. (Photo: Angus Begg)

Angora goats provide the wool so important to Lesotho’s exports. (Photo: Angus Begg)

A sunset with a view towards Hlotsi village. (Photo: Angus Begg)

Aloe polyphylla, valued for its perfect spiral, grows in the Drakensberg and Maluti mountains. (Photo: Angus Begg)


The Roof of Africa. (Photo: Angus Begg)

The story of the Sani Pass being tarred hovers between legend and myth. Maybe it’s in the offing, but if so, it’s a long way off. Torque is king, and sedans suffer here. (Photo: Angus Begg)



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