We’ve arrived in Lesotho! It’s been a bit of an adventure. Chris and I left Dublin yesterday morning and took an 8 hour flight to Dubai followed by another 8 hour flight to King Shaka Airport in Durban. From there we picked up our hired Jeep and hit the road for Matatielle, a town on the South African side of the border with Lesotho. The drive went with out a hitch but we didn’t get to enjoy what I’m sure were spectacular views. On my Satnav I could see we were driving for hours right along the east coast of South Africa but it was too dark to see anything but the road in front of us. I did however have my first experience of an African sunset. I’d never seen anything like it before. The colours blended from red to orang to yellow with a strangely beautiful green hue mixed in there too. I think I’m going to like Africa.
After about 5 hours driving we arrived at the Resthaven Guesthouse in Matatielle just after midnight. Philip the owner was waiting up for us and welcomed us in. Jill, who runs the Pulane Children’s Centre had recommended Resthaven to us and she wasn’t wrong. We had a great overnight stay and some much appreciated rest.
This morning after a great breakfast from Philip we hit the road again for the Qachas Nek border crossing into Lesotho. We’d been advised to hire a 4×4 jeep and were glad we took that advice once we hit the roads outside Matatielle. The road was like nothing you’d experience back in Ireland (even in the worst pothole filled back roads). It was full of holes and large rocks that we had to navigate through. I captured some images of the roads using Mapillary for the Map Lesotho project that you can view here if you like: http://www.mapillary.com/profile/robduff
Eventually we reached the Qachas Nek border. We got through the border without trouble. One thing that did stand out to me though was the difference between the inspection point on the South African side of the border and the one in Lesotho. On the South African side we got out of the jeep and entered into a modern office where a uniformed border guard at a computer took our details. A couple of minutes later and about 100 feet further down the road we got out of the jeep again to enter the border control in Lesotho where we entered a more ramshackle office where a couple of people were gathered around a gas fire and we physically signed a big old log book which it seems they use to track whose coming in or out of the country. Though the staff in both office were equally friendly and helpful it was a stark contrast and clearly indicative of the resources and technology available to the different offices.
Anyway, we made it. We’re in Lesotho and its spectacularly beautiful.
Looking forward to seeing what happens next.