Scenic drives

The mountainous terrain of Lesotho lends itself to scenic and sometimes very exciting drives. Some routes are strictly for 4×4 vehicles only, but many can be tackled in a normal vehicle. 

Jobo Adventure

A mountain drive to the Ribaneng Valley. The first section is for all vehicles. The last section is strictly for experienced 4×4 drivers.

  • Start out at Malealea Lodge.
  • Drive for 3km.
  • Follow the left fork at Likhohloaneng for another 3km, until you go through “The Gates of Paradise Pass”.
  • Enjoy the spectacular view of the “Roof of Africa”.
  • Follow this road for another 1km.
  • Turn left.
  • You will have a good view of the gorge on the right, the snow-capped mountains in winter and the villages scattered around.
  • Up to this point the road is good in all weather.
  • After 7km of driving on the plateau, you will reach the village of Ha Qaba. There are a few potholes and an average of 40 – 50 km/h is advised.
  • The road winds down to the Sekering, with a beautiful gorge on the left.
  • 9km from Qaba, the road makes a 180-degree turn to the river on the left. Follow this small two-track road for 400m along the riverbank.
  • Turn right at the poplar trees (a good picnic spot) to cross the river. Here a high lift jack or a second vehicle would be recommended.
  • Our Basotho Guide asked me the Million Dollar question, after being stuck in the river sand for 30 minutes, “Why do you go through the river if the bridge is just around the corner???” This is open to suggestions!
  • Follow the road left up the escarpment on the opposite riverbank.
  • Follow the two-track road straight into Kakoanyane village.
  • Turn left onto the “main road”. Follow this road past the Ribaneng High School. When you have travelled 9km from the river, the road will fork. Take the right fork. (The left fork will take you down the pass into the Ribaneng valley- also a great trip to explore).
  • Follow this right winding road through villages for another 4km on the main road. Take the right fork. The road is badly eroded and a 4×4 is recommended.
  • As you follow the winding roads through the villages, remember the following code of makeshift flags, colouring the landscape. Stop and sample, if you dare, the following goods:
    • White flag – Beer made of sorghum. Recommended for a strong stomach.
    • Yellow flag – Beer made of barley
    • Green flag – selling vegetables
    • Red flag – selling meat
  • 4×4 track starts – DO NOT ATTEMPT IN WET WEATHER
  • Follow the mountain pass, at times very steep and difficult. Not recommended for novice drivers.
  • On your way up, don’t forget to absorb the beauty of the Ribaneng Gorge on the left and the Jobo Gorge on the right.
  • The last 100m are the most difficult. It should only be done by very experienced drivers as there is no turn-around point and a very tricky three point turn is required to follow the same route back down the mountain. I would advise your passengers to leave the car at this stage!!!
  • When you get to the dead end on top, it is advised you take the 20-minute hike to the top of the mountain where a village, Jobo is situated with the most spectacular views of Lesotho you can ever imagine. It is this view and the challenge of the treacherous mountain pass, which makes this 4×4 route a must to any visitor in the area with the necessary experience.
  • On your return home take the Qaba – Malealea 4×4 route.

Qaba to Malealea

This route across the lands is for 4×4 only

  • Start out at Malealea Lodge.
  • Drive for 3km.
  • Follow the left fork at Likhohloaneng for another 3km, until you go through “The Gates of Paradise Pass”.
  • Enjoy the spectacular view of the “Roof of Africa”.
  • Follow this road for another 1km.
  • Turn left.
  • You will have a good view of the gorge on the right, the snow-capped mountains in winter and the villages scattered around.
  • Up to this point the road is good in all weather.
  • After 7km of driving on the plateau, you will reach the village of Ha Qaba. There are a few potholes and an average of 40 – 50 km/h is advised.
  • Turn right at Ha Qaba Lodge
  • Follow this road for 1.5km
  • Turn right.
  • 300m ahead, turn right.
  • 800m ahead, turn left 800m
  • 300m, ahead, turn left
  • 400m ahead, turn
  • 300m ahead, cross the river on the right and head up the steep embankment.
  • Follow this road for 1.6 km.
  • Turn right onto the main road to Malealea Lodge. Here you will have your hosts welcoming you with a lovely hot shower, a good old bottle of Tassies and a scrumptious meal cooked by Aggie and Mantumeng. Sit around a fire at night with travellers from all around the world and can enjoy the tranquility and share a love for Africa.

Botsoela Waterfall Drive

A morning drive past the Botsoela Waterfall with a circular route through remote villages back to Malealea. This leisurely 2-hour drive can be tackled in a normal vehicle but is spectacular in a 4×4. It should be attempted in DRY WEATHER ONLY. This hand-built road hugs the side of a mountain.

  • Leave Malealea Lodge
  • Drive back towards the “Gates of Paradise Pass”.
  • Take the right fork 3kms from Malealea Lodge.
  • Continue for 14.1kms.
  • Leave the vehicle at the bottom of the pass. En-route the 14.1kms do not take the road going straight, but turn sharp right to go down the pass.
  • To get to the top of the waterfall look out point, hike downstream for about 500m on the right side of the stream.
  • Hike over the small stream and continue around the top of the gorge to the far point. This is the best view of the waterfall and Botsoela stream gorge.
  • The first view of the waterfall is not the best one. From here you can see the path going down to the waterfall on the left hand side of the stream. You can take the path to join the pony trekkers.
  • Continue the drive from the waterfall up the pass for about 5km until you reach the viewpoint.
  • Walk up a small hill to view the panoramic scene of Malealea and it’s valleys.
  • Either backtrack to the lodge with views in opposite directions or continue on a circular route taking all the left turns, until you are back at Malealea via “The Gates of Paradise.”

Makhaleng Boat Crossing

Test your 4×4 by going to the top of the Makhaleng River.
This drive is follows a 4×4 and is perfect for an evening sundowner special

  • Turn sharp left outside the wooden gate of the lodge.
  • Go past the woolshed on the left and past the Makheteng School on the right
  • 300m ahead, take the right fork.
  • Keep right and follow all the right tracks until you drive to the top of the gorge.

Malealea to Maletsunyane Waterfall at Semonkong

This is a full days drive over magnificent mountain passes. The distance is 150kms one way.

  • Take the road to the Botsoela Waterfall, taking all the right turns until you get to the tar road.
  • Turn left.
  • Continue to Semonkong. This will take 3 to 4 hours.
  • At the weir near Semonkong turn right to view the Maletsunyane Waterfall & Gorge.
  • You can stay overnight at Frasers Lodge or return to Malealea via Roma. This route is longer in kilometres, but quicker in time. It usually takes 3 hours.

Scenic back route to Malealea from Roma & Semonkong

  • Take the back route on the A3
  • Turn left towards Roma
  • Drive on the Semonkong Road.
  • At Moitsupeli, where the tar ends, turn right.
  • Drive 1km
  • Turn left past Tlali Trading station.
  • Drive for 35km.
  • At a T-junction, turn left to Malealea via Sebelekoane
  • 35km ahead, there is a Malealea Sign at the T-junction, but often gets knocked down by bored herdboys!). The route from Sebelekoane to Malealea is one of the most spectacular drives; hugging along the mountainside overlooking sandstone valleys. Passing by the Botsoela waterfall, as you descend and ascend an almost miniature “Sani Pass”.

Malealea to Mpharane, Mohaleshoek and Quthing

This is a full days drive during which you can see dinasour footprints and Ellenbergers cave house.

  • Continue along the Mt. Moorosi Road and up magnificent passes to Mpaki. This road overlooks magnificent sandstone gorges.
  • Return along the back route via Letsies lake, Mokoaes valley rejoining the road at Mt. Moorosi.

Malealea to Thaba Bosiu, Maseru and Morija

This is a scenic day drive during which you can see the centre of the Zulu Kingdom and the Morija Museum and Archives

  • Take the road to the Botsoela Waterfall as described above.
  • Continue through Basotho villages until you get to a T-Junction.
  • From here take all the right turns until you reach the tar road.
  • Turn left
  • Continue until you through Roma in about 2 hours time.
  • Continue about 8 kmsto the Thaba Bosiu turnoff.
  • Turn right until you get to the Thaba Bosiu information office.
  • Guides will take you up the historic mountain, Thaba Bosiu, and explain in detail the history of the Basotho Nation. This is a 1-hour hike.
  • Continue to Maseru along the back road – 25 kms.
  • Obtain information at the Lesotho Tourist Board Information Centre in the main street of Maseru opposite the Basotho Hat building.
  • En-route back to Malealea, turn off at Morija and visit the Museum & Archives.

4×4 tracks into remote villages around Malealea

Malealea Lodge can arrange Basotho companions or professional guides to accompany you around Lesotho on a camping trip. They will introduce you to the local chiefs and ensure that you are well looked after. You can camp privately or enjoy the hospitality of the local villages. In Lesotho it is etiquette to introduce yourself to the headman or local chief. We encourage you to pay a small fee for your stay in his area. More often than not, he will send someone to guard your campsite.

Tailor–made trips

Malealea can tailor make your trips to suit your requirements. We can take you to really remote areas, either camping in Basotho villages or from lodge to lodge. You can also do a short trips and backtracking to Malealea.
We can arrange for Basotho companions to travel with clients in their 4×4 vehicles introducing them to various villages, where they can camp overnight and be welcomed and protected by the various villages. The chiefs are usually most hospitable, and it is recommended that you pay the chief a fee of R10pp. This will encourage and involve tourism with the local Basotho people. At the moment people are just camping anywhere in full view of passing traffic along the roadside. We have made contact with various villages that are just off the main roads and people can enjoy a “Special Basotho Experience”.

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