Archive for 10. March 2010

Lesotho – Rough & Tough

Wednesday, 10. March 2010

I took Tuesday to Friday off for a father & son thing, Lars-Olof and me traveling to Lesotho. It was quite a ride from Jo’burg. The last few kilometers the tar road ended abrupt, a couple of hundred meters gravel road and then rough. Picking up some schoolkids on their way home we did arrive at Malealea at dusk. Settled in a nice rondavell of the environmental conscious Malealea Lodge, had typical Basotho food for dinner. Generator went off at ten leaving us with an amazing starry sky, even impressing with some falling stars. We went to bed rather soon, adventure was awaiting next morning.

Just heading for breakfast our guide left us with saddlebags and and two backs for the carrying pony. We headed off soon towards a remote village – ahead of us 6 hours in the saddle. I didn’t horseback riding for 11 years, so I knew it might be a challenge – I didn’t know where we were actually going to. First 45 minutes, just fine, nice scenery.
Then we reached the rim of a canyon. There was a bridge far down, and our guide said: “We are going to cross the river close to the bridge”. The path was sometimes not much wider than a pony, continuously steep, over rocks and boulders, some steps 50 centimeters deep, across same rock slabs with a decline of at least 30 degree – so you had to stand in the stirrups the whole descend, and you had to lean back not falling over. When we reached the river my knees were burning. The ponies were happy for a refreshing drink in the middle of the river. We were happy too. And there were still some hours to go.

We reached our village in the afternoon. I didn’t feel my legs any longer, and I was tired. Getting off the pony on the left it happened, what Lars-Olof already encountered while a break. That way I only had my left, still not fully functional and weak left arm to grab the saddlehorn, and I did reach the ground with my right foot, meaning stiffened ankle. I lost control, my leg just didn’t work, my left foot caught in the stirrup I did fell with my back on the wall to the stable.

Another Basotho guide already was waiting for us to lead us to a “near by” (a good hour either way) waterfall. We refused to go, we barely could stand, and put the hike to the waterfall on the agenda for the next early morning.