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Location - Lesotho

Lesotho is called Southern Africa’s ‘Kingdom in the sky’ for good reason. This stunningly beautiful, mountainous country is nestled island-like in the middle of South Africa and offers superb mountain scenery, rugged terrain, rich local culture and traditions, and a scarcity of civilization's trappings, such as landlords and fences.
With all its land lying at altitudes in excess of 1000m above sea-level; Lesotho is a land of heights and extremes. Much of the beauty of Lesotho is secret and understated, and so is the hospitality. Life in the forbidding terrain of the Drakensberg and Maluti Mountain Ranges continues to be an intriguing anomaly in a sea of modernity.
A warm and welcoming heart beats at the foundation of this remote and ancient mountain culture. This is mountain running at its very purest, in land unhindered by ownership and shared by all who live in such balance with this wild and demanding mountain landscape.
 
USEFUL INFO ON TRAVELLING IN LESOTHO
  • SAA (Airways, Airlink,Express) is the only convenient way to get to Bloemfontein  - your closest point of access to Roma where you need to be at the latest 2pm. (You can fly to Maseru, although this is a lot more expensive.)
  • Distance from airport to Ramabanta (where you park your car):  160km (leave 3hrs max, including border crossing).
  • Distance from finish back to airport:  As above.
  • Driving to Lesotho:  127km from Bloemfontein Airport to Maseru.  From Maseru it’s 75.5km to Ramabanta Trading Post Lodge – the final night's stay and where you park your car in secure parking. You can leave any extra kit for the final night and day of departure in your car, and it will be accessible when you arrive at the finish on Saturday.
  • All runners will be transferred from Ramabanta to the start venue.  This transfer will leave at 3pm.
  • If you decide to fly, it is each runner’s responsibility to arrange a transfer to the start and back to Bloemfontein from the finish in advance.
 
Documents, money, vehicle paperwork & vaccinations
  • Obviously you need your passport, so don’t forget this! Since the 2010 World Cup, ID’s are no longer accepted in Lesotho.
  • Rands (ZAR) are accepted throughout Lesotho, as the ratio is 1:1 to the Maluti.  Credit cards are accepted, but cash is of course preferred.
  • Lesotho legislation says you need TWO red warning triangles as well as a ZA sticker on your vehicle (both available at any Outdoor Warehouse). If you are driving into Lesotho in your own vehicle you MIGHT need a copy of your vehicle's registration document (certified to be sure) – so rather be safe than sorry and throw it in. 
  • No vaccinations are necessary, but the following are advised by the CDC when travelling in Lesotho.
 
Preparation/Last minute supplies
  • You won’t be able to purchase any snacks, batteries etc for your run once in Malealea. Maseru has a huge Pick ‘n Pay, and is the best place for a pit-stop to get all your last-minute goodies.
  • No pubs – except the Malealea Pub, which will be open from arrival until bedtime!
 
Road blocks
Road blocks are generally speaking quite frequent and have some unique attributes.  Here is how some of them work:
  • There is a stop sign in both directions with the police normally standing between them, 50m or so in front of each sign.  Make sure you stop dead AT THE STOP SIGN and not be conned into driving on past to the Police – despite how enthusiastically they are waving you forward.  If you don’t stop they will fine you for not stopping.  Once you have come to a complete stop, wait for the police to motion you forward. 
  • Number plates in Lesotho are dated and renewed every few years.  One of the more common tricks is to tell South African drivers that their number plates have expired.  There is usually a date stamped on SA number plates, but this is of course when either the vehicle was licensed in your name, or when a replacement number plate was put on and has no reference to the validity of the number plate or the license of the car.
  • Generally they will try and find something.  Do not be conned into paying a spot fine, but ask for a written fine notice.
 
LESOTHO WEATHER
Lesotho’s weather is unpredictable, and snow has -  over time -  been recorded at Semonkong every month of the year.   The end of March/April represents the transition from the summer rainfall months to the cold, and largely clear and dry winter months (although frontal systems regularly pass through with heavy doses of rain and snow is a reality).
LESOTHO WEATHER February March April
Average daily maximum temperature (°C) 27 25 21
Average daily minimum temperature (°C) 14 12 18
Average number of rain days (>=1mm) 11 10 8
 
WILDERNESS ETIQUETTE
  • Take only memories and leave only footprints – please don’t leave any litter or take any souvenirs.
  • If you need to do a number 2, do it somewhere private, dig a small hole (15cm) and bury your waste.
  • Be friendly and courteous to the local people, it’s their land. 
 
Try some Sesotho along the way
Lumela = Hello!
U phela joang? = How are you?
Kea Leboha! = Thank you!
Ke phela hantle! = I am fine!
hatsetse or futhumetse = cold or hot
Ke kgathetse = I am tired
Sala hantle = Goodbye (to person staying)
Please do not give sweets to the local kids.  You won’t get asked in the remote areas, but around Ramabanta and Semonkong you might.

 

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