In this latest series, I will be going through all the countries I’ve travelled to on my mission to visit every single country in the world. In this article, we will be covering country #16: Lesotho. If you haven’t gotten a chance already, read this story first to find out why I’m trying to visit all 193 UN-recognized countries.
VIDEO – Country #16: Lesotho
Joining a tour to Lesotho at Amphitheatre Backpackers
For 690 South African rand, Karen and I joined a tour ran by Amphitheatre Backpackers to do a day trip into Lesotho. This is a unique trip because normally, people enter from the west side of Lesotho. We were definitely in for quite an adventure entering from the east side of the country.
Crossing from South Africa to Lesotho
As soon as we entered the South Africa-Lesotho border, it became clear that these two countries are very different. On the Lesotho side, the immigration office was a simple portable with someone that looks to be 14-years old stamping us in the country.
I love this kind of weird experience. The roads in the country were non-existent and we were driving on the dirt road until we reached the local village.
The first spot we visited was this local elementary school where they taught us the hardship that these people face. Apparently, elementary school is free to them and most kids can attend them. College is also free but there’s one big barrier. High school is not free and it’s too expensive and inaccessible for most of the Basotho people.
They told us that if they can somehow solve the problem of helping the locals pay for their kids’ high school education, then more people in the country would be out of poverty.
After the local school teacher gave us the lessons, we took a hike on towards an area with some ancient wall art. Our guide taught us a story of the history of the Basotho people before venturing down the mountain to take some pictures.
Stories from the sangoma (local medicine man)
We visited a local medicine man who had an inspiring story how he came to be. They’re called sangomas and they cure ailments using organic medicine and their ancient rituals.
Apparently, the man had a dream when he was young that he was destined to be a sangoma. There’s just one problem, he needed to buy livestock as a sacrifice, and in order to be eligible to become a sangoma.
He ventured to Johannesburg to get a job, only to find difficulties getting a job. Eventually, he was homeless and had to eat from garbage bins to survive. He somehow made it back to Lesotho.
But, he didn’t give up. He went back to Johannesburg one more time and this time, he got a job. He raised enough money to buy the livestock he needed and became a sangoma.
Visiting the local village
We said goodbye to the sangoma and we went to visit the local villager’s hut and tried some of their local food. The teacher also introduced us to his wife and son. It was quite interesting to see the son eating popcorn off the floor. I bet his immune system is incredible and he probably won’t be getting sick anytime soon.
Before long, we said goodbye to this serene mountain village as we leave with fond memories and a good lesson on what life is like in Lesotho.
I think Lesotho is often overlooked by anyone who travels in South Africa. And I think that’s a shame because this country is beautiful and can be reached from both the west or the east side of the country.
One day, I’d like to go back and visit Maletsunyane Falls and the other amazing city with picturesque landscapes.