The Roof of Africa
Sehlaba-Thebe National Park
Picture Gallery of this area
Not for nothing is this part of Lesotho called the Roof of Africa. The Drakensberg Mountains soar into the clouds, and Thabana-Ntlenyana is the highest peak of Southern Africa. Dramatic mountainscapes offer some of the most spectacular scenery in Lesotho, while the tiny villages, all but cut off from vehicular traffic, display traditional lifestyles unchanged for generations.
This tourist route is called the Roof of Africa Scenic Route. The greater part of the Lesotho part of the circuit is in Mokhotlong District, where the top of the Drakensberg Ridge is found. This includes Thabana-Ntlenyana, which at 3482m is the highest peak in Southern Africa. Sani Pass, Thaba-Tseka, Katse and Hlotse form an alternative section of the Roof of Africa Scenic Route where 4x4s are most suited.
On request for small groups, a specialist operator can offer an exciting soft adventure programme involving canoeing down the headwaters of the Orange River (the Senqu River in Sesotho) as far as a point close to the town of Mokhotlong and then pony-trekking to the Sani Pass.Most people arrive in Eastern Lesotho from South Africa via the spectacular Sani Pass, but the route from Caledonspoort is easier, and the main road can be reached from the Monontsa Pass with a 4×4.
From Oxbow, the road climbs to the high part of the journey, going over high alpine country. The road passes Letseng-la-terai, a large diamond mine, now abandoned. From well over 3000m, the road drops down eventually to the village level. Mapholaneng is the largest village along the route, and while the bus is stopped, local women come and sell delicious flat breads. The journey to Mokhotlong is just on 200km, and the brand new tar road has jusi been opened, making the journey much quicker and easier.
Mokhotlong is the main centre of a vast mountainous area in the east of the country. Until the 1950’s, it had no road connection with the outside world, and all goods came up from Natal on pack animals over the Sani Pass. Now