Taxi to Lesotho.

Last week I had yet another visitor, my good friend JRG, who flew into Jozi on Tuesday.  This is a strange overlap for us as he is beginning two months travel in southern Africa and these are my last weeks in South Africa but it is always a treat to have someone from home to host.

We headed out Thursday morning to Lesotho to make a long weekend of it, having checked out transport options the day before.  You can take a taxi (they call them taxis, I would call it a minibus) from Park Station, Johannesburg to Maseru Bridge border crossing for R180 (US$20).  We got to Park at about 8:30am and didn’t head out until 11:45am; traveling by taxis is probably one of the cheapest ways to get around but it also requires a lot of patience and good humour.

Crossing into Lesotho was super easy.  No complicated questions, no hassle, and no visa required.  It’s also simple since Lesotho’s currency is pegged to South Africa’s and Lesotho uses the two currencies interchangeably.

We arrived into Maseru sometime after 3pm and the tourist office wasn’t super supportive of our plan to continue on to Melealea that afternoon.  But we were plenty sure that we didn’t want to spend a night in the capital, so off we went to yet another taxi rank.  This one was a little bit more difficult to navigate, less English speakers and truly unhelpful directions.  However with a little determination and the help of a local, we found it–a tiny taxi jammed full of people about to head out to Malealea and got the last two seats (R50/US$6).

Maseru was by no means a teeming capital city.  But still, as we made into the country, the quietness was remarkable.  The smells and sounds of downtown Jozi and Maseru faded quickly into memory, then we had only pastures and mountains before us.

As we climbed a pass, a storm crept our way; staring directly at it and I could have sworn it was ready to eat us.  But it was not to be so. We made it to the Lodge’s gates both before dark and before the storm hit. By the time it started raining, we already arranged a room and were pouring over maps for the next day’s hike.

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