Dipping a Toe in Lesotho

Hello dear friends and thanks for your patience.  There had  been very little internet access, but I think that’s changed for the moment.  Now I can hopefully catch you up on my meanderings.
Since my postings always take so long, the little internet time I had was not enough.  I’ve reduced pixel size of photos, and in my innocence, am hoping that this clever maneuver will make uploading faster (ever optimistic). 

Lesotho turned into an  adventure and I’d liketo tell you about it.

At recommendation of experienced Lesotho guide,   I hitch hiked there, got great rides up Sani Pass, but after that it was downhill (pun) for a while.  Here’s what went wrong the day I crossed the border into Lesotho:

– My first ride once I entered Lesotho was in the back of a covered pickup.  I rode with a very hung over young man from Mexico who sported the most dramatic mustache I’ve seen in a while.  The pickup was part of a partial convoy of about 21 folks, friends from all over the world.  They were headed to look at a river, then returning to S.A.  I was dropped off where they turned off to drive to the river.

I left my daypack in the back of pick up.  Yup, that’s what I did.  Some shouting after them was fruitless, so I had to follow the truck down a 3 km side road to retrieve it.  I had to ford a few streams on the way.  That was the day I discovered that wearing my suitcase as a backpack (it is designed for both wheeling and backpacking) is very comfortable and not bad for my back!

what to do with suitcase? Turn it into a backpack of course

-After retrieving daypack from this part of the convory of 21 friends from all over the  world (including Spain, Mexico, Israel, South Africa), they drove me a bit further.  When they left me off, there were NO MORE VEHICLES and NO PEOPLE and NO HUTS.  I was ALONE.   Except for Mother Nature. She was generous in her sharing of:

–  Thunder & lightening

– Torrential rains & hail (really – not exaggerating)

– Getting late and later (I will let you fill in my self-talk at this point with your imagination).

RESCUE:  At last, hours later, after I have walked, with heavy pack, many kilometers, I see a car, and you can be sure there was no way they would get around me.  Turns out it was a beautiful couple in a beautiful car, from Mesoro, capitol of Lesotho,  far away.  Very gracious, and o man, could that man drive!  With all that rain, we had to drive through raging rivers (yup, no exaggeration).

Got to my “backpackers” called #10 Riverside (aka “hostel”) and there was no running water and no electricity.  Per permanent.  However, there was lots of scenery.

Lesotho Angels from Maseru

#10 Riverside - no power or water but lots of ambiance

Next day took mini-buses & got to next backpackers which this time did have running water, but forget the electricity.  This was New Years Eve & I went to bed at 9:30 pm despite group of Lesothans having a party there they invited me to (yup, me = non-party person, in case you didn’t guess). 

I had signed on for 2 day horse back trip to local village, and at 2 a.m. I awoke with “WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?” because I have a really fragile back that could easily end my journey.  Horseback ride in wilderness for 2 days? 

Cancelled the horseback ride and hitched a ride back to Sani Pass with the partiers, a 2 vehicle convoy.

-Got left off at top of pass and walked down on the South Africa side.  It really was steep and I really did fall and finally got to use some of that first aid stuff I’ve been shlepping around.  I am proud to say I never got an infection!  The scenery was worth it, and I finally caught a ride in a public mini-bus.

Where I fell down

Next 4 days:  2 nights at Sani Lodge, 2 nights in Northern Drakensberg, 1 night Johannesburg, and finally off to Maputo, Mozambique  (I’d booked this flight nearly a year ago when made my initial bookings).

Hot, hot, hot, and rain, rain, rain. 

getting out of Maputo - mini-bus aka combi station

 Dump this.  Catch bus to Tofo, on coast, reputed to be heaven on earth.

Not.

Next I tried Vilankulos, 4 hours further up the coast.  At least I could swim in the warm Indian Ocean waters without the Tofo waves knocking me down and the Tofo current dragging me out to sea.  However, I still had to pay to get a boat to take me to where I could snorkel.  When I finally got there, Margarita Island via sailing dhow, it was pretty close to perfect. 

I had made friends with more wonderful Nederlanders, young folks who put up with me as we went through the adventure of thinking one of them had malaria.  (I can really get into my mommy-ness if given the opportunity).  Fortunately, Toni did NOT have malaria, just serious dehydration and other stuff mixed in.

Then we all went out to  a farewell dinner since they were taking off next day, and what happens:  I get sick off the chicken.

Oh well, only thought I’d have to be airlifted home.

Get me out of here (i.e. Mozambique):  I can NOT tolerate the heat and humidity.  My body felt awful constantly,and when I got sick that was the end of any last bits of tolerance. 

I’d heard rumors that it was cooler in Zimbabwe.  However, no one I met went to Zimbabwe. Too much recent bad history with bad press, I think.

What care I for political unrest if a cooler climate is in the offing in a neighboring country. 

I had a helper, Jeff, who worked at my backpackers (Dolphin Dhow).  He helped me get sorted out for this journey  that no one really knew how to make.  

—–  If you’re gonna see any photos, I’d better stop now.  Suffice it to say I did get to Zimbabwe and it REALLY IS COOLER and me and my body are both very happy again.  It is so far a very nice country and everyone speaks English and they use dollars.  I have never seen such worn out, dirty 1 dollar bills in my life.  The others are OK, and there’s no change. 

I am staying with wonderful people here who took me into the mountains.  But, more about that later.

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