Published: August 21st 2010July 9th 2010
I wasn’t looking forward to a sixteen hour bus ride, but it had to be done if I wanted to visit Lesotho. So after my last tea and toast at Kieron’s I called a cab to pick me up and take me to the Ashanti lodge and meet up with Nicio.
We spent about an hour at the hostel using the internet and coming up with a game plan for our tour of Lesotho before calling a taxi to take us down to the bus station. Our bus was supposed to take off at about 5:30 but didn’t up leaving until an hour later or so. The trip was pretty comfortable for the most part but the temperature on the bus fluctuated so much that one hour we would be freezing and the next hour we would be in an inferno. Oh well, c’est la vie.
At about nine or ten the next morning we were dropped off at the Lesotho border, there were only three of us that got off. A nice American girl named Rachel, if I remember correctly, was headed back to a very rural and mountainous part of Lesotho
to continue teaching children. After getting through the border (Lesotho is a free visa for Americans by the way!) we parted ways with the volunteer teacher and jumped in a cab to take us to the area of Maseru (capitol of Lesotho) that would then take us to Roma.
I don’t recall how much the taxi ride was but it was cheap for taking us a distance of about 25 miles or so, maybe about $20? Anyways the drive itself was splendid, it was our first glimpse of the Mountain Kingdom, otherwise known as the Kingdom in the Sky. Everywhere we looked it was mountains and cliffs and views that stretched as far as the eye could see.
The taxi driver dropped us off at our hostel and campsite, a place called the Trading Post. After getting situated, Nicio in his bedroom and me in my tent, we met one of the workers and guides of the Trading Post. Joseph was his name, a native Basotho from Roma, (Basotho is the name used for the people of Lesotho). Nicio and I had planned to stay only one night in Roma, since we had arrived there so early (before
noon), we had a whole day to see the dinosaur footprints and the bushman paintings. Our Basotho guide took us up the hill not far from the Trading Post and the views from the top were pretty extraordinary. Before we knew it we were walking around a huge piece of rock on this hillside, with what looked like to be dinosaur footprints, maybe a velociraptor or pterodactyl? Haha, in any case they weren’t the prints of any kind of animal I’ve seen before and what was almost just as interesting as the prints themselves was the fact that there was no kind of protection for the prints, nothing stopping anyone from damaging them or even chizzling them out of the rock! Also interesting was that it didn’t seem any kind of professional archeologist or dinosaur expert had given the area any kind of attention, it made me wonder that maybe there was more underneath the Earth in that area than anyone would expect??
After getting our fill of prehistoric proof we headed back down the hill to get some lunch. We walked through the town of Roma with locals looking at us as if they had never seen a
foreigner before, but they were very nice and willing to chat. Joseph introduced us to his sisters as we crossed paths with them along the way to lunch, and after a brief conversation with them, Joseph told Nicio and I that they had wanted our phone numbers! Bashful as we were, we continued on to a restaurant called Casey’s where we had some great roasted chicken and coleslaw.
While Nicio and I feasted Joseph was outside looking for a taxi to take us to the bushman paintings. Originally Joseph made it sound like the paintings were within walking distance, (maybe for a Basotho?), but after getting in a taxi and starting the drive we were thankful we didn’t try and walk it. We drove to the top of a huge plateau and off of the paved road we headed, dirt roads that the taxi driver took really slow. An hour after getting into the taxi we were at the bushman paintings gate area, if that’s what you'd like to call it. There were some huts above the gorge where the paintings could be found and we waited for our guide. Out came an eleven year old child whose name
I can’t remember and couldn’t pronounce. Nicio and I thought we had seen it all on our seven week overland trip, but never did we have a child as a guide!
He walked us down into the gorge, with our taxi driver and Joseph joining us. It seemed we had created a bit of a posse and with our interest in the paintings, the Basotho’s with us got to have an adventure of their own with some foreigners.
The paintings themselves weren’t quite as impressive as the surrounding area and nature, but maybe for someone that has more interest in anthropology it would be fascinating. There were quite a few paintings and most of them easily intelligible, simple to understand what the bushman were drawing. Animals from the antelope family were the most easily distinguishable, but I do recall seeing fish and human figures as well. After walking around the gorge and doing some exploring on my own the five of us headed back to the taxi.
On the drive back to Roma we listened to local Basotho music, as oppose to R. Kelly and Jay-Z for the first leg of the drive to the paintings. You
can eventually see that video here
After getting back to Roma we bought some food at the grocery store to cook for dinner, and we met some archeologists there that gave us a ride back to the Trading Post. I told them it must be sooo cool to answer when someone asks what they do for a living that “I’m an archeologist”. Badass. I remember as a kid always reading my dinosaur books and memorizing the names, hoping someday I’d be digging up dinosaur bones.
After cooking dinner we watched the 3rd place match of the World Cup that saw Germany beat the Uruguayans, shame as I was hoping a Latin American team would win a trophy! Post match we headed to our beds for a good night’s sleep and to wake up early for a long bus ride to Semonkong.
Hope you enjoy the photos and post, until next time, Pura Vida!!
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