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Lesotho: Maletsunyane Falls

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Maletsunyane Falls | Lesotho | Africa

[Visited: March 2010]

The sun was already going down when I rushed out of the lodge I was staying in. I had taken more than expected to drive from Maseru to Semonkong, picking up passengers on the way, negotiating the unsealed road that was in a particularly bad condition. Now, I was in a hurry - the Maletsunyane Falls were calling! I quickly walked up the hill separating Semonkong from its hinterland, and as I walked down from the other side, a landscape of rolling green and yellow hills, with several settlements thrown in apparently haphazardly, appeared in front of my eyes. The sun was already on its way down and cast a glowing warm light over the golden green landscape. I finally reached the edge of the canyon, and there it was, on the other side: Maletsunyane Falls. Unfortunately, the sun did not reach into the canyon anymore. It did not make the view any less spectacular, and I spent as much time as possible at Phororo viewpoint. Even though the falls were not even close, the sound of the water falling down 192 metres was very audible. As the night started creeping closer, I had to head back to my lodge, walking the last part under a full moon.

Picture of Maletsunyane Falls (Lesotho): Maletsunyane river plunging into the abyss at Maletsunyane Falls

The next day, as part of a long hike in the surrounding area, I of course stumbled upon the Maletsunyane Falls again. I walked along the edge of the canyon on the east side of the canyon, and suddenly found myself on a vantage point a little higher. From here, I could see the Maletsunyane river approaching the canyon, the water speeding up until it reached the abrupt break in the landscape. I moved closer, and had always more spectacular views, until I reached the river itself, and walked up to the very edge of the waterfall. Lying on my belly, I could look down the 192 metres of Maletsunyane Falls, but I could not see the pool in which the falls ended. I decided to cross the river, and from a rock on the other side, I had a better view, and could even see the inevitable rainbow. What a fantastic sight, the water suddenly plunging into this deep crack in the earth!

Picture of Maletsunyane Falls (Lesotho): Dramatic landscape of Maletsunyane Falls

I hurried up, hiking to the other side of the canyon, trying to find a way down. I had been warned that walking down should be done with a guide, but the entire area around the falls looked abandoned and I decided to stick as close to the edge as possible, always looking down for a possible trail. I found it at long last, took a shortcut which was a steep gravely stretch, and found the real path. After descending into the deep chasm, I turned a corner, and - there it was. Looking much more impressive now, Maletsunyane Falls was right in front of me. I yelled at it, and was in awe at its power. Walking closer, I came close to a small herd of sheep, and when I reached the pool, a strong, wet whirlwind was all around me. The view up to the rocky wall of the canyon was amazing in itself, but with the waterfall, it was simply breathtaking. When I walked back, I met the shepherd who was going after his sheep. I realized that for him, this was just his regular herding ground, where for me, it was a marvelous sight. The climb was easier than I had anticipated, and I went back to Phororo again to have a better view than the day before. When the sun had disappeared from the canyon, it was time to head back to Semonkong. I could still hear the continuous, powerful sound of the waterfall in my head.

Picture of Maletsunyane Falls (Lesotho): Steep rock face and Maletsunyane Falls seen from below
Picture of Maletsunyane Falls (Lesotho): Rocky wall with Maletsunyane Falls
Picture of Maletsunyane Falls (Lesotho): Close-up view of Maletsunyane Falls
Picture of Maletsunyane Falls (Lesotho): Close-up of the power of water of Maletsunyane Falls
Picture of Maletsunyane Falls (Lesotho): Looking at Maletsunyane Falls from Phororo viewpoint
Picture of Maletsunyane Falls (Lesotho): Elegant Maletsunyane Falls seen from above
Picture of Maletsunyane Falls (Lesotho): Maletsunyane river falling down towards its own rainbow
Picture of Maletsunyane Falls (Lesotho): Standing next to Maletsunyane Falls
Picture of Maletsunyane Falls (Lesotho): The start of the majestic Maletsunyane Falls
Picture of Maletsunyane Falls (Lesotho): View of Maletsunyane Falls from inside the canyon
Picture of Maletsunyane Falls (Lesotho): Maletsunyane reaching the chasm where it will plunge down 192 metres
Picture of Maletsunyane Falls (Lesotho): Maletsunyane Falls at the beginning of a dramatic canyon
Picture of Maletsunyane Falls (Lesotho): Maletsunyane Falls reaching the pool in a spray

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