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Lesotho: Semonkong hiking

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Semonkong hiking | Lesotho | Africa

[Visited: March 2010]

On the hiking map of the surrounding area which the friendly woman of the lodge had given me, several hikes were indicated. Reading the description of the hikes, I very much wanted to do them all. So I set out to organize the next day such that I could combine all hikes into one. When I woke up the next morning, the sky was blue and the sun just started to shine on the green landscape around Semonkong. I started out walking along the Maletsunyane river, the sunlight reflecting on the water flowing through the green valley. At some points, I had to climb over rocks, but mostly it was a surprisingly easy walk. After passing a small waterfall, the valley widened a little bit, and from here, it was not far until I reached a foot bridge. I crossed to the other side of the Maletsunyane river, and climbed up the hilll to a small village. Kids were playing outside a school, and I had a short talk to some of them and their English teacher.

Picture of Semonkong hiking (Lesotho): Landscape with hut near Semonkong

I climbed another hill, and saw a long-tailed widow bird close by. I stopped for a while to watch this amazing creature with its elegant long black tail as it was flying low. From here, I walked on until I reached an area with small trees, which I crossed to reach the edge of the canyon. Deep below me now, I saw the Maletsunyane river - somewhere behind the hills, it had fallen down at the Maletsunyane Falls. I walked a little more until I came directly opposite the elegant Matsuko Falls on the other side of the canyon. I found myself a nice rock from which I had a free view in all directions. A perfect spot for a break. Matsuko Falls actually comes down the canyon in two stages: a high plunge into a pool, and a little lower, a second, lower but wider fall before joining the Maletsunyane river. A faint rainbow was visible in the lower waterfall. The surroundings here were absolutely peaceful, I thought. But then, I got a scare. As I was looking west, an eagle suddenly appeared and seemed to be flying directly at me, turning away to the other side of the canyon. I followed this majestic bird, but did not see it catch anything. Was it just enjoying itself, playing with the air currents?

Picture of Semonkong hiking (Lesotho): Impressive eagle over the Maletsunyane canyon

It was not easy to get starting again, but since I still had a long walk ahead of me, I backtracked, this time sticking close to the edge of the canyon. The views were spectacular with the shadows of clouds slowly moving over the landscape. When I crossed a rivulet, I realized it must be flowing down towards the canyon, and I decided to follow it. As I had hoped, I could follow it until the edge of the canyon, and I stood directly next to where the water flowed over the edge, falling down to the bottom of the canyon. A small pond nearby proved to be a perfect place for another break. I stripped and dipped in the cold water, before lying on the rocks for a refreshing pause. Again, I realized I still had a lot of hiking ahead of me, so I dressed up again and continued. I saw the Maletsunyane Falls, walked back to the footbridge again, and backtracked to the edge of the canyon. I descended into the canyon where I thought it was possible, and saw some amazing rocks balancing near the edge of the canyon. After coming up from the bed of the canyon, I walked back towards Semonkong. I had hoped to get a drink in a small village, but unfortunately, they appeared to only have alcoholic drinks. When I finally reached Semonkong again, I was desperately in need of food and drinks. But when I wolfed down a well-deserved dinner, a very satisfied feeling came over me. I had had a splendid day of hiking in the beautiful landscapes of central Lesotho south of the Thaba Putsoa mountain.

Picture of Semonkong hiking (Lesotho): Maletsunyane river canyon under a cloudy sky
Picture of Semonkong hiking (Lesotho): View of the landscape near the canyon near Semonkong
Picture of Semonkong hiking (Lesotho): Green, yellow and brown landscape near Semonkong
Picture of Semonkong hiking (Lesotho): View from a small pool at the edge of the canyon
Picture of Semonkong hiking (Lesotho): Landscape near the canyon: terraced fields
Picture of Semonkong hiking (Lesotho): Mountains near the canyon in the late afternoon light
Picture of Semonkong hiking (Lesotho): Matsoku Falls and canyon
Picture of Semonkong hiking (Lesotho): Maletsunyane river flowing through the landscape near Semonkong
Picture of Semonkong hiking (Lesotho): Mountain with terraced fields near Semonkong
Picture of Semonkong hiking (Lesotho): Horses are a popular way of transportation in Lesotho
Picture of Semonkong hiking (Lesotho): Rocky formation near the edge of the canyon
Picture of Semonkong hiking (Lesotho): Long-haired sheep are common near Semonkong
Picture of Semonkong hiking (Lesotho): Long-tailed widow bird flying low

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