From Mekothlong to Semonkong – Day 2

Any doubt that it might be cold in our houses during the night had been completely unjustified. The fire in the evening heated up the interior to a perfect level and every bed had something like 10 blankets. I only used 3 of them and it was perfectly warm. We slept much better than in the hotel in Cape Town the night before and when the sun was coming up at 5’o clock I decided that my presence was not of any benefit for a successful sunrise but the bed required some more attention …

Paying for the drinks turned out to be a little bit of a challenge here. Of course the lodge didn’t have the equipment for credit cards payments. And we only had dollars in our group cash box but nobody knew the exchange rate from rand which is also an official currency in Lesotho, to dollars. Standing outside I had a weak mobile signal and eventually managed to ask Google for help: 210$ USD for tips and drinks. When they wanted to stamp the invoice it still had the date from their previous guests: Oct 23th, which was like 2 weeks ago and they still don’t know when the next will arrive … not really a busy place.

mada02-01

The little beast was waiting for me to stage another attack … Smile 

mada02-02

Lightning Rod in our lodge.

mada02-03

Usually shepherds are young boys. He is obviously an exception, his green rubber boots however not. That’s standard equipment. 

mada02-04

Mekothlong was around 50 km away. We were driving over a pass of 3200m altitude which makes it clear why the country is also sometimes called “The Kingdom in the Sky”. 

mada02-06

We had two stops on our way. On the first one we had we a closer look at a small hut which is used by shepherds to sleep at night. Even though it is very basic it protects them from the elements.

mada02-07

mada02-08

Our second stop was at a sheep shearing farm.

mada02-51

mada02-16

The people doing the shearing get 2 ZAR per sheep. The work seems to be rather physical as not all sheep do agree with the procedure. And time is money so sometimes the cut goes too deep …

mada02-10

On a table the quality of the wool is checked and sorted.  

mada02-15

mada02-11

Two other men are using a press to squeeze as much wool into a bag as possible.

mada02-13

Once full it is weighted and labelled. The one we saw was like 170kg. Later the wool is shipped to Port Elisabeth were it is sold.

mada02-12

Some shepherds outside having fun while smoking weed and waiting for their sheep to bee sheared

mada02-19

 

mada02-18

mada02-20

This dog looks more serious than the little one this morning.

mada02-21

Another road block on the way to Mekothlong

mada02-22

 

mada02-23

When we were arriving in Mekothlong the plane was already ready.

mada02-24

Initially it was planned to do two flights with half the passengers from here to Semonkong in order to reduce the weight of the plane as the airstrip for the take-off is rather short given the altitude of 2500m which has quite an impact on the performance of the plan. Thanks to a strong head wind (which was compensating that) we could all go together.

Mekothlong after take-off

mada02-25

Fields where crop is planted.

mada02-26

The flight duration was only 20 minutes. Due to the fact that we had departed later than initially planed it was a “little” bumpy. I was just focused on not crashing my camera into the window.

mada02-29

For the first time I also had my Gopro attached outside to do some videos of the flight. It was definitely worth as we did a loop over the water fall once we reached Semonkong and two low passes over the airstrip in order to make sure nobody was on it when we were landing.

image

Gorge of the water fall.

mada02-50

Semonkong Airport

mada02-33

Our airport shuttle.

mada02-34

As it turned out soon enough the airport shuttle was only meant to transport our luggage. So we did a completely organized walk to the lodge meaning chaotic.

mada02-35

River at the lodge.

mada02-37

Later today we did a walk to the nearby water fall. We already knew from our arrival loop that there was not much water but it was nice anyway.

mada02-40

mada02-42

Water fall

mada02-46

mada02-47

View from above the water fall.

mada02-48

mada02-44

Later that day … somewhere in Lesotho … passengers and crew of N208PC are working hard …

mada02-45

Suddenly the owner of the lodge came to our table and asked Georg to follow him. They were driving together somewhere. He only said that it had to do with the NSS, the Lesotho National Security Service … they returned minutes later as the NSS had already closed its office. So this matter can not be that urgent. Probably another episode in African bureaucracy.