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Day 45: Pretoria and Lesotho (Part 2)

March 15, 2012

I HATE COMPUTERS SOMETIMES! I was writing this, left it temporarily (to go to the supermarket), came back to find that my computer had FREAKING RESET ITSELF to install USELESS UPDATES, meaning I have to completely rewrite this! Anyway, continuing on from our arrival in Semonkong…

So after we arrived, we were shown to our rooms (we had a fireplace, yay! And good thing too, it was getting cold). Had a look at what to do the following day – we were originally going to go to the north of Lesotho, but it would have taken us the entire day to drive there, meaning that Jas and I couldn’t do the activities we wanted to do. So we decided to stay in Semonkong another night. Had dinner (butternut pumpkin stuffed with couscous and vegetables), then went off to our rooms to play a little Pokemon before bed. Yes, Jas played too (I lent her Sapphire and my SP).

Woke up super early in the morning (6am), hot water for our tea was delivered to our door at 6:30, then we were at reception by 7 to start our first activity for the day: the training for the WORLD’S LONGEST COMMERCIALLY OPERATED SINGLE DROP ABSEIL at Maletsunyane Falls! Woo! So we went to the nearby 25m cliffs for some practice runs, were done by 8:20, had some breakfast, then off to the gorge for the 204m drop beside a waterfall! Getting to the waterfall was tough – very bad road while in a 4 wheel drive van that shook so much I could have sworn the windows were falling out. Walked around to the drop point, waited 45 mins for one person to hike to the bottom of the waterfall, four people to set up all the ropes, and one person to abseil to the bottom to make sure the rope was positioned correctly down the cliff. I went down the drop first, and… It. Was. Amazing! Here is a photo of me from the very top.

The first 20-30m was just open – no cliff to push off, so you just dropped. I took the time to look around at all the pretty pretty pretty scenery. Beautiful! To give you a sense of scale, here is a picture of me abseiling down beside the waterfall:

Can’t see me? I’m the little red dot about two-thirds of the way down the page, to the left of the waterfall. Yeah. Long way down. These sheep were watching me:

I can’t help but think they were waiting for me to fall or something. I mean, just look at them! Anyway, it was an amazing experience! Now that I’ve done the longest drop, I have to work my way back to the shortest one. =P

So after Jasmine was safely down as well, we started the hike back up to the top. It was very warm by now – 11am – the sun was right overhead, and the climb was hard. Took us just over an hour, but we did the touristy thing and took time out for photos. The guide was very nice and took some of us together!

That’s the gorge we hiked out of. Yeah. So understandably, we were pretty tired after this, so we had lunch before heading off on our second activity! Horse riding! Since we’d already seen (and been down) the falls, the guide decided to take us in the opposite direction, to have a look at the view from the tallest hill in the area. It took us quite a while to get there, through open plains and rolling hills, past maize, and sunflowers, and cattle, and horses, and sheep… You get the idea. Since it was so open, the guide had no problem with us going faster, so we spent most of the trip trotting or cantering, and even occasionally galloping! This time, it was Jasmine’s horse that didn’t like stopping (She tried everything to make it stop: “STOP! WHOA! HALT! CEASE AND DESIST!” – actual quote). We left the horses most of the way up the hill, and climbed the rest of the hill ourselves, and the view was (again) amazing! We also saw some of the spiral aloe the area is famous for:

Anyway, after the amazing view (I’ll upload a vlog at the end of the month with the view in it), we headed back down the hill. The path the guide decided to take us down was very steep and quite busy – we passed a flock of sheep, and a man with a few donkeys, as well as a few other random travellers. Jasmine then made a comment on how lovely the weather was. And, of course, it started to rain. Rain + strong wind resulted in a hail-like feeling on any exposed skin, and the horses didn’t like it either. As a result, we were cantering into the wind, through the rain, towards Semonkong Lodge, with the horses constantly trying to turn away from the wind (and I don’t blame them. It was bad.) – still, Jas and I loved it because it was very Jane Eyre/Jane Austen in Africa. After 45 mins of riding through the rain, we were soaked, and as we got back to the lodge, everyone was staring at us in horror and disbelief! By now, everyone knew who we were – the girls who did the abseil and went horse riding in the rain. We even got certificates for the abseil, and photos of us were cycling through on the TV in the bar all night. Lots of congratulations for us from everybody!

Tony, unfortunately, didn’t have the same luck as us – he was given very bad directions to the waterfall, and ended up spending hours driving around trying to find it. Sadface. And that night, Jasmine was sick with food poisoning. Bad timing, but it could have been worse. And despite the fact that we had eaten the exact same things, I was fine (yay).

The following morning, we packed up and left (at 7am) – for the 9 hour journey back to Pretoria. Which ended up taking 12 hours due to two more flat tyres and bad roads. Jasmine, the lucky girl, got to sleep through it all, while the rest of us changed the wheel, replaced the tyre, got moving again, and then repeated it all! To be honest, the temporary wheel did remarkably well! We eventually got back to a dark house, because…

THE ELECTRICITY WAS OUT! And had been out for several days, meaning that all the food in the fridge and freezer needed to be thrown out. Brilliant. It also meant no hot water, no lights, and no internet. Which is why I am writing this now, and not yesterday. At least Jas is better now – we got the electricity repaired this afternoon, and went shopping for much-needed food. And now I am writing this! Woo!

That’s pretty much everything! Lots of love to you all, and hope you enjoyed hearing about our Lesotho adventures! I’ll upload some more pictures soonish. Probably.

Thanks to the people who had emailed me – I loved coming back to emails from everyone! I will be replying to them either tonight or tomorrow, most likely.

Hope your weekend was as wonderful as mine was, but I doubt it! =P
XOXOXOXOXOX

(Also, Jasmine is now fairly obsessed with Pokemon. Having played over 15 hours in the last few days. Win.)

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