Running to Lesotho

I would’ve loved to stay in Hogsback for the rest of my life and become a tree-hugging hippie, but when a rancid strain of flu swept through my hostel and people started dropping like flies, I knew it was time to get out of there. I’ve spent a lot of time on the coast, so I decided to head further inland and point myself towards the world’s highest country – Lesotho. With every scrap of land above 1400 metres, it’s as close as you can get to the sky without a helicopter.

It’s a fair trek from Eastern Cape to Lesotho, and its made longer by the fact almost all the border crossings are inaccessible to anything but the meanest of 4WDs. The 481km drive from Hogsback to the Maseru border skirts around Lesotho from bottom to top, and heads through giant mountains, poverty-stricken towns, and endless desert.

There’s not much out there and it’s a fairly boring drive, being similar to a cruise through the Aussie outback (but without the persistent risk of a kangaroo jumping through your windscreen and kicking you to death). Sure, a monkey, cow or local might get in the way, but that’s to be expected. The towns are sparse and well spread out, and the roads are mainly as straight as a Nazi salute.

I was lucky enough to find a pie shop on the outskirts of a depressing village called Jamestown. South Africans get a big thumbs-up from me for loving their pies, but there is one unforgivable quirk of their pastry passion. They display them in the shop at room temperature, then chuck the delicious treat in the microwave after you order it, causing the pastry to go all soggy. Weird Saffas.

From Maseru to my final destination in Lesotho, Semonkong Falls, is only 130km, but takes three hours, so I decided to spend the night in the Saffa town of Ladybrand. Whilst it’s not poor and horrible like Jamestown, it’s not exactly a place any sane tourist would bother visiting other than for a one night stopover. There’s a nice church… some shops. Alright, I’m struggling to think of anything else.

Ladybrand is also home to the ugliest women I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been to Huddersfield. They all have the same big, round, dumb faces and out-of-date haircuts, and wander around looking like they just stepped in dogshit and then trampled it through the house. The bloke who owns the local paper bag factory must be laughing. I’ll be getting out of here at the crack of dawn to ensure one of the fugmos doesn’t make a rape victim out of me.  Sorry, Ladybrand, but you’re not my sort of place.

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