The day starts early in Semonkong, with doneys and goats and sheep and people bubbling out into what passes for streets as soon as the sun peeks over the mountains. I was up at sparrow’s to catch the sunrise, then made the most of my early start by heading out into the wilderness to explore the fascinating country of Lesotho. The main attraction around here is the Maletsunyane Falls, so with a spring in my step I headed out in that vague direction, dodging animals as I went.
The villages in Lesotho are truly fascinating, incredibly poor, and from a different world. They have no electricity, running water, or roads, and are little more than a random sprinkling of huts amongst the hills. I didn’t see too many kids running around with the fancy new Nintendo Switch in their hands, that’s for sure. Everyone’s very pleasant here, and people waved and did their best to say hello as I went past. The walking is tough at such an altitude, though, and I was huffing and puffing like a donut-muncher before long.
I eventually made it to the Falls, and they proved to be as spectacular as I’d hoped. The viewing area (an open cliff, really – there are no fences or signs to be found) is a long way from the waterfall, but the size of the big, wet thing is still immensely impressive. It’s not a wide, open waterfall like Niagra or the aftermath of a huge night on the VBs, but the height of it is frightening. I’ve seen a lot of awesome natural spectacles, and Maletsunyane Falls is up with the best of ’em.
With all day to walk, I crossed wide, open plains and climbed rocky outcrops. I jumped rivers and pushed through thick thatches of grass that sound like rain falling whenever the wind blows. This land is almost untouched by modern society, and that’s part of the beauty. I’ve never been anywhere so remote.
I was strutting along, minding my own business and looking cool, when a couple of young lasses came running over and struck up a convo. They didn’t speak much English, and surprisingly enough I’m not fluent in Lesothonese, so we didn’t delve into an in-depth discussion of Russian politics or anything like that, instead sticking with basic pleasantries.
“I like your face,” one of them struggled to say.
“I like your muscles,” the other almost said. Things went on like this for a while, and I was feeling on top of the world (and being in Lesotho, I guess I was) until the conversation took a disturbing turn.
“I like your penis,” yelled one of the girls, and a balaclava-clad dude on a horse turned around to give me a filthy look. I hoped it was a mistake, but then her mate threw her arms in the air and yelled, “I like your penis, too!”
Now the bar at my lodge tossed me out at 8pm last night, so I was pretty sure I didn’t get smashed and start chucking it around at the locals, but the situation still worried me. If the locals thought I’d been porking their sheilas they might come after me with spears or, even worse, make me marry the girls. I don’t thrive in the cold, so I was reasonably concerned.
I could see a few horsemen sharpening sticks and glaring at me, so I waited until the girls were distracted by something shiny and dived into a bush. I thought it was the perfect place to hide until I realised it was a rare Condom Tree. In a country where half the people are rancid with AIDS, I was a little concerned that I’d end my trip to Africa looking like Tom Hanks in Philadelphia, but I tested the tree’s fruit and it tasted fine. Thumbs up!
I ended the day by almost agreeing to write the autobiography of some nutter named Rudy who I met in the bar. Richard Branson will be signing my cheques personally, apparently. It’s a great story that ended with me falling into a drain, but I think Rudy deserves his own entry!