Lesotho is blessed with an extensive network of trails that traverse the mountain ranges and valleys from village to village. These trails and tracks have been in existence for hundreds of years, kept open by regular people & livestock traffic to and from the bigger towns & villages far below. These are the trails we use to traverse 120km of some of the most spectacular mountain wilderness in the world- only 1.6km of the total distance is on a made up gravel road – that’s 99% unadulterated, wilderness trails – some of the best trail running in the world! This is the unrivaled magnificence of this mountain kingdom. This experience will be like no trail running experience you’ve had before.
Basotho villages along the route extend roughly as high as the 2200m-2400m mark, below which are the really steep and rocky slopes of the mountain ridges and peaks. Traversing above these heights and into the heart of the Ketane Ha Mothibi, Thaba Chitja and Putsoa ranges, there is very little traffic. These areas are only really used in the heat of summer when herders move their livestock up into the higher areas to graze the summer growth – otherwise these areas are very remote and spectacular.
The Lesotho Wildrun route is not marked, and you will rely on both your detailed Lesotho Wildrun map, detailed route information & regular GPS waypoints to direct you along the way. A waypoint can be described as a breadcrumb trail, and on the Lesotho Wildrun these are supplied at regular intervals (between 1-2km) to ensure you stay on track. Even the most novice navigator will find this experience very simple and failsafe. Complete sets of waypoints will be given for all three days within 10 days of your Lesotho Wildrun adventure. A detailed, water & tear-proof map will be given to you at registration with extensive map & waypoint information on the back. Below is a snippet of what your map & detail would look like:
Below is a short summary of each day’s route, along with a pictorial route map & profile:
Day 1 – Ha Searle (Near Malealea) to Semonkong
Vertical Gain: 2080m
WTG: GREEN 10B What’s this?
This is a brand new route for day 1 of the Lesotho Wildrun 2012. Starting from the village of Ha Searle at 1810m (a taxi ride away from Malealea lodge), the village school bell will set you off up Mahlatsa mountain, a short distance to Ha Makoae village, before traversing around to Ha Jane village to start the big climb of the day – topping out at 2370m. From here, a short drop past Ha Molati village before another climb to top out at 2500m and the source of the Qhojoaneng Valley. Another short traverse brings you to the base of the final push to the highest point of the day at 2575m, with magnificent views across the Maepo Plateau. With the hard part behind you, enjoy the undulating wilderness running to Ha Hlalele Village (CP1) nestled on the top of the impressive 165m Ketane Waterfall. You will drop here to cross the Ketane river, before climbing 390m to start a traverse around to pass just North of Ha Mokatja Village. From here it’s an undulating descent to Semonkong and the finish of a tough but very rewarding day.
Day 2 – Semonkong to Semonkong via the Maletsunyane Gorge & Falls
Vertical Gain: 1005m
WTG: GREEN 9B What’s this?
Famed by many of the 2011 Lesotho Wildrunners as ‘The most spectacular trail running route ever run’, day 2 takes you on a circumnavigation of the Maletsunyane River Gorge, and to a view of one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Africa – the 192m high Maletsunyane Falls. Other than the descent to cross the river lower down in the gorge, and the steep ascent to bring you out on the western side of the gorge, the running is easy and enjoyable along stunning well worn trails that traverse both sides of this breathtakingly beautiful gorge.
We start off on the banks of the Maletsunyane River, in the gardens of Semonkong Lodge. After a short stretch along the river edge, you ascend to the lip of the gorge and head downstream to cross a low-level bridge and reach the eastern bank of the river.
The journey from here follows the eastern edge of the Maletsunyane River Gorge, on some of the most spectacular mountain traverse trails you could ever hope to run on. High above the valley below, the trail traverses above 300m high vertical cliffs as it meanders south to the first break in the rock band and the descent to the valley floor at 1675m.
Immediately after the river crossing you start threading the ridgeline that climbs up the western side of the gorge to 2250m (600m of climb). From here you are once again on level terrain, following smooth fast trails along the western edge of the gorge. At the 25km mark you ascend a small rise on a very good road, and at the crest you will catch sight of the Maletsunyane Waterfall. There are few words to describe how magnificent this waterfall is, and all manner of photographs do not do it justice. It will be an experience that will almost for certain be a highlight in your running career!
Day 3 – Semonkong to Ramabanta
Vertical Gain: 863m
WTG:GREEN 10B What’s this?
The final day of the Lesotho Wildrun takes us to Ramabanta (‘Place of the belt”) via the top of Lekhalong-la-Mokhelelise Pass – commonly known as the Baboon’s Pass – at 2680m. Out of Semonkong, runners will start out on undulating trails to the village of Thaba Tsoeu. From here the trail bears right and over to descend into the Makhoalipana valley. After undulating up and along various small river valleys, you will arrive at the summit of the infamous ‘Baboon’s Pass’ and your last high point of the Lesotho Wildrun at 2680m. Below you facing west, the Letsunyane River meanders away from you towards Ramabanta. After descending for a few kilometres along Baboon’s pass, you will break left onto the spine of the obvious ridge that runs down parallel to the Letsunyane River below. Runners will pass the villages of Ha Moealeng and Ha Moleko amongst others on their way down down down to eventually cross the Makhaleng River. A short ascent brings you to the finish of the Lesotho Wildrun, on the lavish lawns of the Ramabanta Trading Pose Lodge!