Maloti Drakensberg Transfrontier Programme 4x4 Expedition

6 December 2017

The Maloti Drakensberg Transfrontier Programme (MDTP) recently held the first 4x4 expedition from 27 to 31 October 2017. The expedition took place within the Maloti Drakensberg Transfrontier Conservation Area, starting in South Africa in Matatiele and traversed through the mountain Kingdom of Lesotho affectionately known as the “Kingdom in the sky". The main aim of the expedition was to market and showcase some of the key attractions and activities of a section of the Maloti Drakensberg TFCA that has significant untapped potential and to create awareness to encourage tour operators to develop similar innovative itineraries within the TFCA.

The MDTP in partnership with Volkswagen South Africa, with support from the Maloti Drakensberg Route (MDR) and Boundless Southern Africa successfully hosted the 5 day event.  The event saw participation from more than 30 participants, including 10 journalists from both South Africa and Lesotho and officials from various government departments and implementing agencies of the MDTP partner countries.

The route covered approximately 500 km of both tarred and true 4x4 gravel terrain. It further exposed participants to emerging tourism establishments such as the Mehloding Community Trust accommodation facilities (South Africa) which is a community operated product that aims to benefit local communities through provision of employment opportunities in the tourism industry and the Thamathu Community Village Homestay initiative (Lesotho), which offers tourists an opportunity to experience the Basotho way of life.  Other attractions visited included Lake Letsie in Lesotho which is located 2403m above sea level, the Maletsunyane falls which is the highest single drop waterfall in Southern Africa, Sehlabathebe National Park which hosts impressive bushman’s paintings and pristine waterfalls and rock pools. Many participants were ecstatic to conquer some of the most daring and notorious mountain passes including the Ongeluksnek pass, Suspension bridge pass, Maphooaneng pass and the famous Matebeng pass which was the highest point of the trip at 2955m above sea level.

Mr. Stuart Reichardt from Leisure Boating who was part of the expedition said “it was a great opportunity to see some of the beautifully scenic and less traveled expanses in Lesotho, I’m still pretty moeg (tired) even after two nights good rest and my kidneys have yet to find their way back to their rightful place, but a very satisfying trip”.