I remember the first time I saw a picture of Maliba Lodge on Instagram and Twitter, it was probably in 2017. I could not believe that there was a place like this in Lesotho because I am usually exposed to the rural parts of the country whenever I visit there.
The area looked like a magical island out of a movie, too good to be true, but what drew me to it was the fact that it was in a place I called home – Lesotho.
I felt a bit robbed because my parents never told me about this place or even took me there, considering that it is within their district. So there I was, calling myself SothoGirlDiaries and the founder of ShweShweKini, brands that are extensions of my Basotho culture, yet I did not know Maliba Lodge. Determined to get myself there, I phoned and emailed Maliba Lodge to organize a stay for me so I could share the experience with my followers. This was successful and my request was granted.
At the time of my discovery of Maliba Lodge I was still living in Cape Town in the Western Cape province and I moved up to Johannesburg in the Gauteng province at the beginning of February 2019, which is just over 1000km away from Cape Town. Since my family lives in the Free State province, which is about 250km outside of Johannesburg and 348.3km away from Lesotho, meant that I was closer to my Maliba Lodge dream and experience. So close that we can actually complete a trip to Lesotho in one day!
We visited Lesotho twice and on both occasions we could not get to Maliba Lodge because of family obligations. But like they always say, third time is a charm.
VISITING MALI LODGE
About Maliba Lodge
Maliba Lodge is the first and only 5- star luxury Lesotho accommodation. It is located within Tsehlanyane National Park. It is only 4.5 hours’ drive away from Johannesburg. The lodges are all inclusive and self-catering to satisfy all budgets. There is a spa, Bana Kids Club, a 5-star gourmet restaurant, horse riding and an amazing friendly staff that are supportive.
I must admit that I never informed the lodge that I was coming during my first two visits and luckily family matters got into the way and we kept postponing the visit to Maliba Lodge. However, on my third visit, I made sure to inform them a week in advance about my trip and gave them an idea of all the activities that I wanted to participate in as per my agreement with the marketing team.
TIP: If you are planning your trip to Maliba Lodge, I recommend that you phone or email the office at least a week in advanced and book your stay. The lodge gets very busy over weekends and public holidays, so booking on time can save you a lot of disappointments.
Since Lesotho is an enclaved country (a country surrounded by another country), you will need a valid passport in order to be allowed into the country. This goes for everyone, international and local Southern African travellers. If you are travelling with a child who is a minor, please familiarize yourself with South African Home Affairs requirements for travelling with children from the Republic of South Africa. Here’s the link to learn more: Home Affairs Requirements
Lesotho is very accessible and there are different means of transport to get you to Maliba Lodge. We always drive because it is literally “next door” to Free State. However, you can always book a flight if driving is not something you are interested in, you can take a bus or even catch a Taxi if you are travelling with a local.
– A flight to the capital city Maseru can cost you anything from R4918 –R5178, return, subject to air fare changes.
– A bus to Lesotho can cost R550- R956, however I have never taken a bus to Lesotho and you may need to check this with a bus service provider.
– A taxi to Lesotho can cost around R180 – R280 depending on where you board the taxi.
– Lastly, you can drive to Lesotho or hire a car. I prefer the former as you are in more control
There are different border posts that you can use to get to Maliba Lodge depending on where you are coming from:
Maseru Bridge is open 24 hours and is a 15 minute drive from Ladybrand. This border post is about 4 hours from Johannesburg and 1.5 hours from Bloemfontein.
Peka Bridge, open from 08h00 – 16h00, this bridge is about 376.3 km from Johannesburg.
Maputsoe, Ficksburg Bridge, is open for 24 hours, this border is relatively closer to those residing in the Free State and it is 370.1km from Johannesburg. It is also one of the busiest border post.
Caledonspoort – Fouriesburg, this is definitely my favourite border post because it is hardly ever congested and it is 313.6km from Johannesburg.
Qacha’s Neck Border- Matatiele Eastern Cape, this is the nearest town to this border post if you are coming from the Eastern Cape area.
Van Rooyens Gate – Wepener, Free State if you are coming from this area in the Free State then this will be the nearest border post for you.
The drive to Maliba Lodge promises an amazing open view of the Maloti Mountains and the air is always fresh. On your way to Maliba, you are likely to come across sheep and cows in roads that are supervised.
My activity plan included a full-body massage and horse riding, which is priced at R450 per person.
a) Spa treatment
I went for a spa treatment with my mom and we used this opportunity to bond. It was such an amazing treatment and I felt so relaxed afterwards.
There is a hiking trail given that this is within the highlands. The trails offers a spectacular view of the Maloti Mountains surround Maliba Lodge.
c) Horse Riding
Now this was one terrifying activity at first, but also exciting. It was our first time horse riding (my siblings and I), but our guide was so friendly and helpful. What was hilarious was that my little sister and brother were so brave and handled their horses with ease, while I struggled with mine a bit.
In the end, I finally mastered my horse riding skills. It was such an amazing experience and I would recommend this activity to anyone.
d) There is also four wheel driving
e) Community visit
As we were only in Lesotho for the day, we were not able to do community visits – even go see my grandmother. However this is an activity that tourists can also explore to see the lived realities of Lesotho households.
f) There is also archery for those that are interested
g) There is further bird watching activities to explore
h) Dinosaur Footprint
Did you know that Lesotho has the distinction of having the world’s earliest known mammalian skeletal material? This makes Lesotho rich in paleontological importance, hence there is an activity that involves looking at dinosaur footprints. Cool hey?
During our horse riding break we stopped at the Rock Pool and Holomo Waterfall. If it had not been cold, I would have probably swam in there in my Shweshwekini. This was really the most beautiful scene from our trip.
j) The food
We had lunch at the Bistro, which is also a 5 star gourmet restaurant and all I can say is that they are not rated 5-star for nothing. The food was well prepared and the presentation was laid out in such a neat manner. The menu offers a range of selections from burgers, quesadillas, steaks, fish, pasta and delicious salads.
Over all, Maliba Lodge exceeded my expectations and felt like I need to go back in summer and explore it a bit more.
Please let me know if you have any pressing questions on this trip and I will be sure to answer them. If you also need assistance with booking your trip or getting more insight on how to get to Maliba Lodge please contact me.
Until next time, #VisitLesotho