Semonkong Traditional Horse Race
As part of the initiatives to promote domestic tourism in Lesotho, #visityourcountryfirst, the Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation supports the annual horse-racing event as organised by the Semonkong community in collaboration with the Management of Semonkong lodge. This is an annual event whose main aim is to commemorate the Kings birthday in July.
There are two categories of the race being the 800m for the foals and the 1600m for the mature horses. In order to make the event even more interesting, betting has also been incorporated as a sidegame whereby jockeys and spectators bet among themselves. According to them, individual choice for a horse depends on its “cool” name, and the horse’s colour. Some bettors are very analytical and consider the horses’ racing history before placing their bets. Their system of betting is a simple one which involves just three categories being; a win, a place and a show. In a win, your horse has to be in the 1st position and you win, in a place, if your horse finishes 1st or 2nd you win and in a show, your horse has to be in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place for you to win.
Horseracing is more than a sport competition. For the tourism sector, it promotes tourism as it attracts visitors as competitors and spectators – independent of age, origin and class; it generates revenue - through betting and prize money, contributes to environmental preservation and conservation and promotes social cohesion and integration – through betting.
The Kingdom in the Sky (Lesotho) always has very pleasant surprises up its sleeves, Semonkong is one of the many unexpected high spots in Lesotho; popular for activities such as fly-fishing, bird-watching, abseiling, hiking, Maluti-beer drinking and definitely photo-taking, hence in 2015, the event was graced by more than 70 international visitors who had visited the area during the time of the event as well as locals from Semonkong and other places.
Semonkong is home for the epic Maletsunyane water fall; the highest single drop water fall (192m) in the world. The landmark in the area is also the highest (204m) commercial abseiling in the world as recorded in the Guinness book of world records.
Did you know?
When it comes to social integration, a horse is a strong animal often used to support psychologically and recreate an exhausted mind.
Visitors to Lesotho can experience life on horseback themselves. Pony trekking has become one of the most popular tourist activities in Lesotho and is one of the finest ways to experience the Lesotho highlands.
The ponies are typically robust and sure-footed and treks explore the spectacular mountain scenery as well as give visitors the opportunity to see and experience the traditional lifestyle of the Basotho people. The main pony trekking centers are the Basotho Trekking Center on God Help Me Pass, and the Malealea Lodge near the Gates of Paradise, where treks lasting from one hour to six days can be arranged. Further a field in the Tsehlanyane National Park there is the newly built luxury Maliba Lodge which offers pony trekking for guests.