Situated on the south of Maseru, has an area of 2, 119km 2 and a population of approximately 330, 000. The capital town of this district is also named Mafeteng. This is an administrative and commercial centre which is about 76km south of Maseru.
The town is said to be named after an early visitor, Emile Roland, who was nicknamed "Lefeta", literally meaning "traveller" or "passer-by". Mafeteng translates to English as "The place of the passers-by".
Mafeteng is not far from Van Rooyens Gate Border post, the site of severe conflict during the Gun War of 1880-1881. The Gun War, also known as the Basuto War, was a conflict in the British territory of Basutoland. It was fought between the Cape Colony and chiefs over tribal rights.
Although officially considered a stalemate, the final settlement favoured the Basotho and is thus considered a marginal defeat of the British Empire. Basutoland - home of the Basotho people - had been under the nominal control of the Cape Colony since 1872 (it was a Crown colony from 1868 - 1872). The territory remained essentially autonomous in the early years of colonial rule, with traditional Basotho authorities wielding effective power.
Pony Trekking at Malealea
A visit to Lesotho is incomplete without a pony trek. It is the transport of choice for most Basotho, as the sturdy ponies handle the narrow trails better than any 4X4 can.
Pony treks can be arranged in the morning or the afternoon. Beginner riders can ask for the village children to accompany their horse and lead them at a rate of M10.00 per hour. This gets paid to the guide.
- Bushman Painting Pony Trek2 hours riding and 1 hour steep hike to the paintingsLevel: easyRates: R250.00pp for 2 people or R190.00pp for 3 people
- Gorge Trek2 hour ride to the top of a gorge. Good for beginners Level: very easyRates: R250.00pp for 2 people or R190.00pp for 3 people
- Botsoela Waterfall4 hour trek. It is advisable to take a packed lunch Level: for adventurous trekkersRates: R200.00pp for 2 people or R170.00pp for 3 people
- Bushman paintings and the Botsoela waterfall5-6 hour trek. It is advisable to take a packed lunchLevel: for adventurous trekkersRates: R240.00pp for 2 people or R200.00pp for 3 people
- Makhaleng Plateaux Ride5-6 hour trek. It is advisable to take a packed lunchLevel: for experienced ridersRates: R260.00pp for 2 people or R220.00pp for 3 people
Where to Stay
Mafeteng district offers different kinds of accommodation establishments varying from hotels, lodges, guest houses, home stays and camping. There are two hotels in Mafeteng town which offer a warm and comfortable visit, with a lot of activities which will make you want to stay longer. Golden Hotel is just outside the town on the main south road from Maseru, while Mafeteng Hotel is in the town towards the west.
Breathtaking scenery abounds and every season has unique attractions. Malealea is situated in a remote part of Eastern Mafeteng which is breathtaking in its beauty. This is a wonderful opportunity to experience traditional Basotho life.