Living, Learning & Loving La Vida Nueva

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Vacation Plan B

Months ago while in Durban, Jonathan picked up a pamphlet for a set of holiday cottages on a lake about three hours from Mokhotlong.  Upon inquiring about prices, we decided we would go for a vacation after peak season ended.  After spending Christmas and New Years without our extended family in the US, we felt it would be nice to have something special to look forward to as a family.

A couple weeks before we were booked to go, we started throwing around the idea of asking our neighbors to join us.  We had gathered that they also wanted to take a vacation during the school break and thought we could enjoy some time away together.  Because of the school schedule, we had to adjust our dates and plans a bit but we were able to settle on four nights in side-by-side cottages.  Each cottage came with a row boat and we decided to grill out every night for dinner.  We were all so excited!

And we're off!

So early one morning we packed up and set off.  When we arrived at the top of Sani Pass, the mountain road we use to get out of Mokhotlong to the east, we were informed that the pass had washed away.  At first I thought it was a joke.  How could it just fall off?  It is unpaved and even in good conditions it isn't a pleasant road to drive.  However, heavy rains and hail created a serious land slide.  We went down the first two curves and were stopped by all the taxis which had pulled over.  We got out and peered over.  Sure enough, there was no road.  Because it was still raining and foggy, we couldn't photograph it.  There were people walking down on foot with their belongings to catch another taxi at the bottom.  That wasn't an option for us.  So we turned around and started the one and a half hours back home.  We were all so deflated!

I was most disappointed for Kyle and Joy (our neighbors' daughter).  Kyle kept saying, "I am so sad we can't go to our boat vacation."  Joy, who had chattered excitedly the whole way to the pass, barely said a word all the way back to Mokhotlong.  From the looks of it, we were sure it would take at least a few days, if not longer, to fix the road.  As we drove back, I started pondering our options for going towards the west using the other road out of Mokhotlong.  We already knew of a few places we might be able to stay, if they had availability, about four/five hours from here.  After running the idea by our friends, we inquired about a place I found online and booked for that night!


....Are we there yet?"

We got back in the car and drove the five hours down to our new vacation destination.  What a long day that was!  We finally arrived and my kids were absolute troopers in the car all eight hours of traveling.  What was meant to be a quick, three hour drive down to our closest town turned into an eight hour tour of half the country.  Our vacation began at the grocery to pick up things we can't get in Mokhotlong.  Then we crept along an extremely dark highway trying to find the place.  Finally we succeeded.  And we all crashed for the night!

"See, Mom, I got out of the tree all by myself!"

Studying under the willow tree

Ellee is completely smitten with Ntate and Mme Mosoang.  

We ended up on a quiet farm in the lowlands, each family with our own cottage.  We grilled our dinners every night and had fun playing some football (soccer) in the yard around the farm. There were two ponies and a donkey for the kids to visit just outside our front door!  The kids enjoyed splashing in the pool and we did a little shopping and sightseeing in the small towns nearby.  Our days were spent relaxing mostly, napping and just playing with the kids.  Although it wasn't exactly the lakeside holiday we had been looking forward to, it was still delightful.  And because this place was cheaper, we stayed five nights instead of four.

Beautiful patio overlooking the South African countryside.

"Look, Mom!"

This child was almost to the top of the ladder before we realized she had gone anywhere.  A monkey!

One morning we went to a tourist site only about ten minutes from where we were staying.  It is the end of a gigantic underground tunnel which stretches 90 km from high in the Lesotho mountains down to the lowlands in Orange Free State.  The tunnel was drilled for the purpose of exporting water from Lesotho to South Africa.  Dams are being built within Lesotho to further direct water sources to export tunnels.  I was completely fascinated by the size of the tunnel and the amount of water rushing out!

A piece of the tunnel to give you an idea of the size.  There was a plaque that said three people had died during the drilling and placement of it.  

Having our friends with us was such a treat.  It was just like we'd hoped.  Company for meal times and board games but also totally laid back and relaxed.  I think they really enjoyed the time away from the day-in-day-out life of Mokhotlong.  We all joked that it was nice just to not have anyone knocking at our doors for one reason or the other (a common occurrence here morning, noon and night).  As we were leaving, they suggested as long as we are in Lesotho, it must now be a tradition that we plan at least one family holiday together per year.  We agreed.


1 comment:

  1. God blessed you abundantly above all you could have asked for with these precious friends. I am so happy you could make this trip together. It looks like a fun place to visit.