AFRISKI – Mountain Adventure Destination
South Africa, where I am from surrounds the Kingdom of Lesotho, which made it easier to access Afriski Snow + Mountain Resort. I am happy to have experienced this place, with and without the snow and trust that both occasions stamped it as an establishment I would highly recommend for leisure.
First thing is first, in order to even think of entering Lesotho, one must have a valid passport (expiry date should allow for at least six (6) months validity from planned travel dates.) For South Africans, visas are issued upon arrival at any of the official border posts. In addition to this, there are over 70 other countries that are visa exempted, here is a full list of visa-waived countries.
It is also important to note that Afriski Snow + Mountain Resort is situated more than three thousand (3,000) meters above sea level, in the Maluti Mountains, as such I would suggest hiring or using a vehicle that would easily take to high altitudes or snow conditions, like a 4×4. Also, all vehicles crossing the border from South Africa to Lesotho are required to have valid licenses and emergency triangles. Expect a toll fee to be charged, of which the amount will be determined by the weight of the chosen vehicle.
Lastly, before you embark on your journey, remember to pack warm clothes, as it can be quite cold up in the mountains. Boots, gloves, jackets and beanies come in real handy.Nevertheless, our most recent journey was for an event called Pop Bottles that took place in the first week of June, from the 7 th to the 10 th day of that specific month. Our road trip was a convoy of five (5) new Nissan Navara Stealth vehicles and started in Johannesburg South Africa. We took the N3 for three and a half hours (3h30 mins) to the Free State province, to find the Caledonspoort Border with its daily operating hours from 06h00 to 22h00.
This was a gateway into Lesotho, that would have us continue on our drive for another one hour and twenty-seven minutes (1h27 mins) to reach our final destination.
The road to Afriski, saw us along steep climbs, switchbacks and occasional potholes which still made for incredible mountain passes. We were then met by a big sign that read “Afriski” and that’s when the fun really started. Passed the security gate and stopped by the main reception area to check-in. Here is where one would present their passports to collect room keys and if not roaming, one would be able to use South African Rands (widely accepted in Lesotho as Rands are the equivalent to the local currency ‘Maloti’) or use actual to Maloti to buy a Lesotho sim card for about twenty Rands (R20) and some cheap data, for example 2 Gigs worth of data only cost fifty Rands (R50)
Accommodation options at the resort varied in size and price. Design styles catered to different needs: families, couples and groups. There were units for backpackers, self-catering villas and hotel rooms on offer with heating systems (heaters or electric blankets) in each.
My most preferred place to stay being Alpes D’Huez, a contemporary lodge with 5 en-suite bedrooms, an open plan kitchen with a spacious lounge, dining area and butler service. Check their website for booking details.
The Sky Bar Restaurant happens to be the highest restaurant in Africa, breakfast, lunch and dinner were all served there. The respective menus consisted of delicious meals to suit the time of day and one’s appetite, from salads to pizzas and made it convenient for days we did not want to cook in our self-catering facilities. To give you an idea of costs, I often purchased a burger and chips meal for about a hundred and forty Rands (R140)
Lots of outdoor activities were available on premise, like mountain biking, quad-biking,Snowboarding, skiing and bum boarding. I signed up for quad biking, bum boarding and skiing.Our all-inclusive event packages came with equipment hire and on top of that professional instructors were provided as necessary, for all three activities. Really needed special lessons for the hour long skiing part, as it was my first time on the slopes. There was only one main slope for advanced snowboarders or skiers and it was about a thousand (1,000) meters high) and the two (2) slopes that were better suited for beginners were both around a hundred (100) meters. Day visitors could also partake in the activities offered at the resort and they would be charged specific rates.
For more information on activity packages contact us here https://tourismguideafrica.com/request-package/
All in all, Afriski Snow + Mountain Resort presented value for money from its friendly staff, activities, accommodation and the food. It is definitely a great way to get a taste of Lesotho!
WORDS BY LERATO LEFAFA
IMAGES BY LERATO LEFAFA, DANIEL MAGIDI, REFILOE KOBELI,AFRISKI AND THEMBANI MANGANYI