The Kingdom of Lesotho is a small but mountainous country completely surrounded by South Africa. It has a small population of about 2 million people, most of whom live in mountains in small villages scattered over the mountainside. Although there is a small amount of arable land most of the Basotho people live from the land by farming livestock and crops.
Many years of people, horses, donkeys and cattle walking from village to village across the mountains has created an endless network of steep, loose and knarly trails. 😉
There are thousands of routes and trail options to choose from which may bewilder a nervous heart but simply excites us.
Lesotho has a rich culture and the Basotho people have a great sense of pride. King Moshoeshoe I, the founder of the nation united many tribes or clans under one banner, the then Basotholand (now called the Kingdom of Lesotho). King Moshoeshoe is remembered for being an outstanding diplomat who ruled and protected Lesotho from many threats. He had a very welcoming heart and anyone who came to Lesotho was welcomed as one of his own. This welcoming attitude lives on in the people today and as such is a great place to visit.
The terrain around Roma is exceptional. The Maseru district we are in is named that way because of the vast amount of sand stone around (Maseru meaning, many or much sandstone). Easily seen by the huge sandstone slabs around us. Just higher up from the sandstone cliffs that surround us the soil turns red and later black with a basalt rock. In one run you can get some crazy rock garden, flowy clay lined berms and a sandstone single track rock roll. In other words – mountain biking heaven.
Roma Trading Post was bought by John Thomas Thorn in 1903. He started trading simple commodities like sugar for wool, mohair and grain farmed in the mountains and before long had setup many other trading posts deeper in the mountains. These trading routes also provide some great riding and were the plot for the recent Following the Horsemen bike documentary. The Thorn family continued this trade for many years until Ashley and Jennifer Thorn started small guesthouse here to house the tradesmen who came to the Trading Post. Over the years the guest house grew into one of Lesotho’s foremost destinations.
John Thomas Thorn outside his trading tent in Ha Simione in 1913