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Southern Africa : Lesotho : Mokhotlong
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Mokhotlong is a city in Lesotho


Cradled in the mountains of Southern Africa, Mokhotlong is located in the northeastern part of the country. It is the first major town along the road from South Africa across the Sani Pass, near the Maloti (Drakensberg in South Africa) Mountains. The name of the city is a word in Sesotho, the language of the people of Lesotho, meaning "Place of the Bald Ibis."

The source of the Senqu River, Lesotho’s largest river, is near Mokhotlong, impacting the landscape throughout the town and surrounding district.

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The mountain range is host to activities including hiking trails, horse trails, rock climbing, white water rafting, fly and trout fishing, golfing, bird and game watching, safaris, and much more.

In addition to regular activities, Mokhotlong hosts the annual High Altitude Summer Marathon at the end of the year. The route runs through the Maloti Mountains and is characterized by great views of both mountains and villages. At 3000 meters above sea level, if the scenery does not take the runner’s breath away, the steep ascents and descents will. There are also half marathon and 10k events, in addition to the full marathon.

Mokhotlong is also on the route of the annual Roof of Africa Rally, an off-road motorcycle rally. Finally, Mokhotlong is home to the highest-elevated diamond mine in the world, Letseng diamond mine, which can be toured, and is often frequented by local students as part of their course of study. Its diamonds have the highest per carat price of any kimberlite mine, and with the capacity to process more than 5 million tonnes a year and recover about 100,000 carats, it is the seventh largest in the world. Three of their diamonds are among the world’s top twenty rough diamonds.

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  • Mokhotlong Hotel. The hotel is on the left side of the road as you drive through the city. It is great value and the rooms are nicer than one might think given the dim hallways. The staff may give you a 2012 wall calendar with a picture of a mouse sitting on the head of a cat, or of a leopard leaping to attack a porcupine. Take it home and hang it on your wall and don't forget that the Mokhotlong Hotel sorted you out when you were tired and starving, and did so in a way that many middle-of-nowhere hotels have not. Get there before the restaurant closes at 8pm. The restaurant offers a surprising variety of dishes, including more than 20 pizza options. Also notable is the sophistication of options (Arrabiata, Quattro Formagio) and that there are no spelling errors on the menu, which is in English. There are also local dishes, burgers and typical international fare, all described accurately. The hotel breakfast is passable. $45 approx.  edit


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