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Tour operator in domestic tourism boost

by Sunday Express
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Bereng Mpaki

LOCAL tour operator Leseli Tours will stage the first ever cross-country motor rally of 4×4 vehicles and other fun-filled activities aimed at stimulating domestic tourism.

Dubbed the ‘Tele to Mechachane 4X4 Independence Expedition’ the inaugural event will tour all the country’s 10 districts including the major tourist attractions. There will also be several fun-filled activities as part of Lesotho’s 52nd independence commemorations.  Lesotho achieved independence from Britain on 4 October 1966.

Places such as the Sehlaba- Thebe National Park in Qacha’s Nek and Afriski skiing resort in Butha-Buthe among the tourist attractions that will be visited during the event. In addition to the motor rally, there will be horse-riding, rock-climbing, abseiling, picnic and hiking among other toured among other activities.

The managing director of Leseli Tours, Rethabile Stephen Morake, recently told the Sunday Express that the expedition is meant to afford the public an opportunity to enjoy the country’s beautiful rugged terrain “while unleashing the might of their 4×4 vehicles”.

The four-day adventure, which runs from 1 to 4 November, targets individuals and corporates to come out and play with their “big toys”, with the whole spectacle being captured on camera for later distribution to participants.

Mr Morake said the adventure would also stimulate domestic tourism and ultimately boost efforts aimed at creating much-needed jobs for locals.

He said by sleeping over in some of the hospitality establishments and hiring horses from communities around the country, they would be contributing to the creation and maintenance of jobs thereby improving livelihoods.

“Through this adventure we are giving Basotho a reason to tour their country and by so doing we will have contributed to the domestic tourism call by LTDC (Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation) which has a direct bearing on job creation,” Mr Morake said.

The LTDC campaign encourages Basotho to prioritise touring their own country ahead of visiting other countries for their holidays.

Mr Morake said they believed that charity should begin at home and it was time Basotho took matters into their own hands to fix the socio-economic challenges which the country was facing.

“We want our own people to become ambassadors of this country when to promote it to the rest of the world.”

He further said during the course of the 4×4 expedition, they would stop to view and explain places of interest such as Ha Apile, Ha Rankakala, Ha Makoae and Mathebe that get their names from their unique rock structures.

The inaugural event follows the 2017 High Altitude Bootcamp in Katse and a smaller version of the 2016 4X4 expedition that was held in recognition of the country’s independence.

The event will kick-off on Thursday in Maseru and proceed to Mafeteng, Quthing and end at Sehlaba – Thebe in Qacha’s Nek.

“In my view, Sehlaba- Thebe is the most beautiful place I have ever seen in the entire world. But the area is underrated and few people actually know about it. So, the idea is to give this place exposure as we will spend the night at the lodge.”

“The second day will involve activities such as horse riding, rock-climbing, abseiling and general touring of the park. The horse will be hired from the local community.

“On the third day tourists will leave Sehlaba – Thebe and climb through the challenging Matebeng Pass to Sehonghong into Thaba- Tseka town.

“The last day will see the procession starting out at Molumong into Mokhotlong town, passing by Afriski in Butha-Buthe on the way back to Maseru.”

Mr Morake said also revealed that the participants would also distribute sanitary towels to girls in villages and schools in the areas they pass through. The sanitary towels will be bought from part of the M2000 fee each participant is expected to pay. The M2000 fee covers accommodation and meals for the entire duration of the expedition.

Interested persons are also expected to bring their own 4×4 or 4×2 trucks on high suspension as well as fuel.

“We have noted with concern that many girls skip school during their monthly periods for fear of embarrassment because they do not have sanitary towels, which is why we decided to do something to help,” Mr Morake said, adding that the public should feel free to donate sanitary towels.

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