A photo travel in Sotho homeland – My first steps in Pontseng

A long journey to reach our destination!

The village of Pontseng is about 800km away from Johannesburg and 1500 m high. Half of the road is by highway and last half by roads in the mountains and request almost 10 hours drive! One thing you need to know is that Johannesburg is situated on a giant plateau which is 1800m high!

That’s why the climate there is almost perfect, I mean dry and never too cold or too hot.

Most of the country is located on this plateau and you really need to get close to the ocean to descend in altitude! I mean that when we left the highway to the road at Howick, this city is still more than 1000 m high and less than 90 km away from the ocean!

We reached our destination, Pontseng, around midnight despite the fog and the rain we faced the 3 last hours of our drive. Of course as there is no electricity in the village, everything was very dark and I wasn’t able to see anything. That’s why I took this picture of the Pontseng’s sign 2 or 3 days later on day light to show you the crossroad that leads to the village.

Crossroad to reach Pontseng

Beautifuk Drakensberg mountains, perfect for landscape photography!

Pontseng is a village located in the foothill of the Drakensberg mountains. I mean that the highest mountains which are more than 3 000 m high are located in Lesotho and are the borders with South Africa making this country like a sanctuary hard to access!

The Drakensberg side of South Africa is a plateau 1500 m high with small mountains probably 2000 m high. And wherever you are you can see the steep and high cliffs that mark the borders between the 2 countries!

What is amazing is that those mountains are all the time covered by the clouds, even when the countryside around has a clear sky! I understand now why Lesotho is called the country of rains and supplies water to South Africa! The picture above show you how the fields on the plateau are sunny while in the same time it’s raining over the mountains only 20 km away. Really amazing!

A typical village in Sotho homeland!

Pontseng is a small village with may be less than 200 small houses and 1000 inhabitants. It’s located on a small plateau above a river and at the foot of a small mountain. The village is served by only a dirt track which heads to the main road 7 km away or to another dirt track that serves most of the remote village of the area.

The most important places in such a village are the square where taxis stop to take people, the church (could be Catholic, Protestant or Methodist churches), the preschool and school buildings and the shop!

Some of the houses there have their own tanks (from small to big) to store water rain as the river is more than 1h away by walk. You can see some of those tanks in the above pictures, most of the time blue or green. You can also see that every house got latrines outside. They’re all build on the same model: a small building with a pipe to evacuate smells.

Next time I’ll tell you a celebration that occurred the day after I arrived! Stay tuned!

4 Comments on A photo travel in Sotho homeland – My first steps in Pontseng

  1. Awesome country and thank for sharing.

  2. Queen Sylvia // 4 January 2015 at 11:52 AM // Reply

    these are stunning! south africa is an amazing country!

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