Day 21 – Place Of Smoke (Part 2)

As we approach the viewing point, I start to doubt if we are even close to the waterfall. I’ve been to plenty of waterfalls and usually you can hear the thundering sound of the water from quite far away. It is quiet. Too quiet. The only sound is that of distant cowbells. The gorge forms almost like a ‘T’ shape and as soon as we start getting more inline with the “bottom part of the T”, we can suddenly hear the thundering. And soon after that, we catch the first glimpse of the waterfall. It is majestic. With a staggering drop of 192 meters, and surrounded by some of the most beautiful landscapes. This is definitely one of the most breathtaking sights I’ve ever seen. Worth every second of the challenging trip to get here.

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Unfortunately we can’t spend too much time here. It is already 13:00 and we still have to take on the journey back home. We take a couple of photos and then we start hiking back down the mountain. Another hour of rain, mud, slippery rocks and downhill trekking, and we find ourselves back at the lodge. Now we walk back to Semonkong. This town made me think of something out of an old Western. Dusty streets, everyone rides horses and almost everything in town is located in only one street. Unfortunately no saloons or gun slinging standoffs… Dammit!

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So here we are, back on the same quiet street. No cars, no taxis, not even a horse carriage to give us a ride. There are a couple of taxis in town but they are way outside our budget. Finally we see a car on the horizon, I lift my arm to hitch a ride but it just speeds past us. We eventually get a ride on the back of a pickup again. Soon after, a 4+1 taxi comes from behind, flashing it’s lights. At first I thought there might be a problem. The driver of the pickup stops and the taxi stops next to him. They talk in Sesotho, so I have no idea what’s going on. The driver of the pickup gets out and tells us that the taxi driver wants us to get in the taxi. We don’t have any money I tell him. No, for free. He saw us on the back of the pickup in the rain and offered to give us a ride in his taxi instead. Completely for free. On our way, we see a car next to road, completely smashed up and ambulance and police everywhere. It is the car that sped by us earlier. Now I’m really glad they didn’t pick us up.

The taxi driver takes us all the way to Maseru and by now, It’s 18:00 already. We try hitchhiking again and a guy picks us up. He says that he won’t allow us to hitchhike in the rain. So he takes us to the taxi rank, find us a taxi to TY and pay the fare for both of us. What a great guy! Now this is where the real adventure begins. After waiting about an hour for the taxi to fill up, we are finally on our way. Even though the taxi already filled up at the rank, the driver still stops to pick up every single person next to the road. At one point there were 21 people in the taxi, which only has space for 14 people plus the driver.

Just a few kilometers from TY and the traffic comes to complete halt. It seems like there’s another accident down the road. We take a small dirt road that leads into a village. The roads are muddy and the taxi keeps on slipping down the steep hill. Eventually, all of us have to get out and walk up the hill. The taxi makes it up easily once all the weight is out. At the top of the hill, we all get back in and we are off to TY at last. When we arrive in  town, its already past eight and we still have to find a way to the hospital. Luckily we meet up with one of the doctors at the filling station and he gives us a ride back. We made it, we are finally home in one piece. What a day!

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