Overnight Pony Trekking Routes, Hints, Tips and Rules
Overnight treks are tailor-made to your requirements. They can last from one day to six days and even longer. On your trek you will experience “THE REAL AFRICA”. Trails traverse spectacular mountain passes and some of Lesotho’s highest waterfalls. You can explore Bushman paintings and experiencing Basotho culture.
Accommodation on treks is provided in huts hired from the Basotho people in remote areas. The huts are very basic and are equipped with a gas cooker, cooking and eating utensils and mattresses on the floor.
No riding experience is necessary for an overnight trek. Basotho Guides and a packhorse accompany the treks.
The catered option involves clients heating up food supplied.
Expect about 7 hours of riding time each day.
Maximum weight = 90 kg Luggage = 12.5 kg pp
- The Ribaneng Waterfall – 2 days and 1 night in a village
- The Ribaneng and Mountain pass Trek – 3 days and 2 nights in villages
- The Ribaneng and Ketane Waterfall Trek – 4 days and 3 nights in villages
- The Ribaneng and Ketane and Maletsunyane Trek – 5 days and 4 nights in villages
- The Ribaneng Ketane and Maletsunyane Trek - 6 days and 5 nights in villages
- “Go Anywhere Trek” – Bring your own cooking equipment and mattresses and explore Lesotho with a Basotho Guide, discovering new routes and remote villages.
2 Day Ribaneng Waterfall
After a 6 hour trek, you stop at a cafe selling cold beer and drinks at Ha Lebona. You leave your gear in the overnight hut and hire a guide for a walk to the bottom of the Ribaneng Waterfall. The guide costs about R15.00pp. The duration of the hike is about 3 hours return. You can do this hike the following morning if you prefer or if you’re in no hurry to get back to the lodge. You return to the lodge the next day. Insist on the circular route back to Malealea. It’s a slightly different route alongside the Ribaneng River.
3 Day Ribaneng
This trek is similar to the 2 Day Ribaneng Waterfall trek, except that you do the hike to the bottom of the waterfall on the second day in the afternoon. On the morning of the second day, you ride to the top of the Ribaneng Waterfall, up “Slide Your Ass Pass”. The ride is about 4 hours and there are magnificent views from the top. You sleep in the same hut that you did the night before and you return to Malealea Lodge on the third day.
4 Day Ribaneng, Ketane & Ribaneng, Malealea.
This is the best trek as you go through really remote villages.
Day 1: As for Ribaneng Waterfall trek. You will need to hike to the waterfall in the afternoon.
Day 2: This is quite a long day, with about 7 hour or riding with stops. Insist on seeing the top of the waterfall on Day 2, although this will add another hour onto the duration of the trek. You will arrive at the village of Ha Hlalele (Chief Matias). After storing your gear in the hut, you hire a guide and hike to the Ketane Waterfall. The hike is about 2 hours return.
Day 3: The semi circular route back to Ribaneng is about 6 hours long. Views are completely different on the way back looking far into the distant Free State on a clear day.
Day 4: You have a long ride of 7 hours back to the lodge.
When the Makhaleng River is in flood, we have to use the bridge (see the map on wall). This lengthens the trek time on Day 1 and Day 4 by about another 2 hours, making the trek really long., which does not happen very often.
What to take on the trek
- A change of clothing
- Rain Coat
- Sleeping bag
- Toilet paper
- Food & drinks
Huts are equipped with gas cookers, pots & pans, cutlery, crockery, eating utensils and mattresses. A bucket of fresh spring water will be supplied for washing and for cooking.
What to wear on trek
- Long trousers, long sleeve shirt
- Riding or hiking boots, but running shoes will be fine
- Wide brim hat with string
- Scarf around neck
Suggested food list
- Breakfast: muesli, rusks, longlife milk, apples.
Lunch: Provita, seed loaf, processed cheese, carrots, cucumber, lettuce, tuna mayonnaise, tinned ham, beef, mussels, chocolate, oranges.
Dinner: Cup a Soup, pasta sauces, Rice O Mix, indian tomato curry cans, Toppers, tinned vegetables, tinned fruit, Ultramel Custard, caramel & biscuits.
Notice for pony trekkers
- Be ready to leave for the trek at 9.00a.m. Meet with your bags to the front of the Lodge. This is where the treks start and the guides and horses will be waiting for you. It will take time for the bags to be loaded onto the pack-horses.
- Before leaving on the trek, pack all your extra belongings in your car and drive it to the back of the second dining hall, where they will be quite safe. Any valuables can be handed in at reception for safe keeping. Any meat that requires freezing can also be left in the fridges.
- We regret that not all our guides have a wonderful knowledge of English. We use the English speaking guides whenever possible.
- Please remember that these treks are rough and tough and there are no frills whatsoever.
- There are no showers. You bathe in the plastic basins and streams
- There are no flush toilets, only long drop toilets.
- Furniture is very limited. There are no chairs and very few tables.
- Take along a small camping stove if you have one. The stove at the hut might give trouble.
- Try to balance the weights of your pannier bags to a reasonable degree. Wrap sleeping bags and clothing in plastic bags. If you don’t have enough plastic bags, you can buy them in the store for R1.00. If there isn’t enough room in the pannier bags for sleeping bags, they will be tied on top of the pack horse in separate bags.
- The weight limit per pannier bag is 25kg (50kg per pack horse, usually 4 persons to 1 packhorse). In the case of excess weight, an extra pack horse & guide, will have to be hired by the group at a cost of R480.00 per day. The weight limit per rider is 90 – 100kg. An athletic 110kg person is acceptable. It is not advisable to carry heavy backpacks (about 10 kg) as it can lead to injuries. Should you run out of space in the panniers, inquire about hiring an extra pack horse.
- The water from all the taps has been treated with chlorine and is drinkable. After rains, the water is brown and it as advisable to buy bottled spring water from the bar.
- THE USE OF RIDING HELMETS IS ESSENTIAL.
- Take CANDLES.
- Wines and beer are sold at the lodge for “Happy Hours!”
- There is very little, if any, WOOD at the outstations. If you want to braai you have to take charcoal, firelighters and a grill with you.
- Each person should take at least 2 litres of water from the lodge for the first day. At the outstation you will be supplied with spring water. If you do top up along the way, be sure to collect only spring water from a spring higher than a village. DO NOT DRINK THE RIVER & STREAM WATER. If you have a sensitive stomach, use water purification tablets, although we do seldom have any problems when using correct spring water.
- Please remember that the Basotho Pony generally dislikes a tight rein. Keep the reins loose whenever possible, especially when mounting.
- Always, after mounting, check your girth straps (the strap under the horses stomach) for tightness or ask the guides to check it.
- Should you have problems with your pony on trek; if your horse is too lazy or naughty, speak to your guide about changing horses with his horse.
- If you will be doing the Ribaneng hike, it is advisable to take an extra pair of shoes. Your shoes will get wet on the hike.
- Please bring back all your rubbish from the village huts back to the lodge. Villages do not have rubbish dumps and we do not want to pollute the villages with our Western rubbish, cans, bottles and plastics. Do not throw your rubbish down the toilets at the outstations and do not give it to the local villagers to dispose of. The rubbish will be disposed of properly at the lodge.
- Do not give sweets to the kids. If you must give them anything, rather give fruit. Let the kids earn the handouts by rewarding them for doing things like taking a photograph, singing or carrying something for you. Use the kids as guides on hikes.
- Get the kids to pick up rubbish and reward them. Make them aware of pollution.
- Your dishes will be washed at the outstations. Arrange this with your guide.
- Should you have a problem with the gas cookers, there may be an obstruction in the jets and too little gas is coming through. Simply unscrew the cooker top from the cylinder and try to suck out whatever is causing the obstruction in the jet.
- You are under no obligation to feed your guides. It is your choice. They know to take their own food and water.
- The horses do not eat sugar, apples, etc. Frasers store does keep fodder, so after the trek you can buy a treat for the horses if you wish. The horses eat peaches & peels on the ground and trees, so be careful in peach season. If you are holding the reins too tight, you could fall off when the horse aims for a peach!
- You are welcome to tip your guides, but payments for the trek should be made at reception on the day you leave.
- We suggest a tip for the guides of R30.00 per day out per group.
General information & riding tips
- Treks are taken at your own risk. Please sign an indemnity forms before setting off on trek.
- Leave the name and number of your medical insurance at reception in case an emergency evacuation is required.
- Always wear a riding helmet on the trek.
- There are no back-up services with a vehicle to collect you should you falloff your horse. You will have to return to the lodge by horseback.
- Before mounting, make sure that the girth (the strap under the horse’s stomach) is tight. Once mounted, do not pull the reins up tight, you just may pull the horse over backwards.
- To make the horse go,sort of push the reins forward, dig your heels into the flanks (sides)of the horse and make a clicking noise. To steer the horse, move the reins across the horse’s neck. To go to the left, move the reins across to the left. You will find that this can be better done using one hand only.
- Adjust the stirrups so that your knees are slightly bent.When standing up in your saddle, your butt should be about 6″ (150mm)above the saddle.
- Be firm with your horse. Use as much force as you feel necessary without hurting the horse. If you’re too soft with it, it will take advantage of you. If your horse is lazy, cut yourself a small stick and just show it to the horse. It should not be necessary to actually use it!!
- When going up and down mountain passes, ride with loose reins. You will see that the horse steers using his head and neck.
- There are several mountain passes which are quite hair-raising. If you don’t feel safe, you can get off the horse and walk. You must decide for yourself if this is the better course of action. The horses may occasionally stumble, but always manage to correct themselves. Do not panic. Have confidence in the horse and remain seated.
- Horses do occasionally put their heads down to eat grass. If you are holding on too tightly, the horse will pull you over his head and you may fall off.