When assistant reception manager Ntate David Mokala was training for the Olympics in Germany, he was staying in Five-Star hotels – plush, sterile rooms, spas and swimming pools, turn-down service and dazzling continental breakfasts. For the first few months, it was heaven. But David, who had never before left Lesotho but who nevertheless was fascinated by culture and had dreamed of owning a cultural museum since he was in high school, began to feel frustrated. It had dawned on him that this was not how most German people lived.
He was friendly with a few of the riders who were training at the same facility, so he started to visit them. At the end of a hard day of drills and high jumps, he would travel to where they lived, join them for a meal, and spend the night. He met their families and saw their homes – less glitzy, but somehow more impressive than his hotel suite. He was grateful for this exposure to “real” German life.
The next time he traveled abroad it was to Botswana to visit friends. He was amazed to observe their different approach to herding animals. In Lesotho, people tend to their animals all day, while their fields remain open. If an animal ruins a field, the owner of the animal is held responsible. In Botswana, the onus is on the owners of the land. Animals roam freely. He couldn’t wrap his head around it, or many of the other practices so completely different from what he knew. It thrilled him.
While working at the Lodge, he reflected that he had learned the most about the cultures he had visited when he joined locals in their homes. He doesn’t feel as though he has properly been to a new country until he has journeyed to its rural corners and stayed amongst its people. He wanted to give our visitors that same opportunity.
David and his wife, Me Manthabiseng Mokala (the office administrator for the Malealea Development Trust), have opened their home to our guests for two years now. You can have a meal with them and spend the night, discussing culture, politics, and any other facets of Basotho life. David can tell you about his experiences as half of Lesotho’s almost-Olympic equestrian team or regale you with historical tales about Zulu and Basotho prophets, while Manthabiseng is an expert on this community and the humanitarian work of the Trust.
When demand is high or David and his wife are unavailable, the Malealea Development Trust has a list of other wonderful families who have experience hosting visitors.
Please speak to reception if you would like to organize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience life as we do. Let us know if we can arrange a meal for you or if you would like to bring food to share. The homes are in the local village and are about a 20-minute easy walk from the Lodge.
The cost is R100 per person and we can arrange to accommodate solo travelers or groups of up to four people.
- Talk to reception to book one night in a village home
- 1-4 people
- R100 per person per night