Qachas Nek

Qachas Nek has recently had the main tar road connected to it from Maseru. This means that a two-wheel drive vehicle can drive on on one of the most scenic drives in Lesotho from the east all the way to Maseru. It's a beautiful, undulating drive, among the loveliest in Lesotho.

Named after chief Moorosi's son Ncatya, Qacha's Nek was an area famed for its banditry when the British founded the town in 1888 in an attempt to forestall the kind of trouble they'd experienced with Chief Moorosi.

Many of the "bandits" were in fact desperate San, hounded from their homes and having no means of survival; this left the British unmoved, and they hunted them to extermination throughout the 1860s and 1870s. Moorosi's Baphuthi people had started moving there in the 1850s, rapidly wiping out all the game, and turning the land over to grazing and cultivation instead.

The area has unusually high rainfall, and the weather conditions favour conifers, including a few massive Canadian redwoods, giving Qacha's Nek an atmosphere completely different from most of virtually treeless Lesotho. There's little to see in town, except the elegant St Joseph's Church at its eastern end, but the entire surrounding mountainous countryside is great for hiking.

Qacha's Nek is also an important border town (daily 7am–8pm) and there's usually plenty of public transport heading southwest towards Quthing from the Shell garage in the centre of town. There's also a daily bus to and from Maseru operated by Lesotho Freight and Bus Services; it leaves both towns at 6.30am, and takes over ten hours. You can hear minibus taxis a mile off, thanks to the cowbells tied to their fronts. On the other side of the border you'll find transport (roughly hourly) heading for the Eastern Cape town of Matatiele, from where it's easy to find buses and minibus taxis on to Kokstad and beyond. The town's best accommodation is the Nthatuoa Hotel and Letloepe Lodge.