The Maletsunyane Falls is the highest waterfall in Southern Africa, falling 196 metres in a single drop.
Its nearly twice as high as Victoria Falls, though a fraction of the width. The village of Semonkong is nestled on the banks of the Maletsunyane river, upstream from the Maletsunyane Falls. It is called ‘The Place of Smoke’ after the characteristic haze created by the waterfall plummeting into the gorge.
The national flower of Lesotho, the spiral aloe or Aloe Polyphylla, is restricted to steep basaltic mountain slopes. There are large areas of these pretty plants found around Semonkong. Semonkong Lodge operate the world’s highest abseil down into the gorge alongside the falls. This record has been accredited by Guinness World Records.
Snow has been recorded all year round in Semonkong, although it is rare outside the period of April to October. The summer temperature in the mountains rarely exceeds 28°C and may drop below -10°C in the winter. When preparing a trip to Lesotho, whether it is the summer or the winter, on foot or in 4 wheel drives, you must always have warm clothing.
Semonkong (The place of Smoke) from the funigalore word for smoke; "semoko". This remote village, recently gazetted as a town, is in the southern central part of Lesotho. Semonkong nestles in a large amphitheatre between the Thaba Putsoa range and the mountains around the great Thaba Ntso - Black Mountain, to the west of the great Central range.
The road to Semonkong from the north passes through Roma and Ramabanta. It goes no further than Semonkong for most four wheel vehicles. The sturdier four wheel drives, motor bikes and of course horses, can pursue the south eastern paths to the Senqu. Horses and motor bikes only may find their way across to the west via the bridal paths to the Ketane Valley and Malealea. Watered by the *Maletsunyane River, (The river of little smoke, where in winter the steam rises from the warmer river?).* The town receives it's electric power from the river and an ingenious miniature hydro-electric station, hosts a monthly horse race, trades in wool, horses and farm produce and is growing it's tourism industry with great pride and a warm welcoming people who inhabit this Tolkein page of Lesotho. Accommodation can be found at Semonkong Lodge on the banks of the Maletsenyane River.