Exploring Lesotho with Avani Lesotho Hotel

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Considering that Lesotho is just over four hours away from Johannesburg, it was rather lamentable that we hadn’t visited our neighbour yet. In an effort to rectify this, we found ourselves arriving at the Avani Lesotho Hotel one evening.

Avani Lesotho Hotel

Avani Lesotho Hotel

Lesotho is unique in that it is an independent sovereign country, completely surrounded by another country – South Africa. It is also known as the “Kingdom in the Sky”, and the “Switzerland of Africa”, due to its abundance of mountains and its base altitude, which is the highest in the world. The lowest point in Lesotho is 1,400 metres above sea level!

Avani Lesotho Hotel

Public Areas

The four-star Avani Lesotho Hotel is situated on a hill in Maseru, the capital city of Lesotho and is considered one of the best places to stay in the city. It is just five minutes away from the Maseru Bridge border by car and twenty-five minutes away from Moshoeshoe I International Airport. Previously known as Lesotho Sun, the hotel and most of its counterparts in Africa (apart from South Africa) were sold to the Minor Hotel Group, by Sun International. However, the hotel still retains its previous grandeur and exclusivity, counting world leaders and British royalty among its frequent guests.

Avani Lesotho Hotel

Superior Room

The hotel boasts 158 rooms and suites including the Presidential Suite, which has an elegant lounge, dining room, bedroom and kitchen. We stayed in a superior room which consisted of a huge en-suite bedroom with a king size bed, a sleeper couch, a desk, a minibar and satellite television. The kids were delighted to have their own room – a smaller inter-leading room with twin beds, a bathroom and their own television. Both rooms had balconies with views of Maseru, the surrounding mountains and the fiery sunset. Bathrobes, slippers, and beverages were provided, as well as (limited) complimentary wi-fi.

Avani Lesotho Hotel

Dining Room of the Presidential Suite

The public areas are expansive, with a huge entrance lobby and lounges, numerous places to eat including two restaurants, a gym, a spa, a curio shop, a swimming pool with an outdoor deck and beautiful gardens. We didn’t get to spend much time outside though as it was quite cold during our stay there. There are numerous meeting rooms, and conference and wedding venues.

Avani Lesotho Hotel pool

Swimming Pool

On our first evening, we dined at Cafe Nala where there was a generous buffet spread. We had tomato and asparagus soup, freshly baked rolls, fried fish and vegetables, complemented by a selection of salads and desserts. Breakfast at Café Nala was a continental buffet with scrambled eggs, mushrooms, haddock, cereals, pastries and fresh juices.

Avani Lesotho Hotel food

Dessert buffet at Cafe Nala

On our second evening, we ate at the in-house Chinese restaurant, Ying Tao. Chinese cuisine is one of our favourite types of food and between my family, we indulged in tom yum soup, prawn fried rice, steamed garlic prawns, and stir-fried noodles. The food was delicious and the kids enjoyed it thoroughly too. I was amazed when we ordered a pot of green tea after dinner and they were even keen to drink that.

Avani Lesotho Hotel Ying Tao

Food at Ying Tao

The hotel also arranges tours and excursions to other parts of Lesotho making it a great entry point to the kingdom. On our second day there, we were taken to Semonkong Lodge, a rustic lodge set in the magnificent Maluti Mountains, about two hours away from the capital city. We drove through beautiful winding mountain roads and got to see a bit of Lesotho’s spectacular scenery in the process.

Semonkong Lodge

Semonkong Lodge

At Semonkong Lodge, we had a delicious lunch and visited Maletsunyane Falls, one of the longest drop waterfalls in Africa. Adrenaline junkies will be pleased to know that it also offers the longest single-drop abseil in the world (204 metres) – with a certificate from Guinness World Records to prove it. My kids were keen to experience it, but I was hesitant especially after hearing that it was considered “extreme abseiling” and “not for the faint-hearted”.

Maletsunyane Falls Lesotho

Maletsunyane Falls

The hotel and both restaurants were generally quite busy and I got the impression that this was the place to be in Maseru.

Avani Lesotho Hotel

Kids playground at the hotel

The staff, especially Maba, took great care of us during our stay, and we learnt a lot about Lesotho from her. Our brief stay in Maseru just made us determined to return and explore more of our beautiful neighbour.

Avani Lesotho Hotel

Sunset over Maseru from my balcony

For more information, visit Avani Lesotho Hotel or book here.

Read more about my trip to Lesotho here.

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22 comments
suetorrens

Very good blog post. I certainly love this site.

Reply
Hana

Lesotho was an amazing experience. Staff at semonkong were very friendly. My kids loved the horse ride to the falls. A must to is the abseiling at the falls. The Katse dam in Lesotho was interesting aswel.

Reply
    Sara

    Did you abseil at the falls Farhana? It must have been such a thrilling experience! I missed the Katse dam unfortunately.

    Reply
Manjulika Pramod

I was in Johannesburg for like 6 weeks and yet I never knew that something like Lesotho exists just 4 hours away. Switzerland of Africa sounds so enticing. I would have loved to do it. The hotel looks cool. Looks for a good choice whenever I am going there.

Reply
Scenes From Nadine (Nadine Smith)

I love the hotel you stayed at! It’s elegant and stylish but not in an over-the-top and intimidating way. The room looks so cozy and the variety of food is amazing! I really like that playground… it doesn’t look like a typical playground. Gorgeous view of the sunset!

Reply
James

That’s an impressive stat that the lowest point in Lesotho is 1400 meters, I think that’s higher than the highest point in the UK! As I plan to visit every country in the world, Lesotho is on my list. The Avani Lesotho Hotel looks a perfect place to stay during a visit. I’d love to see and photograph the Maletsunyane Falls.

Reply
yukti

I never heard of Lesotho and thanks to you as it is now added into my wishlist. Semonkong Lodge is beautiful place for stopover and taking pictures. Maletsunyane Falls is stunning. Also buffet delicacies in your hotel Avani Lesotho is really generous. Nice picture of sunset.

Reply
Rachelle

Looks like an amazing place to stay! Awesome that you were able to see a waterfall, even if from a distance. I love that the hotel is aware that people travel with kids and provided a fun-looking playground!

Reply
Raghav

I feel so bad because I had not clue Lesotho even existed. Just been looking at it in the map and it’s so cool being land-locked by the same country all around. Beautiful resort and I like how lavish it is yet not flashy. There is a subtle classiness to it all an of course the African influence in everything is dominant and makes it all the more special. Great to have the hotel arrange tours and one to the Lodge and those spectacular falls definitely sounds like one to take. Thanks for all the information.

Reply
    Sara

    Don’t worry Raghav. You’re not the only one who didn’t know that Lesotho existed. Even though it is surrounded by South Africa, many South Africans don’t know about it either 🙂 . I think it is not marketed enough which is a shame because it is a beautiful country.

    Reply
Aditi Shukla

What a beautiful place. The hotel looks really good too. It makes a huge difference if it lies close to the city centre. I particularly love the Maletsunyane Falls. Cheers!!

Reply
Lisa

Avani Lesotho looks like a beautiful hotel, and in a seemingly remote location. I wish I had visited when I was in Johannesburg, but there wasn’t enough time! I must remember this place, if only to capture that amazing sunset.

Reply
David Meldrum

Your superior room look amazing! The bed looks soo comfortable! Can you get closer to the waterfall?

Reply
    Sara

    Our room was amazing. You can hike nearer to the waterfall or you can go abseiling next to it as well – but it’s probably for people more adventurous than me 🙂 .

    Reply
Heather

I love Lesotho. Have stayed at the Avani multiple times for work and had always wondered about the Chinese restaurant. (Somehow I never ate there.) I agree that their complimentary wifi is extremely limited (almost non-existent, in fact) – I wish they’d fix that! Anyway I definitely need to check out Semonkong next time.

Reply
    Sara

    Thanks Heather. The Chinese food was really good. I read all your posts about Lesotho before I went so I had an idea of what to expect 🙂 I’d love to venture further inland like you did but I think I need to get a 4X4 first.

    Reply
Julie

Love it!

I’ve been dying to get to Lesotho as well, hopefully this year I can make it happen 🙂 Maseru isn’t talked about much but I’m still curious about it…
Great post.

Julz

Reply
    Sara

    Thank you Julie. It was on my bucket list for ages too before I got there. I will be writing another post on Maseru and Lesotho soon so look out for that.

    Reply
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