dimanche 11 septembre 2011

Lesotho: The new paradise of skiing, or "Switzerland of the South".

July 19, 2002, the Kingdom of Lesotho, in the heart of South Africa opened its ski resort in the valley of Mahlasela. In this region, temperatures can drop to -4 ° C in June and -11 ° C in July. Some mountains of Lesotho are covered with snow.
In partnership with Afriski Ltd and the Austrian Alpine HSP Service, the Department of Tourism and Sports has launched "Afriski".

At 3.222 meters, two great tracks for skiers, one blue and one red were built. A yellow trail for beginners was to come later. Despite the white coat that covers the tops of course, we had to add some artificial snow cannons.
         Afriski cost $ 10 million and received the approval of King Letsie III, who gave his name to an annual competition.

The cottages have been imported from Estonia, but the decor is typically African. Traditional mud huts along the road to the station, on which the carriages are pulled by animals.
The "Oxbow lodge", one kilometer of slopes, with its bar and relaxation areas can accommodate 200 people.

Operation luxury at prices that are affordable. It takes 1,000 rand (106 euros) on the weekend of 3 days, with rental skis. The price of renting a cabin ranges from 375,000 to 400. 000 rand (40 to 42,000 euros).
In 2008, the equipment rental shop has leased 5,000 pairs of skis.
Promoted "Switzerland of the South" by the tourism industry, the small kingdom of Lesotho, landlocked in the South African giant, is one of the poorest countries in the world, with a majority of its population depends on agriculture subsistence.

The 200 rand (29 dollars) required for a ski lesson of one hour are far beyond the budget of the majority of 1.8 million people of Lesotho (30,350 km2), where the average wage is below $ 1,000 per year.
"Most of our clients are from Gauteng (the most populated region of South Africa, including Johannesburg and Pretoria), and we attract many tourists to Lesotho," comments Mr Esplin.

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