Malealea Lodge is the rightful poster child for the ‘Kingdom in the Sky’. The lodge began life in 1905 as a trading post, established by teacher, diamond miner and soldier Mervyn Smith.
Anna’s has cleanish, okay rooms in the new wing, and older ones with a shared bathroom in a separate wing. It’s on the main road, opposite the Farmers’ Training Centre, 1km from the roundabout on the Quthing side.
Maseru Backpackers & Conference Centre
This new place is a much-needed addition to the budget category. Run by Lesotho Durham Link, it offers backpackers’ dorms and twin and family rooms in clean and modern, if a little staid, surrounds.
Sani Top Chalet
At 2874m, Sani Top Chalet stakes a peculiar claim to the highest drinking hole in Southern Africa. Booze trivia aside, cosy rondavels and excellent meals reward those who make the steep ascent.
New Oxbow Lodge
New Oxbow Lodge is an incongruous chalet that would be more at home in alpine Austria than on the banks of the Malibamat’so River. But the resort atmosphere, cosy bar and good restaurant draw the holiday-makers.
Twenty-seven kilometres from Butha-Buthe, and before Liphofung, is a sign to Mamohase B&B, a wonderful family stay and authentic cultural experience.
Golden Hotel is a small, unremarkable brick establishment, but with adequate rooms and meals (note the golden ceiling in the dining room). It’s at the northern edge of town along the main road.
This converted, sandstone house has large and airy rooms in a range of small buildings around the garden, all with decor circa 1960s, and a pleasant enclosed verandah for breakfasts. It’s in a peaceful part of town, but may be a bit far on foot.
About 2km before the visitors information centre, Mmelesi Lodge offers well-organised rondavels within set-around lawns. It does a brisk local trade with government workshops. Breakfast costs M50 extra.
Fish or ride ponies with local villagers courtesy of this partnership between Malealea and the Quthing Wildlife Development Trust. The fees go directly to the villages for equipment and supplies.
Mophato Oa Morija
This ecumenical conference centre is sometimes willing to accommodate travellers, but you must book in advance. Take the first right after the museum and wind your way back about 700m – ask locals to point the way.
Morija Guest House
Reason enough to linger in Morija is this sterling stone-and-thatch house perched high above the village. Guests can choose between the three cosy main bedrooms and a self-catering cottage out back. Meals and activities can be arranged.
St James Lodge
This working mission is a humble yet somehow stylish place to stay. It’s also an electricity-free, self-catering experience, so bring your own food. Pony trekking and scenic walks are available.
Molumong Guesthouse & Backpackers
About 15km southwest of Mokhotlong, off the road to Thaba-Tseka is this former colonial trading post that offers a basic (electricity- free), self-catering experience.
The more radiant Sun is a punter’s paradise perched on a hill. A thorough spruce-up has lifted the premier hotel in Lesotho up a notch. It boasts the ubiquitous casino, two restaurants and offers a typical modern motel experience.
Orion Katse Lodge
Orion Katse Lodge, at the far end of the suburban-like Katse village beyond the barrier gate, resembles a hospital in every sense – staid rooms and units (though the units are self-catering).
For those who can squeeze more from their budget, the best place (of a questionable lot) is Buffalo Hotel, 4km from the centre, towards Mokhotlong.
The most happenin’ thing about this place is the plush, red-carpeted ‘dining’ room.
Looking a bit like an airport terminal, the polygon-shaped Mafeteng Hotel is deceptive – although ugly from the outside, step inside and it’s another matter.
Sehlabathebe Park Lodge
This is the only accommodation option in the park with facilities. Built in the 1970s for a trout-loving prime minister, this time-warped lodge makes for a groovy stay. It’s set on flat grasslands, and looks onto hills and ponds.
Roma Trading Post Guest House
The attractive Trading Post Guest House is in an old trading post operated since 1903 by the Thorn family, who run the guest house.
Hotel Mount Maluti
Unfortunately, budget accommodation is tight in Mohale’s Hoek.
Business travellers flock to this central option for its pleasant (if fading) colonial-era ambience and good restaurant, but the price is oh-so overinflated for what you get. It’s behind the French consulate in the town centre.
A fairly new wing gives this motel the edge over the limited competition. There’s a restaurant too. It’s 2.5km from the taxi rank along the main road at the western end of town.
The peaceful and recommended Semonkong Lodge, near the Maletsunyane River, is tops in every sense and, although it’s a three- to eight-hour trawl up the mountain (depending on what form of transport you take), it’s worth the effo.