Morija from above The Morija Guest House
MORIJA GUEST HOUSES EXPLORE ECO-TOURISM
Translating eco-tourism into a reality that generates income for local communities can be a challenging task. However, the experience of Morija Guest Houses suggests that - with patience - it is possible. A starting point is to recognise that tourists are fascinated by authentic expressions of peoples everyday lives. This means that they are curious and keen to learn more about how local people survive in a tough environment, such as the mountains of Lesotho. Many would much rather meet a real family, problems and all, than be taken around a cultural village filled with actors.
Villagers are more than happy to share their homes and everyday lives, especially if this results in some form of income. Morija Guest Houses have a special relationship with a village five hours walk away (on the east of Makhoarane Plateau). Here groups of up to 20 people are accommodated in local homes overnight. The evening is always one of song, dance and laughter. The food is prepared by the hosts, often from crops they have grown or chickens they have raised. This popular village sleep-over is a winner for all. The tourists love it, and many rate it as a highlight of their visit to Lesotho. Villagers love it as they have been able to invest the money in school fees, health care and farming inputs. To keep the tourists coming they have invested their time in maintaining the bridle path and improving their latrines.
As much as the tourists enjoy their night out, they are always happy to make it back to the comfort of the Morija Guest House where they can get a hot shower and an ice cold drink!
The Morija Guest House is perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the historic village of Morija, founded by French missionaries in 1833. Built of handcut stone and thatched with local grass, it blends discreetly into the environment. During the day there are commanding views of the surrounding forest. Far below the daily routine of village life unfolds. The sunsets from the front deck are magnificent.
To the south, Makhoarane Plateau towers above the house. Within 45 minutes the top can be reached on foot - with a splendid view of the Maloti mountains as a reward. Four dams, rocks bearing dinosaur footprints and sandstone caves mark the way to the top.
Below the main Guest House, which can accommodate 16 people, are a number of cottages, all built in the traditional style of the Basotho with thatched roofs and decorated walls, accommodating a further 8 people.
Most of our rooms are doubles (mostly twin beds) but we also have a few single rooms and one family room for 4. The bedrooms are simple but comfortable and tastefully decorated. Bathrooms are shared.
The large dining-room and lounge of the main house can welcome up to 24 people, making it ideal for families, tour groups, retreats, meetings, corporate getaways or small workshops.
Visitors can choose between meals prepared in our brand new kitchen (at very reasonable rates) or cook for themselves as the houses are fully equipped for self-catering.
Morija Guest Houses are an ideal base from which to explore historic Morija with its Museum and Archives, craft centre and local institutions. The walks around the lakes and forest provide an ambience of tranquillity and unspoiled nature.
Our staff is most welcoming and Lebaka Makana, our General Manager, will be glad to assist in guiding individuals or groups on tailor-made tours. He can also arrange for parties to sleep over in a village in the mountains, a four-hour hike or pony ride from Morija for those wanting to experience authentic African life in local homes. This popular village sleep-over is a winner for all. Many of our visitors rate it as the highlight of their tour of Lesotho, and of course villagers love it as they have been able to invest the money in school fees, health care and farming inputs. Another way in which Morija Guest Houses demonstrate their commitment to eco-tourism is by inviting regularly groups of traditional dancers or musicians, or choirs, to perform for visitors.
For more information, directions, and reservations, contact:
Lebaka Makana Tel: (+266) 630 650 93 or firstname.lastname@example.org
or look at our website: www.morijaguesthouses.com