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Two firms to manage tourist sites



MASERU – THE Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC) has contracted two Basotho-owned companies to run ’Maletsunyane Falls and Butha-Buthe Visitors Comfort Facilities (VCF). ’Maletsunyane Ventures, run by a local businessman Bokang Kheekhe, will manage the VCF for the ’Maletsunyane Falls. Southern Express, run by Motlatsi Russel, will manage the Butha-Buthe VCF. ’Maletsunyane Ventures is expected to rejuvenate tourist facilities near the 192-metre-high ’Maletsunyane Falls. The waterfall, located near the town of Semonkong, falls from a ledge of Triassic-Jurassic basalt and the plunging water creates a reverberating echo when it contacts the basin of the falls. The waterfall is listed as the world’s longest commercially operated abseil with a height of 204 metres in the Guinness Book of Records. Many tourists visit to adore the beautiful views of lush valleys and mountain streams along the way to the falls. The falls also attract a steady stream of visitors who come to experience the pony treks, hikes, abseiling and waterfalls. Southern Express will make tourists feel at home away from home in Butha-Buthe. The town received its name from one of the most significant local sites for Basotho, the Butha-Buthe Plateau. Butha-Buthe is the starting point for the Roof of Africa Route past Oxbow to Mokhotlong. There are also revered caves used by the San near Qalo and Sekubu, and some dinosaur footprints. This plateau is part of the Basotho cultural heritage as it was the site of Moshoeshoe I’s original mountain fortress. The LTDC’s manager of Product Development and Investment Promotion, Mamello Morojele, said her main job is to attract businessmen both local and international to come and invest in Lesotho’s tourism sector. “In Semonkong, the investor is going to manage the newly built VCF facility that has a restaurant, two conferencing halls, a hall for events and offices including an information office that is going to be run by the LTDC,” Morojele said. “The investors have undertaken to establish a kids’ adventure park, art gallery, kids’ theme park, outdoor adventure, indoor events and waterfall view point photograph,” she said. She said the main idea is to ensure the operator will develop a zip line, suspension bridge and encompassing facility for a period of 20 years. The operator is anticipated to contribute a total of two percent of all the events revenue collections into Semonkong community tourism development forums bank account. Similarly, the Southern Express is going to revamp the existing Butha-Buthe VCF that has 16 stores and five rooms which are being used as offices. Stores doors will be used to host housing community interest groups, restaurant, art gallery, camping picnic sites, offices, and boardroom for small meetings. Also the operator is expected to reconstruct a guest house and to regulate the site for a period of 25 years, inclusive of paying rent and furnish depositing two percent of collected revenue into the Butha-Buthe community tourism development forums bank account per year. “We have a beautiful country that has good places like Butha-Buthe, the very same place in which Moshoeshoe I had a fortress,” Russel said. “It is with the communities in Butha-Buthe that today we know the history and the place where Moshoeshoe I was born. So the community too will assist Lesotho to expose its historic place to the international community,” he said. The spokesman for the LTDC, Molapo Matela, said the community living around the sites will benefit by getting jobs. “People will be getting permanent jobs directly while others will indirectly get jobs as they will display our traditional attire and sell to tourists, for example,” Matela said. “Lesotho has a treasure,” he said, adding: “This country is deliberately sprinkled with such sites and many pictures have important information for historians, depicting tradition, hunting methods and techniques, and a way of living that has long been forgotten.” Rosalia Tšemane

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