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Mohale Dam Lodge
Mohale Village
Mohale, Lesotho

The tallest rock-fill concrete-face dam anywhere in Africa, Mohale lies almost 100km east of Maseru along a dramatic road that traverses a sequence of three major mountain passes as it ascends into the majestic central highlands.

The 700-metre-long, 145-metre-high dam was built over 2002-4 to impound the Senqunyane River, an important tributary of the Senqu (Orange), below its confluence with the Likalaneng. Part of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, it was designed to divert water via a 32km-long subterranean tunnel to the more northeasterly Katse Dam, which in turn supplies water to Gauteng, the highly industrialized and densely populated South African province that incorporates Johannesburg and Pretoria.

Although it is of great interest to engineers, Mohale attracts more casual visitors for its lovely setting among steep-sided mountains and the opportunity to explore the reservoir’s multi-tendrilled upper reaches on motorboat excursions that also take in the dam wall and the entrance to the underground tunnel to Katse.

As much of an attraction as the dam itself, the asphalted A 3 from Maseru ranks as one of the country’s most scenic roads. It traverses a series of majestic slopes swathed in tussocked heather's and mane-like tufts of moseea thatching grass as it switchbacks through a trio of evocatively named mountain passes: the 2,263-metre Bushman’s Pass, the 2,281 Molimo Nthuse (‘God Help Me’) Pass and the 2,633 m Thaba Putsoa (‘Blue Mountain’) Pass.

Travel Tips

Sleeping: Although Mohale Dam makes for a perfectly feasible day trip out of Maseru, it is also possible to overnight at Mohale Lodge, which has a scenic location close to the Senqunyane River as it flows towards the dam.

Eating: Meals are available at Mohale Lodge but a more attractive spot lunch en route to or from the dam is the quaint and friendly Molimo Nthuse Lodge, set alongside a forested stream on the pass of the same name.

Access: Mohale Dam lies almost 100km east of Maseru along the surfaced A 3 and the drive takes up to two hours. It would be easy to combine a day visit from Maseru with a short side trip to Ha Baroana -San Rock Art Paintings, which is only 10 minutes north of the A 3 by road.

Preparations: Guided tours leave from the Visitors' Center.

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