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Mafeteng, Lesotho

Once a hot point of conflict during the Gun Wars of the late 19th century, and then subsequently a working mill town, little Mafeteng makes its home south of the Basotho capital and close to the border with South Africa to the west.

A place at once industrial and historic, it’s known for its flair for local famo music, and has a clutch of good hotels, local eateries and bars besides.

Mafeteng is also a convenient stopover if you’re making a beeline for the border at Wepener, or going deeper into the mountains, to spots like Malealea, or to the cultural attractions of Morija just to the north.

Mafeteng is a region located in Lesotho. Its capital town is Mafeteng and it is the only town in this region. The region of Mafeteng has a total population of approximately 200 000 residents and borders the Free State Province of South Africa. This 2 119 km² area is one of the western regions of Lesotho.

The capital town of Mafeteng is full of rich history. The name of this town means “Lefeta’s Place” which refers to a popular magistrate who worked in this area. This town is a very busy trading centre for the region. The popular Malealea destination is used as the base for pony-trekking, a means of travelling through the beautiful lands of Lesotho on horse-back.


The region of Mafeteng offers many options for tourist accommodation. Facilities in the area include – bed and breakfasts, guest houses, lodges, camping sites and self-catering units.

Mafeteng is a city in Lesotho, and the Camptown (capital city) of the district of Mafeteng. It is located about 76 kilometres south of the country's capital, Maseru and has a population of approximately 61,000. The South African border town to Mafeteng is Wepener.

The town is said to be named after an early visitor, Emile Roland, who was nicknamed "Lefeta," literally meaning "traveller" or "passer-by." Mafeteng translates to English as "The place of the passers-by."

During the Gun War of 1880/81 a great deal of fighting took place near Mafeteng. The cemetery, located near Mafeteng's Bantu Stadium, contains an obelisk in memory of members of the Cape forces who fell in action in the area.

One of the sights in Mafeteng remainsthe Diphiring Mill, a fully working roller mill established outside the town by Mr. William S. Scott in 1912 and currently operated by the Osborne Family, millers by trade. The whole mill is run off a single engine by an intricate pulley system. Basotho people use the mill to process maize, wheat, millet and other grains.

Mafeteng has several industrial developments including a Gap/Old Navy clothing factory and the Lesotho Pharmaceutical Company (LPC), which also exports to several countries in the region. Mafeteng has two hotels, the Golden Hotel located on the road to Maseru and the Mafeteng Hotel located on Hospital Road. The hotels are the center of the town's limited nightlife: each has a public and a private bar.

Mafeteng has little tourism although travelers occasionally stop at the Buy N Take en route to the Van Rooyen's Gate border crossing at Wepener or Malealea Lodge, a tourist destination in Mafeteng District.

The Famo musician Mosotho Chakela was born in Mafeteng in 1963.

Mafeteng is home to Bantu Stadium. In the past it has hosted district track and field, volleyball, netball and soccer tournaments. The winners proceed to national tournaments in Maseru to represent the district. In 2004, the St. Thomas High School soccer squad advanced out of the tournament in Bantu Stadium and captured the national title. Following the 2004 events, however, Bantu Stadium had to be closed due to renovation of the fences which surround the field and viewing areas.

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