“To the herd boys we must look
The mood in the convoy is subdued. Leaving behind the oldest vehicle in the convoy, Graham Kenrick- Cooke’s 1949 Series I 80in, is not an easy thing to do. It has already gone through two fuel pumps and we don’t really have a choice as no one has another spare. It will be safe at the Sani Stone Lodge, which is where we camped last night. Graham has already ordered a new pump and hopefully DHL will deliver it before we pass here again in a few days time.
Our convoy of ten Series Is is now down to nine. Graham and his partner Bianca Ladds take the press truck, a 1955 Series I 107in. It belongs to Graham anyway and there are enough other Series Is and Land Rovers for the press to jump into. The show must go on. I hop into Jenny, a 1956 Series I 88in owned by Kenneth Jones. Lesotho literally lies in Kenneth’s backyard and he has done many a trip here in one of his several Land Rovers. In fact, he informs me that he is currently looking at setting up classic Land Rover selfdrive tours in Lesotho. Once it is up and running clients will be able to fly into South Africa from anywhere in the world and join him on a guided self-drive experience through the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho.
Despite the fact that it is a bright sunny morning, I’m wearing a jacket and a beanie as we are at an altitude of around 3000 metres. The Series I was definitely not designed with the comfort and warmth of passengers in mind. We are still on the Chinese built tar road that will take us towards Mokhotlong. To the east of us is Thabana-ntlenyana, at 3482 m, it’s the highest peak south of Mount Kilimanjaro. To the many herd boys at the top of these mountains we must look like a mobile museum passing through their mountainous country. For some it might be the first time that they have seen a Series I, not so for their parents and grandparents, as Series Is played an important role in the early vehicular exploration of Lesotho. We were recreating history. Some kids celebrate the occasion by running down towards the road from their huts and schools. Many wear only a blanket, gumboots and a beanie.
In Lesotho the blanket is not only used to keep warm, it’s also an important
Main pic (this page): Animals on the tar roads or rough mountain tracks are a common occurence. Smile and wait patiently while the herder expertly does his job