“To the herd boys we must look

Land Rover Monthly - - Series I African Adventure -

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

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