Thaba Bosiu

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Thaba Bosiu is the most famous historical site in Lesotho and is considered the birthplace of the Basotho nation. Its a steep, flat-topped mountain about 20 km east of Maseru.

Moshoeshoe I travelled from Butha-Buthe to Thaba Bosiu in 1824, to protect his people from the attackers. Butha-Buthe had been defensible but not impregnable, and Moshoeshoe I sought a place that would be extremely difficult to capture. Thaba Bosiu was the ideal answer; its summit is surrounded by near–vertical cliffs, and good grazing and freshwater springs are found at the top.

Thaba Bosiu means “Mountain of the Night”, and this name has two interpretations. The first is that Moshoeshoe I arrived there at dusk, whereupon immediate defensive measures took all night to prepare. The second explanation is favoured by locals, and holds that the mountain (though not looking particularly high by day) grows by night into an impossibly tall, unconquerable mountain fortress. This explanation may be more credible than it sounds; Thaba Bosiu was attacked many times during Moshoeshoe’s reign, but never conquered.

There is a visitors’ information centre at the base of the hill, and a guide will accompany you to the top and entertain you with stories of hardship and war. Views from the summit extend far and wide – you can see Qiloane pinnacle, which is the inspiration for the top-knot on the traditional Basotho hat.