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“Excellent Budget Trip” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Malealea Lodge

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Malealea Lodge
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Malealea 0922, Lesotho   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Santa Barbara, California
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Excellent Budget Trip”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 3, 2013

We had a wonderful time at Malealea Lodge - and for a great price. We stayed three nights and did hiking, biking, and pony trekking excursions for around 800-900 ZAR. The lodge premise is beautiful with nice areas for reading and lounging and the staff is helpful and friendly. Lesotho is a stunning country and the locals are extremely friendly.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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132 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (23)
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English first
Sydney Olympic Park, Australia
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 16, 2013

Malealea Lodge was an engaging place to visit (as was Lesotho in general). 2001 metres above sea level, the rather primitive Gates of Paradise sign indicated to visitors on the way up. At the Lodge it certainly felt sub-arctic the week we visited this impoverished kingdom. The services at the Lodge are obviously not 5-star urban deluxe ones – rondavel housing, communal meals in a central hut, lights off about 9, no electric blankets, hot water required making a special request. But, if you are prepared to put up with the lack of creature comforts, you will take away memories of a real out-of-the ordinary stay. Outdoors, the weather wasn't kind to us, frequently wet as well as often blowing a gale (the cynical, “take your pick” Lodge weather vane sums up the vagaries of Malealea’s climate). But there was always plenty to do & see - Basotho pony trekking (gainful employment for local Basotho people), the tour of the village (the homes are very modest & basic, even the sub-chief's!) but you can buy jewellery, trinkets, a Mosotho villager doll & the like, from some of the huts which double as spaza shops. Also especially striking, I found, were the murals on various walls of the amenities buildings. A muster of peacocks (I think that's the collective term) strutted freely around the Lodge grounds, In the late afternoon, we were entertained by a western Lesotho regional choir followed by a local African 'garage' band with imaginatively-improvised if somewhat crude instruments (the performers had their CDs for sale). The Lodge had a friendly café and a warm bar where I bought (in addition to the odd fortifying beverage) a great Lesotho satchel bag. I loved the story, recounted in a history leaflet on display at the Lodge, of the colonial-era founder of Malealea as a trading station (Merwyn Smith), who in the early 1900s used to tie himself onto a donkey & sleep whilst the donkey transported him 85km down the trail & into Maseru so he could play a game of rugby! Pure gold!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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MalealeaLesotho01, Owner at Malealea Lodge, responded to this review, October 23, 2014
Thank you for your review and Malealea is as has been described with a variety of accommodation to suit all budgets.

There is a larger dining hall for the fully catered visitors with a large cosy fireplace.
There are a couple of communal self-catering basic kitchens.

Forest & Basotho huts with a self-catering communal kitchen in the centre of the lodge.
The generator goes off at 10.00 pm unless it is obvious that everyone has gone to bed on a few cold winter nights.

No electric blankets as Malealea runs on a generator.
A wall heater in all of the Rondavels, Rooms & Farmhouse en-suite, while the generator runs.
Warm Basotho blankets and Down duvets on the farmhouse, rooms & rondavel en-suite rooms. Budget Basotho huts have acrylic duvets and a couple of blankets.

Farmhouse en-suite, small, older & budget rooms.
Rondavels & larger rooms en-suite - more comfortable at a higher rate.


Hot water is always available, as gas geysers are used. There is always a second gas bottle outside each of the en-suite rooms. They do run out from time to time and there is always a staff member to fit the new cylinder. Rooms are checked before visitors arrive, that they geysers are lit and working. (A couple of days in winter the geysers do not work as well as they should in the early mornings, but the rest of the year, they work well.) Hot water works better in winter, if the taps are not fully opened.

Photographs of the Malealea Lodge sign is the back of the large games, dining room and bar. Not the best of Malealea grounds photographs.

Best Lesotho Wishes
Di Jones
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
197 reviews 197 reviews
80 hotel reviews
Reviews in 102 cities Reviews in 102 cities
144 helpful votes 144 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2013

Lesotho was a complete surprise and the lodge is a wonderful place to experience it. You can camp or stay in rondavels or cottage style rooms and wake up to find yourself surrounded by mountains. There is electricity only from dusk until 10pm or so but no restrictions on the availability of hot water. My room was simply but nicely furnished. The site is decorated in a quirky style, there is a coffee shop, bar/restaurant, tennis court and a rec room where you can play table tennis or learn about/contribute toward the various community projects the lodge supports. You can get your laundry done promptly and cheaply. Local guides will take you walking or pony trekking and give you an insight into life here. The walk to the Botsoela waterfall and then the bushman paintings took about 6 hours including lunch and plenty of other stops. At a cost of R10 per hour plus a tip it was well worth it. A band or choir play each evening. A beautiful and relaxing place to stay.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Paris, France
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2013

Malealea is reachable after 7km of gravel roads (easy), after passing Paradise gates. Inside the village, Malealea lodge is a village in the village! we can feel that there is a great dynamic to make this lodge integrated in the day to day life of Malealea village.
There are several type of accomodation given the way of travelling you want to experience.
It sounds like poshy to stay in the rondavels, but we enjoyed it very much :)
The "cantine" is really basic, but you feel like in a family. It's not restaurant, you don't choose, unique menu, but it is really good! (best braiied T-bone ever).
People like to enjoyed the bar surrounding with beers and stuff, there is also a game room if you want to have the priviledge to say that you played ping-pong in the middle of Lesotho.
We did a hike with one of the guides, that you would need because there is no tracked path.
There are so much to do, you would definitely want to stay at least a week to live peacefully the joy of the lodge.
Many thanks to Mickael and his wife which were really nice people.

PS : " when it's yellow, let is mellow, when it's brown, flush it down" <- so nice way to say it :)

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Stockholm, Sweden
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2013

I really don't know where to start. I am totally and absolutely in love with Lesotho and Malealea Lodge! The surrounding scenery is just breathtaking and the lodges have such an amazing and relaxing atmosphere. We stayed in one of the little rondavels, which was basic but beautifully decorated with bright colors, paintings and the basotho hat lamps. There are a couple of campfires where you can meet other travelers at night, and make sure not to miss the choir and the band performing each night. And DO NOT miss the pony treks! It is safe even for beginners, as you can ask for a person to go with you and help out with your pony, should you need it. When in Lesotho, you have to take a pony trek in the mountains! This is a memory I will cherish forever. The restaurant at Malealea offers buffet style dinner and breakfast (basic but good) and there is also a self-catering kitchen. Malealea is just pure freedom!

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Unterschleissheim, Germany
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2013

If you have a look into the homepage or e.g. read the Lonely Planet or Rough Guide you might think this is a 4**** lodge. If you arrive there it looks more like a Lesotho Disney Land. A lot of decoration and stuff all around the lodge. Nevertheless the management and the staff are authentic and to be honest no one expects a top class lodge at the end of the world. We had 2 great nights/days incl. pony trekking and bushman paintings and enjoyed time there.
The dinner was basic but good! The entertainment was... funny (local choir and "homemade music instruments" band) and the lodge is clean. I would stay there again.

Room Tip: When you decide to do camping there in June-August take a very very warm sleeping bag with you! It w...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Denver, Colorado
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 7, 2013

Rooms were nice and with HOT water (felt nice on cold nights) great time and adventures for the price. will definitely go back! Pony treks were fun and even just hiking, guides were very helpful in answering all of our questions and were fun about it. facilities were welcoming and the people we met traveling through were awesome company. the ONLY downside is that the roads getting there are tricky. the turn off of the A2 is not clearly marked (we passed it and got lost) and then once you get to the dirt/rock road, It is said a 2 wheel drive can make it (which ours did) but i would recommend a 2 wheel drive vehicle with ample ground clearance unlike the little economy car we had. road is very rocky and washed out in places. be ready for a very bumpy and slow ride!

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Malealea Lodge

Address: Malealea 0922, Lesotho
Location: Lesotho > Mafeteng District > Malealea
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Malealea
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 50
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Malealea offers Lesotho in a nutshell. Mountain Bikes, Hikes & pony treks & village walks, range from 1 hour to 6 days or longer, where you can overnight en-route in Basotho villages. A local band, using their homemade instruments, entertains guests in the evenings. Malealea is a perfect base to enter Lesotho before travelling various routes across the country. Malealea is situated in a remote and rural village, experiencing peace & tranquility - a real time warp. Directions: Drive 60 km south from Maseru , or coming from Mafeteng, drive 26 kms north, Turn at the Matelile, Qaba signpost at Motsekuao taxi corner. Drive 10 kms, fork right, drive 15 kms, turn left and drive over "The Gates of Paradise Pass" on the last 7 kms of gravel road to Malealea Lodge. ... more   less 

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