The Trading Post is a charming sandstone guesthouse situated on a trading station in the beautiful Roma Valley, only 20km from the airport. It is affectionately called ‘Ha Baseane’ by the locals after John Thorn, who established the Roma Trading Post in 1903 and lived there until his death in 1957. Today, the fourth generation of Thorns is growing up in this scenic place at the foothills of the Maluti Mountains. Donkeys are still herded daily to the store, bringing grain for grinding. Cattle, pigs and chicken roam freely among the blanket-clad horsemen who come to shop at the Trading Post. Little has changed since ‘Baseane’ arrived to establish his base shop for trade into the Maluti Mountains.
The Trading Post Guesthouse is an ideal location for backpackers, campers and those wanting peace and quiet or a base from which to explore the Mountain Kingdom. Three en-suite rondawels, double rooms, as well as a campsite are available. The guesthouse offers bed and breakfast, but meals can be served by prior arrangement. Small conferences of up to thirty people can be accommodated. The swimming pool is open to guests.
The guesthouse is short distances to the National University of Lesotho in Roma, dinosaur footprints, the Basotho Pony Trekking Project, Thaba Bosiu (the fortress and resting place of King Moshoeshoe I), and well located for day trips to the Maletsunyane Falls, the new Mohale Dam or Maseru. Hiking, walking, 4×4 and motorbike trails are all on offer in the vicinity.
Community Poverty Relief Programme:
In response to the state of famine declared by the Lesotho Government, the Thorn and McCarthy families put their heads together to find a practical way of assisting in relief efforts. They decided that any assistance should be of a self-help nature, not simply handouts, and should be of a lasting benefit to the community at large.
Given that many of the poorest villages in Lesotho cannot be reached by vehicles of any kind, it was obvious that building or rehabilitating roads – with the communities providing labour on a food-for-work basis – was a project that would benefit all.
Other friends and associates of the two families also became enthusiastic about the projects and it was decided to use the World Food Programme’s guidelines for food rations. Four suitable projects were identified – all roads that would, after rehabilitation or building, provide easier access to schools, clinics, police and public transport, as well as allow access for tourists.
The projects are on-going and guests are welcome to request a tour or contribute to the project.
Trading Post Adventures and Guesthouse – Ramabanta:
All adventure seekers will love this trip! The Ramabanta Valley is the ideal location for the ultimate off-road challenge or for the traveller who wants peace and tranquillity of pony-trekking or hiking through the mountains. Here visitors spend the night in a picturesque rondavel – a traditional Basotho home. During the day, adventure junkies can take their off-road motorbikes on gentle trails or trails with names like ‘slide your ass’, ‘jockstrap’ and ‘blacknek’! Many of the trails are suitable for 4×4 vehicles as well. Fly-fishing and birding (over 300 species) are other favourite activities in this area, and hiking to the local rock art sites is a must. The alpine flora here is spectacular – so even a short walk will bring visitor into contact with some of the over 400 alpine species (190 of which are endemic to the Drakensberg and Lesotho).
The Trading Post will offer guided tours to the area, but self-drive is also an option. Tours can also include trips to Mohale Dam, Maletsunyane Falls and Thaba Bosiu.