Don’t you love it when something turns out better than you thought it would? Maybe our expectations of the Katse Lodge were just low, but it sure was a nice surprise. Twice. Read on to find out the truth about Katse Lodge in Lesotho.
For another, you couldn't fault it in terms of housekeeping and little touches that make your stay comfortable. There was loo spray, a bath and a shower, a large flat-screen TV, shampoo and body lotion, a choice between regular/decaff coffee, rooibos/earl grey tea on the tray in your room, lots of cupboard space, and crisp white sheets on a king-size bed. My only gripe was that the windows didn’t open far enough to let you really suck in the fresh mountain air.
Lunch and supper choices were good too. Whatever you do, don’t miss the trout, a piquant and delicious treat I enjoyed so much I had it twice.
When we planned a return trip to Katse Lodge and Katse dam in 2018, we were faced with another dilemma. Katse Lodge was no longer part of the Orion group, but run by the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LDHA). What did they know about hospitality, we wondered?
They were difficult to get hold of and our hopes plunged. But there wasn't much to choose from for Katse dam accommodation, so we grit our teeth and persevered. When emails to firstname.lastname@example.org went unanswered, we phoned them on +266 22910202 and they said they have ongoing problems with their connectivity but helped us with a telephonic booking.
Once we had our booking, it turned out that there was nothing to worry about. Apart from a rather dour reception from someone who clearly didn't love her job (or maybe was just having a bad day), not much had changed. Apparently when the LHDA took over in 2016, they took over the well-trained staff pretty much intact, and it showed.
The food was just as good (trout was still on the menu), the service just as friendly. And I enjoyed the best, lightest and fluffiest muffin of my life at breakfast. Top marks to the chef.
All this was only R599/LSL599 (Lesotho's currency is on par with the South African rand) per person per night, including the breakfast spread. You can also hire a self-catering flat at the lodge for R1018 per couple (November 2018 prices).
Apart from sampling the trout (which is farmed in the clean, cold, well-oxygenated and fast-flowing water of the high-altitude Katse dam), what else shouldn’t you miss while you’re here?
Second, pop in at the Katse Botanical Garden, originally established to save spiral aloes, Lesotho’s national flower, and other plants from the ravages of the dam’s construction. Half of the 17ha is landscaped and you can enjoy the medicinal garden, mountain zone plants, a rock garden, high Afro montane zone plants, and of course the spiral aloe. There's a bench where you can relax with a kick-ass view over the Katse dam.
Other activities worth asking about in Katse are pony trekking or a guided boat cruise on the dam.
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