Maletsunyane Braai Festival Experience 2023

As someone who loves to travel and attend lifestyle events, I have been unfortunate to miss Maletsunyane Braai Festival since its launch in 2016 due to conflicting engagements. Dubbed the biggest braai festival in Lesotho, Maletsunyane Braai Festival  attracts travellers from countries like South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini and locals who are passionate about camping, meat and lifestyle. 

The three-day festival starts on Friday and ends on Sunday, offering patrons many activities such as camping, hiking, quad biking, horseback riding, live entertainment and braaiing. Over the years, the festival has improved and grown significantly, making it a must attend event on the social calendar. 

Picture by Raw Creatives

It is more than just a meat festival. It is a platform to network, connect with new people, do business while also having fun. For Lesotho and Semonkong, Maletsunyane Braai Festival contributes to the economy as visitors spend money buying food and doing some of the activities I mentioned above. I dare say, that the braai festival is all campers favourite outdoor activity in Lesotho.

Personally, I promised myself to never go camping again after my last experience in  South Africa in March 2021. Do not get me wrong, I have no issues with camping and the lifestyle around camping. After that experience, I learnt very early that the camping lifestyle is not something I enjoy and would much rather sleep in a bed instead of a tent. While many enjoy the outdoors, I prefer to have a roof over my head and leave gazing at the stars to friends who love camping. With this background, I am sure you can tell by now that I did not go camping at Maletsunyane Braai Festival. 

So what did I do? 

After five years of missing the braai festival, I finally had the opportunity to attend the sixth edition of Maletsunyane Braai Festival on Saturday, 25 November 2023 in Semonkong for ‘Ke Lapeng Campaign’. Translated to ‘this is home’,‘Ke Lapeng’ is a campaign initiated by Alliance Insurance Company in collaboration with Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC) to promote domestic tourism and position Lesotho as a preferred travel destination. Being a man of my word, indeed I did not camp but attended the festival. To say this was a great experience would be an understatement. 

The braai festival experience 

Surrounded by the majestic Maletsunyane Falls and gorgeous mountain range, the Maletsunyane Braai Festival is one for the books. Like I regularly mention in many of my travel blogs and videos, nothing compares to the scenic and elevated drives to access Lesotho’s highlands. The freshness of the air, the beauty of the mountains and the people you meet along the way cannot be fully expressed in words. The drive to Semonkong, like many of my trips continues to be a beautiful experience. We made a stop at Thabana-Li-Mele (which translates to the ‘mountains with nipples’) situated at Ha-Kubutu for pictures. We eventually arrived at the braai festival and checked in. 

The festival is cashless, and transactions are done via mobile money, which I really support and see it as a commendable idea. To load or top up your ‘tag’ with e-value, there are agents at the entrance to assist. If you wanted to buy things like food, drinks and merchandise or access medical services, there were merchants available. For camping lovers, the camp site (which I didn’t have access to) was clearly marked, with showers and toilets. The line-up was a mix of many local and foreign artists from neighbouring countries which was great to see. The stage and sound were great, and the event hosts were on top of their game. 

On a personal note, I met friends and former colleagues I had not seen in a long time and met new people. I laughed, smiled, danced and witnessed the braai competition, it was mind blowing to see how passionate ordinary people are about braaiing and their meat! Watching the event unfold and seeing people genuinely have a good time in the mountains of Lesotho, my face beamed with pride. 

Picture taken by Jaden Maphathe

What the organisers of this event are doing for the tourism industry and the community of Semonkong is a lesson many of us can learn from. I felt proud to be Mosotho, proud to be a part of the story being written. If like me you have missed previous Maletsunyane Braai Festival editions, I encourage you to start planning early because dates for the 2024 edition have already been announced, 29 November to 01 December, book and visit the Mountain Kingdom because this is truly home, Lesotho Ke Lapeng!

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