THE MALEALEA LODGE
The Malealea Lodge is a tourist destination located in the southern district of Mafeteng in the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho. It is owned by Mick and Di Jones who were both born in Lesotho and know the country and its peoples intimately. Its mission is to introduce both local and international tourists to the sweeping beauty of this mountain kingdom. From its beginnings as a trading post, The Lodge has evolved into a well-known and much-loved tourist destination whose visitors come from all over the world.
However, it is its particular relationship with local communities that makes The Lodge unique among Lesotho’s tourist destinations, and the support of ongoing development projects is one of the Lodge’s lasting legacies. Mick and Di believe that tourism can play a constructive role in contributing towards the well-being of the communities who share their lives with tourists visiting the valley.
Community development projects facilitated by the Lodge began on a small scale around 1998. A hydroponic hothouse and a communal vegetable garden were the first projects, along with the brick-by-brick building of classrooms in local village schools. As tourism became established, it became clear that many tourists took a keen interest in development projects in the valley, and wished to contribute to initiatives. The Lodge began working in a more structured and organised way with both local people and with a Johannesburg-based academic, Gillian Attwood, to slowly formalise projects that could be supported in a more substantial way through outside funding. In this way The Lodge has fostered an interdependent relationship with the surrounding communities, which continues to manifest itself in the wide range of community development projects that you see on this website.
In 2001 the Malealea Development Trust was formally constituted with the full support and participation of the Lodge, and the responsibility for overseeing and implementing community development interventions through the support and donations from tourists was transferred from The Lodge to the MDT. In addition, community development initiatives that are directly linked to the commercial business of the Lodge also support the work of the MDT. These include the Malealea Pony Trekking Association and guided hiking trails which run out of The Lodge - from which a portion of earnings is channeled directly into MDT supported community projects.
A successful and mutually beneficial working relationship continues to exist between the two organisations to this day. Many visitors are introduced to the work of the MDT during their stay at the Lodge, and continue to support the MDT long after their visit. They go on to become important donors and fundraisers, and to resource still further materials and expertise to support the development work in the valley.
For more information on The Lodge, bookings and stunning photographs, please visit http://www.malealea.co.ls/