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Lesotho : Refurbishment of 91-kilometre road

Traversing the Drakensberg Mountain range and financed by China, this infrastructure project, located in the Qacha’s Nek district, enhances connectivity from Ha Mpiti village to Sehlaba-Thebe National Park, revitalising the region.

Lesotho has embarked on a $128 million infrastructure project to rehabilitate a 91-kilometre road with the help of China. The road, on which work began in January 2019 and was completed in April 2024, is located in the Qacha’s Nek district, crossing the Drakensberg mountain range. The project aims to transform the existing gravel road into an asphalt road, thereby improving connectivity in the region. The 91 km dual carriageway will reduce driving time from Ha-Mpiti to Sehlabathebe from 4 hours to 1.5 hours.

“Before it was instructed, it was very difficult for those business cars, I am talking of buses and taxis. It would take you for instance 2 and half hours from here to the nearest city. But now we take about 20 min from here to town.” 

Hlonelang Masupha, MerchantLesotho

Lesotho’s mountainous environment is characterised by steep river valleys that cut through an ever-changing geology of sedimentary rock layers until it climbs into basaltic rock. The route starts at around 1,700 m and climbs to an altitude of 2,400 m. Depending on altitude, the climate of the highlands includes rainfall that causes soil erosion and hence the destruction of roads.

“We’ve gained quite a good experience. The Chinese came here with their expertise obviously not only for the project but the interaction with them also was very good. So I think that what we have gained from this project is our confidence.”

Halifele Lejaha, Site engineerLesotho

Lesotho is a mountainous, landlocked enclave in southern Africa. The road linking Ha Mpiti to Sehlabathebe will significantly improve connectivity for local communities while stimulating tourism investment in the Sehlabathebe National Park, Lesotho’s only World Heritage Site.


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