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Maletsunyane Falls

Maletsunyane Falls, Lesotho
Maletsunyane Falls / BagelBelt, Wikimedia Commons, public domain

Main characteristics

Coordinates: 29.8684 S 28.0511 E
No:410        (list of all attractions)
Values:Geology, Visual
Address:Africa, Lesotho, Maseru district, some 80 km south-east from Maseru (direct line), near Semonkong
Alternate names:Le Bihan Falls, Lebihan Falls, Semonkong Falls
Height:192 m
Width:25 m

The best known natural landmark in Lesotho is Maletsunyane waterfall. It belongs to top-league waterfalls of the world due to its impressive height (192 m), magnificent setting, rather wide stream and "clean", uninterrupted fall.

Waterfall has formed on Maletsunyane - tributary of Orange Rive, which falls over the ledge of Triassic - Jurassic basalt.

Often it is erroneously stated that this beautiful waterfall is the tallest (or second tallest) free falling waterfall in this part of Africa. This is not true: for example, the longest drop of Tugela Falls (South Africa) is 411 m tall, Kalambo Falls (Zambia) are 221 - 235 m tall.

Nevertheless Maletsunyane Falls have special qualities - natural setting of falls among tall cliff walls is very impressive, there opens a fine view on waterfall.

Maletsunyane Falls, Lesotho
Maletsunyane Falls / Fiver Löcker, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.

In winter the waterfall often is adorned with enormous icicles. Sun does not shine at the foot of waterfall - thus the ice stays there up to the early summer.

The first European to see these falls was French missionary François Le Bihan (1833 - 1916) in 1881. Falls have given a name to the nearby town of Semonkong - "Site of smoke".

It is possible to abseil next to the falls - this is the tallest commercial abseil in the world, 200 m high.


See Maletsunyane Falls on the map of Lesotho!

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