MASERU — It’s that time of the year again when Basotho commemorate the long walk taken by the nation’s founder Moshoeshoe I.
Hundreds of participants are expected to take part in the historic walk next Friday from Menkhoaneng to Thaba-Bosiu, a distance of 145 kilometres.
The event, which is organised by a local tourism company T-Connexion, was inaugurated in 2007.
This year participants will be subjected to compulsory medical tests before they can be allowed to take part in the walk.
Mphotleng Mahao, who is co-ordinating the event, said they had introduced the medical restriction to help monitor participants who might need special attention during the walk.
“We want people to test for blood pressure and their sugar levels two weeks prior to the walk and provide a report. This is compulsory,” Mahao said.
“This is to know if we will have people who might need special treatment.”
She said they had organised to have nurses and a rescue team on standby during the walk “in case of emergencies”.
Mahao said they had also arranged with nearby hospitals to get first preference in case of emergencies.
She however said injured participants will foot their own hospital bills.
Mahao said the historic walk has gained momentum since its introduction in 2007.
“We started with 40 people in 2007 and last year we had 350. The walk is now attracting a wide scope of fans,” Mahao said.
She said at least 200 people had already registered their interest to participate in this year’s event.
Mahao said the walk promotes domestic tourism and has proved quite popular with locals as well as tourists.
“We have had people from South Africa, Botswana and Swaziland joining us on the walk and last year Swaziland approached T-Connexion to organise a similar walk for their king,” she said.
She said the walk had also provided an opportunity for businessmen to network.
“For a first timer there is a lot of adventure. One learns how to work in a team, how to strategise and improve their communication skills. There is raw history that is also communicated,” Mahao said.
“We also bring business to villages along the route. We have villages that provide accommodation, food and water as a paid for service,” she said.
She said as part of their corporate social responsibility participants will donate presents to orphans and vulnerable children in different villages.
“This year we are going to give Thaba-Phatsoa community a present as part of our plans of giving back to the community,” she said.
Mahao said participants are expected to pay M500 which will cover accommodation for three nights, four meals including two breakfasts and two suppers, three T-shirts, and refreshments and a bag pack.