Recently, 79 children from my school (about half the roster – only kids whose parents could afford it) went on a field trip to Katse Dam. We piled into 5 taxis at 3 am (really) and blasted house music for the entire 5 hour drive.
A dam might sound like a lame field trip destination, but Katse is a huge deal in Lesotho. It’s Africa’s second largest dam (woo!), and is one of five dams in the Highlands Water Project that helps Lesotho with its largest export – water! This means that most of the water from Katse is sent across the border to South Africa. While this is slightly controversial in a severe drought like this one, Katse is also a pretty impressive engineering project and a source of pride for a lot of Basotho.
Katse is also famous for its trout, which I tried on our trip, and which I can confirm is delicious!
There’s also a botanical garden – the highest altitude botanical garden in Africa – where we learned about native plants and their medicinal uses. I saw a baby version of my favorite plant in Lesotho, the spiral aloe! It’s the national plant, and they grow to be huge with intricate patterns.
While in Katse, I got a chance to visit one of the teachers at my school. She lives there with her husband when school isn’t in session, and right now she’s home on maternity leave for a few months. That means I also got to meet her beautiful week-old daughter, too!
It was a great day spent exploring one of Lesotho’s most famous locations with my crazy students and even crazier co-workers. I think that one of the new volunteers will be placed at Katse next year, so hopefully I’ll have a chance to visit again!