Award-winning Lesotho lodge gutted by fire

2013-07-26 00:00

LESOTHO’s only five-star lodge, the internationally renowned Maliba Lodge in the northern highlands, was destroyed in a fire yesterday.

No one was injured in the blaze that swept through the thatched main lodge, destroying the massive deck along with the bar, lounge, restaurant and curio shop.

There were guests in the six luxury chalets located away from the lodge and they were in no danger from the fire, which started in the early hours of yesterday morning. The chalets, gardens and other surrounding buildings were unaffected.

Damage to the lodge is estimated at around R6 million.

The destruction of the award-winning, multi-million rand main lodge was confirmed by Maliba’s marketing manager Nicola Gerrard, who is based in Durban.

“The owners and the staff, many of whom helped build the lodge and considered it their own, are devastated. But so are the locals who are closely involved with Maliba, which operates a community trust and ­finances many projects,” she said.

The cause of the fire is not yet known but Gerrard said the Australian owners, Nick King and Chris McEvoy, had already indicated their determination to rebuild the main lodge, an hour’s drive from Clarens in the Free State.

“They are relieved there were no injuries and were appreciative of the efforts of all the staff who had to fight the fire and managed to confine the damage to the main lodge,” Gerrard said, adding the reservation staff members were now frantically telephoning the many guests who had already booked accommodation at the lodge for the next few months.

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