(Photo: Tom Claytor)
MATEKANE AIRSTRIP - Kingdom of Lesotho, Africa.
Lesotho has the highest low point of any country in the world. The mountain villages of this Kingdom are mostly accessible only by foot or by sturdy-footed Basutho Pony along tiny mountain paths. However, there is also a network of short mountain airstrips throughout the Kingdom used by the Lesotho Flying Doctors Service. These highly skilled pilots use single-engine aircraft to access health clinics in the remote villages. This airstrip is at an altitude of 7,550 feet and is less than 400 meters long. Depending on the wind in the mountains during take off, it is entirely possible for the aircraft not to be in the air by the end of the airstrip. Instead, you shoot off the end of the airstrip out over the Ohohbeng river, then drop down the two thousand foot cliff face until you start flying. Claytor spent nearly a week at Matekane - part of it buried in snow.