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Covid-19 hampers tourism


Mohloai Mpesi

The scare of Covid-19 has forced two renowned tourism destination lodges to go up for sale because of the risk of insolvency, Newsday has learnt.

The Marakabei Lodge and Oxbow Lodge have been pegged for sale and the asking price is over M5million.

According to Marakabei Lodge’s Mosuoe Moteane, the lodge is currently trying to regroup from the impacted of Covid-19. He said the replacement value of the lodge is M5.4million with the selling price perked around M6million.

The government of Lesotho imposed a total lockdown and state of emergency in March following the global outbreak of covid-19, although at the time there were no reported cases of the virus in the country, such a shutdown even degenerated into closing of borders a feat which meant no activity at all for the tourism industry.

“There is no doubt that Covid-19 has had adverse effects on the tourism industry. However, the lodge is currently diversifying its product to compensate for effects of the pandemic. This may not exhibit immediate results as we speak but success trajectories are imminent,” he said.

However, Moteane said his desire to sell the business is based solely on business alignment.

“The desire to sell the lodge is purely business oriented where the value of the facility has been competitively elevated to bring back handsome financial rewards pursuant to facelift and relevant improvement,” he said.

Moteane continued that, “Marakabei lodge was re-built and expanded by the government of Lesotho in the mid 90’s. Our occupancy of the lodge came in 1996 subsequent to various tenants before us. The lodge is very successful and ideally located along the scenic embankment of the Senqunyane River. The replacement value of the lodge is some M5.4million and selling price perked around M6million.

“We enjoy ample opportunities in the promotion of tourism in Lesotho like the overseas tourists passing through to other destinations in Lesotho and the Republic of South Africa,” he said.

According to Moteane, the lodge has a fascinating scenery and is also ideal for fly fishing enthusiasts who spend some days at the lodge in pursuit of “catch and release” fishing. It is a popular spot for many international tourists and local guests who stay overnight and proceed to various in-country destinations.

“Horse Riding and walk trails are other addenda to our products.

“Our place is home to various groups for a variety of activities such as; weddings, private functions, 4×4 trails, long distance skating et al,” he said adding that there is no buyer who has approached the lodge yet.

“A purchaser has not been found yet. However, given the size of the project it may take a while to enable a potential purchaser to do necessary studies.

“Annual profits have varied from year to year and have always been positive. The business has been able to discharge its purchase value and operating expenses successfully,” he concluded.    

Efforts by this publication to establish the side as well as reasons for the sale of Oxbow lodge proved futile, although it has been reliably informed that the asking price is about M5million prompted by a not-so-glamorous business because of little to no tourism activity in latter times.     

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