When King Moshoeshoe invited the first missionaries to his mountain fortress at Thaba Bosiu in 1833, he gave them freedom to explore the surroundings to find a place they could call home. The three Frenchmen scoured the hills and valleys for an ideal spot for their mission: after days of search, they discovered a north-facing hill with tree-covered slopes, a gurgling stream and an immense plateau above it. The soils were rich and the birds were abundant; they had found what they wanted. Moshoeshoe blessed their choice and sent senior relatives to offer protection.
Named after the biblical Mt. Moriah, Morija has maintained the magic that first attracted the missionaries. It is the only forested village in Lesotho, with every road lined with trees, some of which date back almost two centuries. Hidden between the trees is the historic ‘mother church’, as well as the schools, the printing works, the hospital, the museum and other institutions established by the missionaries.
Around this old but ever-evolving mission are the homes of about 1000 families who live in harmony with their natural surroundings, raising animals, growing crops and finding creative and dynamic ways to get by. The Morija Museum is the only one in the country and its Archives are well organised and frequently visited by researchers.
The Cafe Mojo, which serves delicious wood-fired pizzas for lunch, is found in the Museum garden. Just below the church, the Morija Arts Centre is also worth a visit.
Finally two fairly new places, run by teams of inspired and hard-working young people, add to the unique appeal of this little town. They are both located on the way to Matsieng (the Royal Village) but within walking distance of the church: the Hub is a unique place serving the community, especially its young people, and introducing them to new technologies while promoting social justice and respect of the environment. As for Pheha Plastic, it is a not-for profit company which recycles plastic to create beautiful objects and offers educational tours.