Located in Maseru, the capital of Lesotho, Ha Kome cave dwellings are 18th-century hideouts that became permanent residences for some Lesotho tribes. These dwellings are nestled under a rock overhang, hidden within the cliffs. Also known as Komaisa Caves or ”the Great Caves”, Ha Kome caves are classified as a national heritage site.
The current dwellers are the descendants of the inhabitants who lived there in the 18th century. The name Ha Kome comes from the Kome family in the Basia tribe as they were the first inhabitants of the cave.
During the 19th century, socio-political unrest ravaged southern Africa. This period known as The Mfecane, or ”The Crushing”, was characterized by forced immigration, inter-tribal warfare, and drought that affected the members of the Basia and Bataung clans. To seek shelter, they began using the overhang as hideouts. In time, they built their own houses out of mud.
There are various stories about the origin of the caves but it is certain that they served as a refuge for different tribes who ran away from the battles and cannibal groups who lived in the area. Also, historically, San people inhabited the caves as well.
The walls and floors of the houses are made of a mixture of mud and manure and they require regular maintenance.
The roof, The back wall, the roof, and the sidewalls are all formed by the rock of the cave itself. The dwellers of the caves developed a close-knit society in time. They live off of farming and tourism. They also their houses to the tourists who visit the area.