Surrounded by South Africa, this rugged mountain nation is entirely over 1400m above sea level. In the 'Kingdom in the Sky', altitudinous superlatives are as common as snow-capped peaks, serpentine passes and remote villages clinging to clifftops. Lesotho is in fact the world’s highest country, with the highest low point, and its mountainous terrain boasts Africa’s highest peak south of Kilimanjaro, Southern Africa’s highest pass and the region’s loftiest pub.
Meeting the Basotho people is a memorable experience, as they largely live a traditional way of life against the dramatic backdrop of the Drakensberg and Maluti ranges. You will see Basotho shepherds trekking between villages of rondavel huts on sturdy Basotho ponies, clad in conical hats and patterned woollen blankets. Such distinct sights, combined with the jaw-dropping landscape, create an unbeatable destination for outdoor activities and authentic cultural experiences.
AIRPORT: Moshoeshoe I International Airport, 21km south of Maseru
AREA: 30355km²; 2.5% the size of South Africa, about the same as Belgium
POPULATION: 1.95 million
LANGUAGES: Sesotho (Southern Sotho), English
CURRENCY: Loti (plural maloti, M), divided into 100 lisente. Fixed to the rand, which is accepted throughout Lesotho
- Hiking and Basotho pony trekking around the awesome backpacker lodges in former trading posts.
- Katse Dam, a 35.8 sq km engineering feat in the central highlands.
- Crossing the border from KwaZulu-Natal on the dizzying Sani Pass (2876m), South Africa’s highest, and celebrating in Southern Africa’s highest watering hole.
- Swatting up on local history in Morija, the site of Lesotho’s first European mission, with its museum, annual arts festival and royal archive and museum in neighbouring Matsieng
- Experiencing the unspoilt scenery and serenity of the three major wilderness areas, Ts’ehlanyane and Sehlabathebe National Parks and Bokong Nature Reserve