Lesotho is known as the small mountain kingdom that is completely surrounded by South Africa. It has an area of 30,355 square km. The moniker of mountain kingdom is apt as Lesotho’s lowest point is around 1,400 metres above sea level. Lesotho is the only country in the world whose lowest elevation is above 1,000 metres. Its capital and largest city is Maseru. Maseru is one of the world’s highest capital cities, sitting at about 1,600 metres above sea level. Most people rush for adventure outside the city but do take time to explore capital when you visit.
Lesotho’s terrain makes it an ideal place for those who enjoy mountaineering and hiking. The country’s built for outdoor adventure. The Basotho are proud of their culture and your trip there should include cultural exploration. Relative isolation in a unique environment has helped Lesotho preserve its culture.
Everything about Lesotho is an adventure, from its rugged terrain, unique culture and lifestyle. Be warned, a quiet getaway can turn into an adventure of a life time, especially if you visit at the right time. The kingdom of Lesotho is not just a small country within the boundaries of South Africa; it’s a pot of gold.
Something for everyone
- A culture that has stood the test of time
- Striking mountainous terrain
- Ideal for adventure travellers
- A tradition of music and dance
- Unmissable festivals
- The highest pub in Africa is on the border between Lesotho and South Africa at the Sani Mountain Lodge
- Lesotho is a high-altitude country and the only country in the world entirely above 1000m.
- Lesotho is one of only three remaining African states that are monarchies, the other two being Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) and Morocco.
- In 2018, one of the largest diamonds ever discovered was found in Lesotho, weighing 910 carats.
- The Katse Dam in Lesotho is the second largest double-curvature arch dam in Africa at 185m high and 710m in length.
On March 11 (Moshoeshoe Day) Lesotho is usually buzzing as different celebrations are held in commemoration of the death of the founding father of Lesotho – King Moshoeshoe, back in 1870. This is representative of the fact that Basotho people have a strong appreciation for their history and culture.
About 75 percent of Basotho live in rural areas and animal herding and crop farming are their main occupation. The Basotho greatly value tradition and have managed to preserve their language, art and culture even as the country modernises. The traditional attire of the Basotho is usually colourful and symbolises cultural identity and status.
Lesotho is known for its traditional wool blankets used by all sections of society and for special occasions as well as every day activities. The blankets received greater visibility when they served as inspiration for the blanket cloaks worn in blockbuster films Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity Wars.
It is possible to organise a rural homestay where visitors get to live with a Basotho family and experience traditional everyday life in Lesotho.
For truly remarkable experience visit the Ha Kome Cave Village. The caves were inhabited by the Basia and Bataung clan and their descendents still occupy them to this day.
Caption: The unique woolen blankets traditionally worn by the Basotho served as the inspiration for the cloak blankets worn by warrior in hit movie Black Panther.
Clothed in the most beautiful silhouette, beauty so surreal, close enough to perfection, you would mistake it for the base of heavens, Lesotho boast the most beautiful mountain ranges with some of the highest peaks in Southern Africa. Thabana Ntlenyana is Lesotho’s highest peak rising at 3,482 metres above sea level. It’s also used for altitude tolerance training by people planning on climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
Ntelle, Lesotho’s second highest peaks sits at 2,584 metres above sea level followed closely by the famous Thaba Bosiu at 1804 metres above sea level. Thaba Bosiu is a sandstone plateau with an area of approximately two square kilomteres and a height of 1,804 meters above sea level. If you spend a day at any of these majestic mountains you are guaranteed an exhilarating time. And with nearly two-thirds of Lesotho covered by mountains, there’s plenty more options.
The famed Drakensberg-Maloti Mountains straddle the border between Lesotho and South Africa. These mountains make up Southern Africa’s highest mountain range. The area is known for its rugged beauty and biodiversity.
One of Lesotho’s most captivating natural features is the Maletsunyane Falls. It is one of the highest single drop waterfalls in the southern hemisphere.
Caption: About two-thirds of Lesotho is covered by mountains.
Lesotho is also home to the highest ski resort in Africa, Afriski Mountain Resort, situated at 3050m above sea level. Adventure lovers flock into Lesotho during the ski season (May – August) for some fun in the snow.
During the hiking season Lesotho is buzzing with hikers from different corners of the earth. Word of caution: if you are not trained to hike in the snow, please stick to the summer hikes. It is rather safe to say Lesotho is one of the leading countries to visit for adventure junkies. Some of the other popular activities include abseiling, motor-biking, quad biking and car racing.
You can trek through the many mountains of Lesotho on foot, cycle through or climb atop the Basotho pony, a breed of horses unique to Lesotho and South Africa. If you’re brave enough abseil down Maletsunyane Falls. The area holds the Guinness World Record for the highest commercially operated abseil in the world.
For adventure with a pre-historic slant, follow the path of the dinosaurs. Lesotho has a large concentration of dinosaur footprints and fosillised bones, plants and shells.
Caption: From mountain biking to skiing and snowboarding, Lesotho has an abundance of outdoor adventure activities on offer and at an affordable price.
Through the preservation of culture, Lesotho artists have managed to stay true to their roots and serve the most authentic music experiences. The country has produced global musicians, the likes of Tshepo Tshola. Their unique rhythm and ever so perfect choice of lyrics make them stand out. These musicians are blessed with a gift to produce songs that speaks to the soul. Sitting around the fire and telling tales through poetry and music has been carried from generation to generation.
Caption: Music, dance and storytelling are all integral parts of Basotho culture.
Popular Annual Events
Afriski Winter Music Festival offers a unique festival experience in Southern Africa. The snow themed music festival appeals not only to heavy festival goers but also to ski enthusiasts and snowboarders alike. It brings you a three day ultimate blend of enchanting sound and snow, multiple stages, top-class artists and DJs and a ton of adventure-packed activities. This next level festival takes place in August at Afriski Mountain Resort.
Maletsunyane Braai Festival is held on the last weekend of November right at the top of Maletsunyane falls in Semonkong. During the Braai Festival, there is a range of activities such as: hiking, abseiling, quad biking, Helicopter Rides, horse and donkey rides.
Morija Arts and Cultural Festival is an annual event not to be missed takes place in Morija late September and beginning of October. The Festival attracts approximately 35,000 people each year.