Landlocked Lesotho is a high-altitude country with a rugged landscape, dotted with towering peaks and a laid-back vibe. Enclosed within South Africa, it is nicknamed “kingdom in the sky” – it is the only country in the world completely above 1000 metres. Basotho culture and tradition are prevalent everywhere in the country, and they have worked hard to preserve their identity.
Apart from a few decent eating and accommodation options, the low-key capital of Lesotho – Maseru does not have much to offer to its visitors so people head straight to the nearby plateau of Thaba-Bosiu, a natural fortress believed to be the birthplace of the Basotho nation. Once the capital of Lesotho and stronghold of King Moshoeshoe, today it is preserved as a national monument.
Lesotho is a great eco-tourism destination. The country is home to several natural attractions, including the breathtaking Maletsunyane Falls. It is mesmerizing to witness this 192-metre high waterfall dropping into the gorge below. Sani Top, located at the top of one of Southern Africa’s most renowned and steep roads – Sani Pass, offers great mountain scenery and hiking opportunities. At more than 2800 metre altitude, this is one of Lesotho’s most popular attractions. Deep and high in the Maloti mountains, lies one of the most amazing modern engineering marvels in the world – Katse Dam – the source of Lesotho’s hydroelectric power and Africa’s highest dam. Malealea, a small and remote village, located in the country’s southwestern region, is distinguished for its trading-post lodge, community-based tourism and amazing mountain views. While history buffs visit the place for its San rock-art sites, its traditional Basotho life attracts everyone. The rugged wilderness of Ts’ehlanyane National Park, one of only two national parks in Lesotho is covered with indigenous forest and is easily accessible. Located in the Maloti Mountains, the terrain here is mountainous, even by Lesotho standards. While there are several hiking trails, it is also possible to explore this region on horseback (on the back of the famed Basotho ponies). To the north of the national park lies one of Lesotho’s bustling market hubs – Leribe (also known as Hlotse), which was once the British administrative centre and has a few historical buildings. However, the nearby dinosaur footprints along with the town’s rich art and crafts are the main claim to fame for Leribe.
Lesotho lacks typical African wildlife and grand national parks. Instead, you will be greeted with history, traditional lifestyle, high-altitude terrain and beautiful scenery.
Lesotho is the only country in the world situated completely above 1000 metres.