Lesotho may be surrounded by South Africa, but its culture, mountainous scenery and livelihood are not at all the same. Come here to hike in the highlands, discover impressive waterfalls and canyons or to see indigenous tribes living in huts and caves. Hit the ski slopes around Oxbow in the winter and enjoy swimming in fresh mountain pools in summer.
Basutoland was established in the 19th century and later renamed the Kingdom of Lesotho. Many military and political struggles followed, but the country’s few million citizens have left the country’s troubled past behind and now focus on their rich traditions and natural treasures instead.
The welcoming attitude of even the poorest people, along with the many outdoor adventure options, relative safety and low prices, make Lesotho a great travel destination. English is one of the official languages in Lesotho, but indigenous Basatho families speak Bantu and Sesotho.
Visit the capital Maseru on the northwestern border and see the Royal Palace. It’s where the processions of Moshoeshoe Day take place in March. The celebrations commemorate King Moshoeshoe I, who united the various Basotho tribes and settled in the mountains. Visit the remarkable Ha Kome Cave, where their descendants still live, and see the nearby Malimong (cannibal) caves.
At the Malibamat'so River, marvel at the engineering of the Katse Dam. See the Maletsunyane Falls at Semonkong and abseil some 643 feet (196 meters) down into the gorge. Hike the seemingly endless trails through the wetlands of the Bokong Nature Reserve or the grasslands of the Sehlabathebe National Park.
As all of Lesotho’s attractions are all quite spread out, it’s best to rent a four-wheel drive vehicle to get around. You can also take buses. Note that while the currency here is the Basotho loti, you can also pay with South African rand.
With some 300 days of sunshine a year and extensive snowfall in winter, Lesotho is the perfect destination for year-round outdoor activities.