Known as the “Kingdom in the Sky,” Lesotho (pronounced “leh-SOO-too”) is an up-and-coming destination on southern Africa itineraries, and for good reason — this landlocked country is a true hidden gem on the international circuit. It offers culture, outdoor adventures, and dazzling views in every direction, owing to the fact that its entirely above 1,000 meters in elevation. It’s also quite easy to get to if you are traveling via Johannesburg. Here are 10 reasons travelers love Lesotho.
Hitting The Slopes In Winter
Lesotho is one of the few places in Africa where you can actually go skiing, so it’s no wonder that travelers from Southern Africa flock here when the time of year comes. AfriSki in the Maluti Mountains is one of the most popular places there and is open from June through September.
Travelers love visiting the small town of Teyateyaneng to pick up distinctive souvenirs. While there, you can purchase cool crafts from the local Basotho artists, including colorful blankets. Another great place to browse for hand-made goods is the Leribe Craft Centre.
Epic Drives Through The Mountains
Lesotho has some of the best winding mountain roads in the world — great for attaching a GoPro or an iPhone to your dash and sharing your journey. One of the most popular places to venture is the Central Highlands, which boasts rugged cliffs, pastoral valleys, and stunning lakes. Even the drive into the country at Sani Pass is incredible.
Visiting The Rock Paintings
Lesotho is home to several rock art sites that were etched on the walls by the San people over the centuries. One of the best places to discover is the Liphofung Cave, located near the Caledonspoort border.
There’s no better way of experiencing a country than diving face first into the local culture. Fortunately there are several places that travelers like to go, including Semonkong (where people can take a cultural tour), Morija (home to the annual Morija Arts & Cultural Festival) and the numerous trading posts across the country.
Travelers looking for truly remote hikes can find plenty of places to get away from it all in Lesotho. Some of the most popular places to go are Ts’ehlanyane National Park (the country’s largest national park), the Bokong Nature Reserve, and Sehlabathebe National Park (on the tentative list to become a UNESCO World Heritage site). Each area has great walking paths, but they can be a bit difficult at times for a casual hiker, so come prepared. Here are some more detailed tips on hiking in the country.
There Are No Predators
While many people come to Africa to see lions and rhinos, you won’t find any of these creatures in Lesotho. In fact, there isn’t any big game at all in the country, making it perfect for casual hikes, bike rides and leisurely enjoying the wilderness without being worried about a lion spotting you for a snack.
Many of the mountain paths in Lesotho are hard to get to unless you are a skilled climber. But travelers can still make it to the top with the help of a pony. Most people head to Malealea where they can book pony rides to help them navigate the boulders, ravines and peaks of the gorgeous landscape.
Many people venture into the country just to see the beauty that is Maletsunyane Falls. The waterfall is the highest in the country at 196 meters and is a perfect place to get intoxicated by nature’s beauty. It’s also home to the highest commercially run abseil in the world if you need an adrenaline boost.
Fishermen love visiting Lesotho for its pristine streams and rivers that tumble down the mountains and cascading waterfalls. Many of these streams were stocked with fish over 50 years ago, and today are prime areas for leisurely enjoying a day by the water. One of the most popular spots to go is downriver from Maletsunyane Falls — a great place to catch Brown and Rainbow trout.