Lesotho is popularly called the "Mountain Kingdom" or
"Kingdom in the Sky" (more than 80% of the country is 5900 feet
above sea level ~ the peak of Ben Nevis is just 4409 feet above sea level by comparison)
because of its breathtaking scenery dominated by the Drakensberg and Maluti
mountains and is a land
locked country of some 18,861 square miles that shares a 565
mile border with its surrounding country of South Africa.
mountains are the source of two of the main rivers of South
Africa, the Orange (or Senqu) and the Tugela and these mountains
are home to one of the highest single drop waterfalls in Africa,
the Maletsunyane Waterfalls at Semongkong ~ Semongkong meaning
'The Place of Smoke' after the haze that the 610 foot drop
creates as it plummets into a spectacular gorge (left).
This mountainous topography has led to a fragile ecology
within Lesotho as the soil level is very thin, and, although
most families grow some of their own vegetables, overuse of
limited natural resources has resulted in soil erosion and to
some extent desertification as much of what soil there is is no longer
Lesotho is divided into four main geographical areas, with
59% of the country being mountainous, the foothills of the Maluti mountains accounting for 15% of the landmass, the lowland
region covering 17% and the Senqu Valley from the Senqu or
to deep into the mountains accounting for the remaining 9%.
If visiting Lesotho, as well as its trekking and hiking opportunities check
out the Morija Museum in the north-west of the country with its collection of
cultural artefacts; the Sehlabathebe National Park in south-east Lesotho with
its rock formations and art and, of course, the Sani Pass for which drivers
are rewarded at the end of their tortuous journey over the treacherous
northern Lesotho mountains with a drink at Africa's highest pub, the Sani
Lesotho is also popular for its bird watching, with species including the
Cape Vulture, the rare Bearded Vulture, the Steppe Buzzard and the Black
Eagle and dinosaur fans will also find travel in Lesotho of interest
with dinosaur tracks preserved at Qalo, Morija, Masitise amongst
many other sites ~ but don't go to Lesotho hoping to bring any fossils home
as excavation is illegal there!
If you intend to travel in Lesotho, note that 85% of the
country's (scare as it is) rainfall occurs during the 'summer'
there; October to April with January and February being the
hottest months. Winter in Lesotho is from June to August, whilst
Spring runs from September to April. Overall Lesotho has around
299 sunny days a year, making it an ideal travel destination!
A video showing picture images of Lesotho, the Kingdom in the Sky, where 80% of the country is higher than Ben Nevis. This video shows some of the breath taking images of Lesotho
and goes some way to explain why the country is becoming a
popular tourist destination despite its many challenges