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. Lesotho's 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 (above). 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 arable.
Lesotho is divided into four main geographical areas, with 59% of the country being mountainous with the rest comprising the foothills of the Maluti mountains (15%), the lowland region (17%) and the Senqu Valley from the Senqu or Orange River 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 Mountain Lodge. 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 with October to April with January and February being the hottest months. Winter in Lesotho is from June to August, while Spring runs from September to April. Overall Lesotho has around 299 sunny days a year, making it an ideal travel destination! The video (belows) 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 elsewhere.
Lesotho Images: Volunteer Work in Lesotho
Lesotho Images: Lesotho Map
Lesotho Images: Sponsor a Child in Lesotho
Lesotho Images: Lesotho Country Profile
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