Tired of glamorous holiday destinations and big cities? Step into the ‘kingdom in the sky’. A tiny dot-like country within a country, Lesotho is entirely landlocked within the Republic of South Africa. A country of stunning beauty, Lesotho is nestled in high mountains. Starkly different from the modern trappings of the surrounding South Africa, Lesotho offers you old, traditional Africa and pure nature.
Originally, the land of Sotho – Tswana people, the villages were attacked by the Zulus and Boers. In an attempt to save themselves, the Basotho people sought the help of the great King Moshoeshoe. Under his leadership, the invaders were driven away and the present Lesotho was born. The Basothos lead a very simple life and traditions and customs are as ancient as the land itself. Walking on the footsteps of the dinosaurs (actual fossil footprints), you can tour the little nation either on ponyback or try hiking.
Gifted with a ruggedly beautiful mountainous terrain, the entire country is 1000m above sea – level, the lowest point being at 1400m. Rolling green valleys with mountains sometimes gently sloping, sometimes jaggedly rising; the enormous sky seems to kiss the ground. And alongwith the remote thatched hut villages of the Basotho people, it makes for a perfect scenery.
Maseru, the capital of this lovely country is where you begin your journey. Situated in the northwestern part of the country, though not equipped to the standards of a big city, it has all the basic amenities of an urban centre. Visit the Mokorotlo – a museum that looks like a traditional thatched hut and exhibits the culture and tradition of the Basothos and Thetsane – a series of factories where t-shirts and jeans are made for supply to US stores. Hlotse – a town in the northern region has a beautiful regional market where you can get wonderful traditional crafts.
While heading into the heavenly highlands, visit the Semonkong – Maletsunyane falls. It is the African continent’s highest single drop fall. The fall created out of the Maletsunyane river has such a deep precipitous drop that the bottom remains permanently frozen, where the sunlight does not reach. The Ha Baroana and Ha Khotso sites have wonderful rock paintings done by bushmen. See prehistoric dinosaur footprints at Morija, Moyeni and Qalo. Take a walk down memory lane by visiting Thaba Bosiu, the lair of King Moeshoeshoe, where the battle against the boers was fought and where many of the kings and queens still rest.
A nature lover’s paradise, Lesotho has an amazing collection of wildlife. Surrounded by high rugged mountains, the Sehlabathebe National Park in the eastern part of the country houses the Maloti minnow and rare birds like the bearded vulture and black eagle. The Letsie lake houses many water birds and is the home of the rare bald ibis.
If you want some more adventure head straight for the Maluti and Drakensberg ranges. The jagged green giant of the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg range located on Lesotho’s northern border with South Africa offers stunning vistas and adventures that you simply cannot miss. Trek to the Sani Top on the Sani Pass and enjoy the breathtaking scenery.
Visit this gorgeous country in the company of nature, you are sure to fall in love with it. If you are young at heart and game adventures then this is the place for you.