The Kingdom of Lesotho, or Lesotho for short, is a landlocked country made of mostly highlands and completely surrounded by South Africa. The capital and largest city is Maseru. Though an underrated travel destination, Lesotho is a beautiful alpine country with stunning scenery and plenty of opportunities for hiking, trekking, and horse-back riding. About 40% of the population is below the international poverty line, but travelling around Lesotho is safe and cheap.
What to see & do
Ts'ehlanyane National Park - The country's largest national park can be found in the Maloti Mountains, in Butha-Buthe District, and is part of the larger Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Conservation Area, a World Heritage Site. It contains the country's only stands of indigenous forest and rare undergrowth plants. Animal and bird species that reside in the Ts'ehlanyane National Park include the bearded vulture, malachite sunbird, white-necked raven, Cape clawless otter, Smith's red rock hare, black-backed jackal, baboons, serval cat, and mountain rhebuck. The park features several hiking and bridle paths, game viewing, pony rides, and swimming in the streams and rock pools.
Sehlabathebe National Park - The Sehlabathebe National Park is also part of Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Conservation Area. It is located in the Maloti Mountains in Lesotho's Qacha's Nek District. Established in 1969, the park protects a high level of biodiversity and is dominated by various types of grassland. It also encompasses soaring mountain vistas, waterfalls, secluded rock pools, and rock dwellings, all of which is home to several plants, animals, and birds. Sehlabathebe National Park can be accessed by horseback riding or with 4x4s. There is a camping area near the old Jonathan Lodge.
Katse Dam - The Katse Dam is the concrete arch dam on the Malibamat'so River, part of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. Completed in 1996, it is the second largest dam in Africa.
Afriski - Afriski is a skiing resort in the Maloti Mountains. It is the only one of its kind in the country, and one of two ski resorts in southern Africa. The resort is capable of accommodating approximately 250 visitors and operates a one-kilometre ski slope for beginners.
How to get around within Lesotho
Lesotho is served by regular taxis that are distinguishable by the yellow stripe down the side of the vehicle. It can carry up to four passengers. Another variation of taxi in Lesotho is the minibus taxi, which are also used in other parts of Africa. Minibus taxis are cheap and they fit a lot of passengers at once. Fares for the minibus are set by the government and cannot be negotiated. Always ask the other passengers for the price to make sure the driver doesn't overcharge you. Taxis on the streets that have space for more passengers will hoot their horns, and the conductor will be shouting the destination or route of the taxi. Flag one down if you intend to ride or to ask the conductor if they will pass by your destination. If you do not want to constantly and uncomfortably rub elbows with other passengers, consider renting a car instead. There are car rental agencies at the hotels and the airport. A 4x4 is not necessary to get to the main attractions of Lesotho.
How to get there
Moshoeshoe International Airport is the public airport serving Maseru. It is located in the town of Mazenod, some 18 kilometres southwest of downtown Maseru. It is served by Mission Aviation Fellowship, which operates exclusively within Lesotho, and Airlink, which has flights to and from Johannesburg.
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