Lesotho, officially named the Kingdom of Lesotho, is a country in Africa. A landlocked territory, it is completely surrounded by South Africa. It is also known as the Kingdom in the Sky, as it has the highest lowest point of any country in the world (1,400 metres). Despite this and the fact that it is an underrated travel destination, mountainous Lesotho is easily accessible from Johannesburg. Lesotho occupies a little over 30,000 square kilometres, with a population a little over two million. The name Lesotho means "the land of the people who speak Sesotho". Lesotho's capital and largest city is Maseru.
Where to go
Sehlabathebe National Park - Lesotho's Sehlabathebe National Park is located in the Maloti Mountains, in the country's Qacha's Nek District. It is also part of the larger Maloti-Drakensberg World Heritage Site. The park is known for its biological diversity and important cultural heritage. Established in 1969, it is Lesotho's first national park and second largest. While it is remote and rugged, its spectacular beauty, consisting of secluded rock pools, soaring mountain vistas, striking waterfalls, rock art, rock dwellings, and diverse flora and fauna, more than makes it worth the trip.
Maletsunyane Falls - The Maletsunyane Falls reaches a height of 192 meters (630 feet) and is located on Maletsunaye River, falling over the ledge of Triassic - Jurassic basalt. It is near the town of Semonkong.
Thaba Basiu - Thaba Bosiu is a sandstone plateau lying over two square kilometres, with a height of 1,804 metres above mean sea level. The name Thaba Basiu means 'mountain at night', based on the legend that says the mountain grew during the night and shrunk during the day. It is a significant historical site, as it is the place where the Basotho chief Moshoeshoe I established a fortified area to create refuge for his people in the early 19th century, during a war with the Ndebele people.
Thabana Ntlenyana - Thabana Ntlenyana, meaning ‘beautiful little mountain’ in Sesotho, is the highest point in the country. Standing at 3,482 metres (11,424 feet) high, it is also the highest mountain in southern Africa.
There are flights to Johannesburg in the neighbouring South Africa. Travellers looking for nature or outdoor-related attractions should not miss the Johannesburg Zoo, Lion Park, Cradle of Humankind, and the Johannesburg Botanical Garden. Other popular attractions in the city include the amusement park Gold Reef City, the leisure and casino complex Montecasino, and a unique museum of beer called SAB World of Beer.
Unfortunately, there are no direct long haul flights from Lesotho's primary airport. However, the airport it connects to in Johannesburg operates to long distance destinations such as Paris, Amsterdam, Beijing, Hong Kong, Frankfurt, Sydney, and New York.
How to get out
The primary airport in Lesotho is Moshoeshoe I International Airport, located some 18 kilometres southeast of downtown Maseru. The airport is served by the airlines Airlink and Mission Aviation Fellowship. Airlink has direct flights to OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, while Mission Aviation Fellowship operates to destinations within Lesotho.
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