Although surrounded by South Africa on all sides, Lesotho is a country with its own culture and lifestyle set apart from its neighbours. It's also relatively more peaceful, making it one of the safest countries to visit in the continent. Starting out as a British protectorate in 1843, Lesotho gradually gained its independence in 1966 through a treaty with the British and the Boers that reduced the country's size in half.
Lesotho, officially called, the Kingdom of Lesotho, has a population slightly over two million, in a land around 30,000km2 in size. The name “Lesotho” roughly means “the land of the people who speak Sesotho.” The country’s capital is Maseru, which is also its largest city.
Travellers on a backpacking adventure will have fun in Lesotho due to its laidback and rugged landscapes. Relaxing nature sceneries abound, with guides ready to take tourists in horseback riding trails to explore the countryside. One of the places to visit for experienced horseback riders is the Basotho Pony Trekking Centre. Located on the intriguingly named God Help Me Pass, this centre is for the horseback riders looking to camp away for a while and explore the wonderfully untouched surroundings.
Maletsunyane Falls is particularly fascinating due to its ethereal appearance. The water pools around the centre of a landscape that is shaped like the top of a heart. A film of water then drops down a height of 630 feet, which makes the falls one of the highest in the world. From there, tourists can go to Ts'ehlanyane National Park and look for rare plants in the woodlands. The green mountains are especially stunning when the fog clears up and the sun shines.
Once travellers have finished a guided tour around the pony trails, it's time to learn more about the pre-historic times of the country. The Masitise Cave House Museum has informative collections on the local culture and the origins of the country. There's even a dinosaur footprint cast on the ceiling, which can remind one of the times when these giants roamed the earth. Another must-see museum is the Liphofung Cave, where visitors can view San rock art on the walls. A curiosity shop is here with a small handicrafts store that funnel all the proceeds back to the community. Tourists can look for souvenirs from the creations of the local artisans in the surrounding areas.
How to get around within Lesotho
A slow network of buses and minibus taxis make up Lesotho's public transportation. The buses run without a timetable, as they begin only when passengers occupy all the seats. This lack of schedule makes it necessary for tourists to buy tickets just before boarding.
How to get there
Travellers going to Lesotho will most likely land on Moshoeshoe International Airport. There are no direct flights coming here, however, so tourists will have to book connecting trips from O.R. Tambo International Airport or other South African airports.
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