Country guides Africa
The mountainous Kingdom of Lesotho is small and rounded in shape, enclosed by South Africa on all sides. Separated from its neighbour by the huge Drakensberg and Maluti ranges, it's situated on a plateau over 3,281 feet (1,000m) high and has peaks reaching summits of more than 10,000 feet (3,000m).
Sani Pass is a breathtaking entry-point into Lesotho from South Africa's Drakensberg National Park and acts as a the gateway to the Roof of Africa scenic route, linking the magnificent scenery of the two mountain ranges.
Popularly described as the 'Kingdom in the Sky', the lofty highlands of Lesotho are characterised by majestic mountain scenery, crisp mountain air, and the simple serenity of the traditional lifestyles of its people.
Pony trekking is one of the finest ways to experience the Lesotho highlands, with time spent in remote Basotho villages scattered among the grassy hills. Here, waterfalls saturate the surrounding rocks with rainbow-coloured mist and crystal clear streams criss-cross the landscape.
The region is also perfect for those who prefer to put their hiking skills to the test, with miles of solitary scenery to appreciate, an abundance of trout in the rivers and dams, and the assurance of a warm and friendly welcome in the rugged mountain hamlets.
The central highlands are home to the highest waterfall in southern Africa, the Maletsunyane Falls near Semonkong. Meaning 'Place of Smoke', it thunders from a height of 624ft (190m) and is at its most spectacular during the summer rainy season.
Blanket-clad horsemen sidestep the traffic jams on their way to market, and woven handicrafts sit displayed on the busy pavements outside new glass buildings filled with hardworking office employees and officials.
The land descends from the top of the Maluti Mountains down to the western lowlands, which contain all major towns and around two thirds of the population. Maseru, the capital, is a fascinating city of contrasting modern and traditional lifestyles.
Time spent in Lesotho will allow visitors to observe an African country that has extraordinary appeal, a kingdom of rugged beauty and unchanging culture that remains pristine and largely unaffected by tourism.