Lesotho Travel Map
When you arrive in Lesotho (bordered by the Free State, KwaZulu Natal and the Eastern Cape) it’s a good idea to take off your watch, switch your cell phone to silent and take a deep, calming breath. You are officially on African time now. If you’re not naturally patient, this is a good place to learn the virtue.
This tiny African Kingdom won its independence as recently as 1966, making it a young nation in one way, although its history goes back millions of years as evidenced by fossilised dinosaur trails, petrified wood and San cave paintings all open to viewing by today’s visitor.
Loosely translated, Lesotho means ‘place of the people who speak Sesotho’. The first speakers of that language in the region were the Bafokeng, who lived side by side with their San neighbours.
Between 1815 and 1829 King Moshoeshoe (the Great) established a stronghold at Butha-Buthe, later establishing the Kingdom of Lesotho.
Today’s monarch, King Letsie III, is one of King Moshoeshoe’s great grandsons.
Lesotho is known as the ‘Mountain Kingdom’. Many of its peaks are over 3000m and it also boasts the highest "lowest" point of any country in the world - at over 1000m. It is composed of a high mountain plateau, chiseled by river valleys whose waters feed the Senqu River. This river later becomes South Africa's longest waterway, the Orange River.
To the east, the plateau’s edge forms the Drakensberg Mountains on the border with Kwa-Zulu Natal, while the western border is formed by the Caledon River.
Lesotho’s capital, and only city in this otherwise rural kingdom, was originally founded by the British as a small police camp in 1869, following the conclusion of the Free State-Basotho Wars when Basutoland became a British protectorate.
Come to Malealea and enjoy the pony trekking for which Lesotho is so well known. The local Riding Association ensures that their ponies work in rotation and are well looked after. At 1,800m above sea level, Malealea boasts magnificent views across the plateau towards a panorama of mountains as high as the European Alps. Trekking can take you deep into the Maluti Mountains where you can visit remote villages and overnight in the Chief's guest hut of mud and thatch.
This spectacular mountain road enters Lesotho from South Africa's Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park, and leads to the ‘Roof of Africa’ – and the highest pub in the world where you can enjoy an ice cold Maluti beer. At this time Sani Pass is only accessible with a 4x4 vehicle, although plans are afoot for the tarring of the pass.
Contact Portfolio for all your Lesotho accommodation needs, travel advice and online bookings.