The Kingdom of Lesotho is a landlocked country completely surrounded by South Africa which is made up of a modest population of just over 2 million people. It is known to the locals as the Kingdom of the Sky as it is the only country in the world to be entirely above 1 000m in elevation and has the highest lowest point in the entire world at 1 400m.
The country is made up of the rolling highlands and the rugged peaks of the Maloti Mountains, which stand tall just less than 3,500m.
Maseru (a Sesotho word meaning “place of the sandstone”) is the capital of Lesotho. The city boasts a sizeable population of approximately 227,880 people and is situated on the Caledon River. Things to in Maseru include visiting the National Museum, admire the stunning architecture of the Royal Palace and seeing Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s residence.
The Sani Pass is a road link between KwaZulu-Natal and Lesotho. Originally a mule track, it is still a twisting, winding, hair-raising road today. At 2873m, you enter the Kingdom of the Sky, a place where time has frozen. The views from this altitude are nothing less than breath-taking, with snow and frozen waterfalls in winter and acres of flowers in summer. This road tests the skill and courage of any driver. If you think you have what it takes to grab a Tour Operator and head for the pass for an adventure you’ll never forget!
At the top of the Sani Pass lies the Sani Top Chalet - home to the highest pub in Southern Africa. Inside you'll meet different people from all walks of life and can spend the evening chatting away at the cosy bar. With a wide selection of drinks, good food and beautiful views, make sure you visit the Sani Top Chalet.
Trek across the mountain escarpments of Lesotho like a traditional local by travelling on a pony. The sure-footed Basotho ponies provide the best way to see the rugged terrain. Treks range from an hour to seven days and can be arranged to suit your schedule. Moyeni and Mohales Hoek are popular locations for these activities.
Discover authentic Basotho hospitality, art and tradition at a genuine Basotho village. Experience a way of life that integrates comfort and practicality with a unique aesthetic. Traditionally the Basotho people wear straw hats and brightly coloured blankets to keep warm at such high altitudes. Locals are kind and friendly and will treat you and your family like one of them. Some villages even offer comfortable self-catering accommodation with splendid views of the surrounding landscape. Traditional culture remains vibrant in the Basotho communities of this proud nation.
Experience the Bushmen rock paintings, near Maseru. Ha Baroana is one of Lesotho’s more important and publicised rock-art sites. Here the San have left a superb gallery of paintings of animals such as leopard, lion and eland, and guineafowl. There are also beautiful paintings of bushman life – hunting, dancing, and people in huts. Ha Baroana rock paintings are Lesotho’s most important rock art site and is a must see when visiting Lesotho.
Lesotho has a wealth of fossilised bones, trees, plants and shells and is known for having the largest concentration of dinosaur footprints in the world. Some of the infamous dinosaur fossils found in Lesotho is Lesothosaurus, Massospondylus and Heterodontosaurus. There are many dinosaur footprint locations, with sites at Morija, Subeng Stream and Tsikoane close to Moyeni, Matsieng and Mohale’s Hoek.
The Lesotho Safari experience offers a delightful blend of cultural discovery and spectacular mountain scenery. The Lesotho Safaris include a visit to a Basotho village school, navigating up the Sani Pass, as well as the highlight of any trip to Lesotho – pony trekking through the wilderness with a local guide. Many Tour guides offer the same services but can be tweaked based on personal preference. Experience the beauty of Lesotho with your closest friends and make memories that will last a lifetime.
The Katse Dam is situated on the Malibamatso River in the Kingdom of Lesotho. It is by far the most efficient storage dam in Africa due to its enormous depth and relatively small surface area, which reduces evaporation. Built for the Lesotho Highlands Water project, it receives abundant water from summer rains and winter snow. Being the highest dam in Africa, no tour of Lesotho would be complete without visiting the dam. Tours start from the visitor centre and cost R10 per person and take about an hour, starting at 9am or 2pm on weekdays and 11am on weekends. Make sure to bring the entire family along!
The Sani Valley Lodge sits comfortably within the dramatic Drakensberg mountain range, borders a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the closest luxury lodge to the famous Sani Pass. They continuously make improvements to the lodges to ensure the comfort of their guests. The Sani Valley Pass is a simply stunning place of peace and tranquillity, so make sure you visit!
And to conclude, experience a tour of Lesotho like no other by chasing the dragon’s tail on an all road 14 day trip on a motorcycle! Highlights include visiting the Golden Gate national Park, travelling up the Sani Pass and visiting the Matletsunyana Falls. For more information on the once in a lifetime trip, see: http://www.upsouthadventures.com/chasing-the-dragons-tail.html