Welcome to The Kingdom in the Sky. This is southern Africa – but not as you know it
Known as ‘The Kingdom in the Sky’, Lesotho is a lesser-visited nation with the distinction of being the only country in the world that is entirely 1000m above sea level or more. On our Lesotho trips you’ll discover its rolling highlands and rugged mountains, which are visible from just about anywhere in the land. This tiny mountainous kingdom is completely surrounded by its much larger neighbour, South Africa. Large mountain ranges form a distinct border, which gave the Basotho people a strategic advantage in defending their land.
Today, Lesotho has a population of just over two million, and its inhabitants rate themselves as some of the world’s most hospitable people. For Exodus travellers, a Lesotho tour offers an adventure with a difference, in a destination like no other. In stark contrast to South Africa, Lesotho is an underrated and underexplored destination filled with enchanting natural beauty.
But it’s not just the mountainous scenery and waterfalls cascading down golden cliff faces that will captivate you on Lesotho trips, the history and culture you’ll discover are just as intriguing. Explore a traditional village and browse the artisan shops or go pony trekking along the dusty paths. And if it’s wildlife you’re after, there’s plenty of that too, with a plethora of flora and fauna gracing the Sehlabathebe National Park. Our Lesotho tour takes you off-grid to scratch beneath the surface of this intoxicating gem and whatever time of year you visit, something new and beautiful transpires.
Lesotho is home to the second tallest, single-drop waterfall in the whole of Africa. Maletsunyane Falls plummets 192 metres down a steep rock face into a stunning gorge below and can be found on the Maletsunyane River close to the town of Semonkong. The falls also holds the World Record for being the highest commercial abseil point and has become a popular destination for adrenalin junkies seeking their next thrill. If you don’t fancy throwing yourself from the top of the falls, it’s still worth visiting this natural wonder on a Lesotho tour to appreciate its beauty.
Situated in the Pulane area, the Ha Kome CaveVillage is a fascinating place that the Basotho people once used as a refuge from cannibals of the Basia and Bataung clans. Hidden beneath the rocks, this cave village is still inhabited by descendants of the Basotho people today, keeping alive ancient traditions from two centuries ago. You can even see original San paintings on the walls, which you can learn more about on a Lesotho tour at the Kome Crafts and Information Centre just further up the road.
Lesotho is one of only two places in the world where it’s been proved that a carnivorous dinosaurs once roamed around 200 million years ago. Discovered back in 1955, fossilised footprints can be seen at Subeng. Spanning almost nine metres in length, Kayentapus Ambrokholohali was one of the biggest dinosaurs believed to have ever lived in Africa. Since the discovery, another dinosaur has been named after Lesotho. Lesothosaurus Diagnosticuswas a giant omnivorous lizard that once lived among Lesotho’s mountains.
Lesotho plays host to the highest pub in Africa. Sani Mountain Lodge stands at nearly 9,500 feet on the summit of the Sani Mountain Pass in the Mkhomazi Wilderness area of Lesotho. While it’s one heck of a trek to reach the lodge, the taste of that first drink will be the only reward you need. But, of course, you’ll also be rewarded with phenomenal views across the Drakensberg mountains and the valley below. The summit of the pass also marks the border between Lesotho and South Africa so while you’re enjoying your drink, you can have both your feet in two different countries at the same time. It’s not very often you can do that!
Lesotho trips will never cease to amaze you and there’s always something new to learn about this intriguing country. Nestled inside the Maluti Mountains at 185m high, the Katse Dam is the second largest of its kind in Africa. This is one of the most impressive feats of engineering in the continent and totals nearly 40 square kilometres. Believed to have taken its name from a local farmer, the Katse Dam was constructed in the early 1990s to channel water along a series if waterways, finally reaching the Vaal Dam.
Highlights of Lesotho trips
1. Traditional Basotho life: This mountainous kingdom has been shielded from outside influence for generations and the Basotho people still live their traditional way of life.
2. Bushmen rock paintings:Ha Baroana in the Maseru district is one of the country’s most well-known rock-art sites – see paintings of leopard, lion and guinea fowl alongside those of bushmen hunting, eating and dancing.
3. Africa’s highest dam: The Katse Dam on the Malibamatso River was built for the Lesotho Highlands Water Project and is the highest dam in Africa.
4. Pony treks: Mountain ridges protrude into towns, and walking with local guides and their ponies to a village is a great way to delve deeper into the unique culture Lesotho has to offer.
5. The Sani Pass: This former mule track is a death-defying, winding road that links KwaZulu-Natal and Lesotho. Standing at 2873m, the views at this altitude are unforgettable. In winter you can see snow and frozen waterfalls, in summer flora and fauna.