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Country Lesotho – The Southernmost Landlocked Country

Officially known as the Kingdom of Lesotho, country Lesotho is a landlocked land and is entirely surrounded by Republic of South Africa. With an area of 30,000 square Kms, it houses around 1.8 million people. Capital of the southernmost landlocked country is Maseru. One of the poorest countries, 40% of the people lives below international poverty line.

Maseru, the capital of country Lesotho is the only city of some size in the country. No well developed tourist infrastructure exists in the country. Accommodation is usually of lower standards and most of them suffer from poor maintenance.

Three categories of accommodation are low cost dormitories either in rural or religious mission settings cloning low level budget hotels or bread and breakfast points; urban hotels mostly used by conference goers, and well maintained country lodges and guest house. Camping with tents with permission of locals is safe and easy. Tribal huts are also available for accommodation. One of the cheapest accommodations is the “backpacker” or hostels, though one may not find the traditional youth hostels in the country. A major draw is hiking, used for city hikers.

Brief History and Political Features
Khoisan hunter gatherers were the earliest known inhabitants of Lesotho who were subsequently replaced by Bantu migrates. Sotho-Tswana people colonized the country between 3rd to 11the century AD. Earlier known as Basutoland, country Lesotho became a single polity during 1822 under King Moshoeshoe.

In the recent years, Basotho National Party (BNP), Basotho Congress Party (BCP), and Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) succeeded each other with LCD the current. A parliamentary monarchy, the country has its Prime Minister as the head of government and executive authority, with the king as the figurehead without any participation in active politics. 

Geography and Climate
Only independent state that is located above 1400 meters height from the sea level, the elevation of the country is the highest in the world. More than 80% of the areas of the country lie above 1800 meters. Because of such altitude it remains cool most of the times. Thunderstorms are experiences in summer season. Winter is very cold at -7 degrees Celsius in lowlands and -18 degrees Celsius in highlands. Snowfall is common during May-September in high lands and is year round on high peaks. 

Getting Around
Good network of slow, no-frills buses as well as speedier minibuses and taxi services are available throughout Lesotho. As a guide to hassle free travel, one should learn about using the bus services properly. Instead of buying distant tickets and waiting for the bus to fill up and leave for indefinite period at interim stoppages, one should buy a ticket to the next town or city and change bus there.

Free entry permit visa is available for U.S and European visitors. Moshoeshoe Airport located at 18 Kms from Maseru has daily services to Johannesburg. Taxi pickups should be arranged beforehand as most of the times there are no taxis at the airport. No train line is there within Lesotho. One can travel by car but even the main roads in Lesotho are like the minor roads in Europe. However, there are no potholes. Steep climbs are there on the mountain roads so it’s better checking the car before going there. Written permission from the rental companies are required to run rented car in Lesotho. Petrol and diesel are often in short supply. Regular taxis and minibus taxis are other modes of transport.

Loti the local and South African rand are the two currencies in use in Lesotho. Current exchange rate for one Euro and one USD are 10.3756 and 7.6434 Loti respectively. However it is advisable to view the news on media including Internet to find out the exact current rate of exchange as they continue to change periodically.

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