The country of Lesotho (the capital of Maseru) is one of the members of the British Commonwealth, but at the same time gained independence in the last century.
The state is considered mountainous — even the lowest point here is located much higher than the highest in many other countries. So, the plateau, on which the soil is cultivated and agriculture develops, is located at an altitude of 1200 meters above sea level.
Another unique feature should be mentioned — if you look at Lesotho on the world map, you can see that the country is an enclave, because it is bordered on all sides by South Africa.
A temperate climate prevails here. Despite the fact that the country is African, during the winter months (in the Southern Hemisphere, winter lasts from July to August inclusive), snowfalls are possible, and in some regions the temperature drops to -7 degrees.
In summer (December to March), in some parts of the country, temperatures can reach +33 degrees, although the average ranges from +20 to +22 degrees.
In the mountains, severe frosts are possible — up to -17 degrees. In summer it is rainy. The average annual rainfall exceeds 600 millimeters.
As you can see, the weather in Lesotho is far from being so friendly, even in summer, when it is warm, there are heavy rains that can ruin a tourist trip.
Lesotho’s economy is based on agriculture, but is highly dependent on its neighbor, the Republic of South Africa.
The population of Lesotho is mainly employed in the agricultural sector — over 80% of the country’s inhabitants work here, but the total share of agriculture in GDP is only slightly more than 18%. In particular, in the fields and lands they grow:
- peas and other beans;
- various vegetables;
There are also industrial enterprises, whose share in GDP exceeds 40%. In particular, these are factories and plants for the production of textiles, processing of agricultural products, and assembly of television equipment.
The highest mountainous diamond mine in the world operates on the territory of the country.
Monetary unit of Lesotho
The currency of Lesotho is the loti. Small change — licente. 1 loti equals 100 licente. The influence of South Africa also affects the financial sector. So, the loti rate is strictly tied to the South African currency, which is also freely circulated in Lesotho.
There are many exchange offices in the country where you can easily exchange the most common currencies in the world for loti or rand. At the same time, exchangers also work in hotels, but there, traditionally, the exchange rate is not very profitable.
If a tourist carries traveler’s checks with him, then their exchange is carried out in banking institutions. And it’s better to change checks for rands. So it’s more profitable.
The vast majority of metropolitan hotels, restaurants, retail outlets accept the most common bank cards: Visa, MasterСard. American Express and some others.
But outside of Maseru, with bank cards, everything is much more complicated, and therefore you should always have a supply of cash on hand. That will also allow you to leave coins of Lesotho as a keepsake of your visit to the country.
Medical care and safety
As in many African countries, the level of medicine is low. However, in general, the indicator of the infectious situation is not bad, so if the tourist is not going to go to the provinces, remote villages, special preventive measures can be abandoned. Although all tourists are advised to get vaccinated against fever before visiting Lesotho.
To avoid infection with other infections, you should not drink from unknown sources, especially in provincial villages remote from the capital.
The main city of Lesotho is Maseru. The city, founded less than a hundred years ago, became the capital after the country gained independence — in 1966. It is incredibly contrasting — next to the relatively comfortable European neighborhoods, African neighborhoods are shockingly poor.
If you decide to go to Lesotho, a visa must be pre-registered at the embassy of this country — in Moscow. Most often, tourists are issued a regular visa for a period of 30 days. Also, a visa can be single-entry and multiple-entry. The second will cost a little more, but in most cases one trip is enough for tourists to get to know all the features of the country, and therefore why pay more?
If a tourist enters Lesotho from the territory of South Africa, then you can do without a visa, but you must first obtain permission to enter the embassy in the Republic of South Africa.
Lesotho has attractions for all tastes, albeit a bit sophisticated. In particular, it is immediately worth mentioning the most beautiful landscapes, similar to the views in Tibet, unsurpassed mountains, the flavor of the indigenous people.
Most often people go here for hiking trips, as well as for various types of extreme sports — bicycle races, motorcycle races, rallies held in the mountains.
The Kingdom of Lesotho is also often visited by fans of fishing — trout is found in abundance in mountain rivers, however, in order to fish, you must first obtain a permit from the Ministry of Livestock!
Fans of fauna and flora should also be amazed by the next figure — more than three hundred species of birds and many species and subspecies of animals live here. What is surprising is that Lesotho, whose photo sometimes looks like a Martian landscape, has no access to the sea or ocean.
Of course, one cannot fail to mention such a natural attraction as the Dragon Mountains of Lesotho, which will delight not only with amazing landscapes, but also with rare species of vegetation and animals. There are also many minerals in the mountains:
- ores of various types;
- precious metals, etc.
In fairness, it should be noted that the mountains stretch across the territory of neighboring countries — South Africa, Swaziland. Let us briefly mention such sights as:
- the village of Taba Bosiu — at one time it was a real stronghold that opposed the British colonialists in the 19th century. Today it is the historical part of Lesotho, perhaps the main tourist center, where official guides work, theatrical performances are held;
- the town of Teyateyaneng is a center of applied arts, industrial enterprises are also located here. The attractiveness of the town for tourists lies in the incredible beauty of tapestries and woolen products made by talented craftsmen;
- Mokotlong — one of the most arid and cold places in the country, attracts fans of hiking, a variety of tracks for cyclists and motorcyclists, high-altitude marathons are also held here;
- Quthing is a city where architectural monuments of the colonial era, churches are concentrated, and the famous cave city of Masitis Cave House is also located. By the way, hundreds of footprints of dinosaurs were found in the mountains near the city, left by them about 180 million years ago.
In a separate section, we decided to put interesting facts about Lesotho, since there are plenty of them. So, as mentioned above, the country is mountainous, and therefore those who are afraid of heights, feel insecure on the slopes, are not recommended to go here. And also, those who experience difficulties in rarefied air should not go to this African state.
Before going to the country, it is not enough to know where Lesotho is located — in order to avoid unpleasant situations, it is recommended to carefully study the main customs of the inhabitants of the state. We note a few of these:
- transferring things, products, anything else (as well as picking them up) to another person should only be done with two hands. Thus, you show both hands, demonstrating your disposition towards a person;
- in no case should you get angry, nervous, swear and show other negative emotions on the streets.
The next interesting fact relates to such a state symbol as the flag of Lesotho. It turns out that in the entire history of the country there have already been four variants of the banner:
- the first is colonial, which operated from 1884 to 1966;
- the second was approved in 1966 after gaining independence and was official until January 1987, when a military coup and a change of power took place;
- the third operated until 2006;
- and the current one was approved in 2006 by the 40th independence.
And also note the Lesotho airport — this is the most extreme, dangerous airfield in the world. The runway is only 400 meters long, but the main danger is that it ends in a cliff! International flights do not fly to this airport, and domestic airlines use it all the time.
How to get to Lesotho?
Only by plane! There are no direct flights from Russia. A flight from Moscow will require at least two transfers — one of them will be at a major airport in Europe or in the Arab Middle East countries (depending on the chosen route), and the second — in Johannesburg (South Africa). The duration of the flight is at least 16-17 hours.