Things to do in Lesotho
The tiny country of Lesotho offers visitors so much. From superb mountain scenery, a proud traditional people, endless hiking trails and the chance to explore remote areas on Basotho ponies you’ll go home rewarded. Because of the country’s high altitude, Lesotho experiences significant extremes in weather.
So visitors can expect a completely different experience in Lesotho in summer to what you find in winter. There are plenty of things to see and do in Lesotho and many are seasonal so it comes down to what you really want to experience in the Kingdom in the sky.
For us, getting to Lesotho is all part of the epic journey, especially if you opt for a road trip rather than fly. There are some fourteen points of entry between Lesotho and South Africa but the most exhilarating is the Sani Pass. It’s truly one of the most spectacular and scenic mountain passes in Africa. You reach 2,876 metres and on a clear day, can see for miles across the Umkhomazana River in the north and looming cliffs to the south.
Once you enter Lesotho, you’ll soon bear witness to a magical Kingdom in the sky.
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Maseru is the capital of Lesotho and its largest city. At 1,673 metres it’s also one of the world’s highest capitals. With modern accommodation and decent dining options, Maseru is a great base from which to start your Lesotho adventure.
It’s not a big city, so a day is ample for exploring. Visit the Lesotho National Museum and then head to Parliament Hill for sunset.
Lesotho is home to the tallest single-drop waterfall in Southern Africa, the Maletsunyane Falls. It’s located in Semonkong (meaning “site of smoke”), which refers to the billow of spray that’s visible from an impressive distance.
This beautiful waterfall is on the Maletsunyane River and falls from a ledge of ancient basalt dating back to the Triassic-Jurassic times.
It’s worth a visit whether you crave the beauty of the Falls or wish to leap off the highest (200+ metres) single-drop abseil platform in the world.
Snow skiing, Maloti Mountains
Yes, you read that right, Lesotho’s highest-altitude area sees freezing winter temperatures and snow, so you can ski!
Around three hours’ drive from Maseru, the capital of Lesotho, is one of only two resorts in Africa that offer skiing.
High in the Maloti Mountains, you can ski the longest run in Africa, some two kilometres in length. For something really fun, try to time your trip with the country’s Winter Festival, which is held in August every year.
You can expect the mountains to be covered in snow from late June through to early September.
The Ha Kome Caves are actually inhabited mud dwellings that are carved underneath towering rock formations and hidden within the pink and orange cliffs.
Years ago, Basotho people fled to hide from cannibals and to this day, descendants of the original people who built the caves still live here.
Lesotho is home to the Katse and Mohale Dams, both impressive to see and home to canoeing. High in the Maloti Mountains, Katse is the second-largest dam in Africa (and the highest), which was constructed as part of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. Situated on the Malibamatso River, it’s an incredibly efficient storage dam due to the fact that it’s very deep but has a relatively small surface area, which reduces evaporation.
Mohale is the second dam built as part of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (there will ultimately be five). Built across the Senqunyane River, it measures 145 metres in height and 700 metres in length. An entire mountain was crushed to build this dam, which cost US$1.5 billion. Lesotho’s dams are the perfect place for a tour. You can take a canoe or pony ride, have a picnic and enjoy the majesty of these modern feats of engineering. Regardless of how you enjoy these sites, the drive there will have you marvelling at Lesotho’s beauty.
4×4 and mountain biking
Lesotho is riddled with mountains; the highlands born from South Africa’s Drakensberg and Maloti ranges. The result is impressive mountain roads to explore in 4×4 vehicles.
There are at least nine mountain passes offering sensational scenery and great off-road terrain for mountain bikers too. If you’re a fan of off-road racing, don’t miss the annual “Roof of Africa” race, which has been run every year (except for 1998) since 1967. Initially an event for cars and motorcycles, for many years it has been a motorcycle-only event, however since 2019 the cars are back as well.
About 23km outside Lesotho’s capital of Maseru is Thaba Bosiu, a 120-metre-high flat-topped sandstone plateau.
It forms a natural fortress that’s regarded as the birthplace of the Basotho nation and is Lesotho’s most important historical site. Meaning “Mountain at Night”, Thaba Bosiu was believed to possess supernatural powers which made it grow into a tall mountain during the night, leaving enemies who tried to scale it stranded and vulnerable on its cliffs.
Thaba Bosiu has a cultural village that provides a brilliant historical account of Lesotho and is a great spot to visit after climbing the mountain. There’s also an on-site restaurant, museum and amphitheatre.