"Lesotho is little-visited and little known outside of Southern Africa. Completely circled by South Africa this small kingdom is known as the Kingdom of the Sky. Situated on a plateaux between the Drakensberg and Maluti mountain ranges, its whole area is over 3,500 ft (1,000 metres) in altitude, with mountains rising to over 10,000 ft (3,000 m). Popular for trekking and biking, it is the place to go for pony-trekking and riding holidays."
Lesotho Holiday Highlights
Lesotho is most famous for its ponies, small, tough Basotho ponies that the local tribes use for transport through the rugged terrain. These are a sure-footed cross between European horses and Javanese ponies.There are several lodges that keep stables of well trained ponies that can be used for riding holidays. These vary from day rides to and from the lodges through to full camping trips that can take up to a week. The countries terrain of wide sweeping valleys and small mountain passes offers a good range of terrains to be looked at and ridden over. It also allows you get well away from roads and visit some little visited areas and villages.
The Drakensberg Mountains are a popular range with South Africans for walking and hiking. The terrain varies from thick forest to high-altitude scrub, with plenty of rivers and streams. (Lesotho exports its water from the mountains to South Africa, as well as the electricity it used it to produce. Like the pony-trekking, you can choice day walks in such wonderful named places as the Valley of Heaven or the Valley of Paradise, or full camping trips. It is also possible to arrange trips whereby you walk village to village, staying in the rondaval huts. Most trips visit the Maletsunyane Falls near to Semonkong, which at over 620 feet (190 metres) are the tallest waterfalls in Southern Africa. The name means Place of Smoke and a visit during the wet season when they are at their greatest soon explains why.
Lesotho is an excellent destination for biking. Its network of tracks, only passable by 4x4 covers much of the country as there is little tarmaced road. The terrain is also great, with wide valleys and passes making for a varied and exciting riding. In the east of the country, to the north of Sehlabathebe, is the Sanu Pass which is an excellent area and takes you into the Drakenberg Mountain area.
With its many mountain rivers and streams, Lesotho offers some excellent fishing. The most common fish caught are trout, barbell and yellowfish. Recommended places are Butha-Buthe, at the confluence of the Tlholohatsi and Tsehlanyane Rivers and Qachas Nek. Your local operator will be able to advise depending on the season and the local conditions.
Dinosaurs & fossils
Lesotho has fossils and fossilized footprints dating back over 200 million years. Sites, such as Morija, Masitise and Moyemi, can be visited and the remains seen in situ. Additionally, the Morija Museum has an excellent collection of finds from all over the country.
When To Go
The best time to visit Lesotho is during the months of October to May. This coincides with their spring and summer. Spring is especially beautiful with an amazing array of wild flowers and plants in the mountains. The winter months tend to be very wet and cold, due to the high altitude.
- If pony-trekking go with an established lodge or operator. If is important to know that your pony is well trained and responsive to a new rider.
- Always tell someone where you are going, in case you should fall and be injured.
- Get a blanket as a souvenir, it is the item of clothing you will see everybody has, especially in the cold of early morning.
- Pony trekking in the Maluti mountains
- Hiking to Maletsunyane Falls