Encircled by South Africa, Lesotho feels like it's been lifted up for the world to see. Once you have reached 10,000 ft you will appreciate all the nicknames and behold the beauty of endless mountain ranges and deep river valleys. The Basotho are a proud people with a complex and interesting history that dates back to when the San lived here.
The lowlands will give you a perspective on culture and crafts. Most of Lesotho's farming is done here, so if you are up for a day out in the lush valleys then hop on a bike or pony and explore. In the Northwest and Central Lesotho you will find the towering peaks that can be explored on foot or by the Basotho Ponies.
Sehlabathebe National Park can be found in the remote Eastern Lesotho. The sense of space surrounding you and the distance from other people makes this a unique experience.
A brief history:
Lesotho was settled by the Sotho people in the 16th century. Their most prominent chief
King Moshoeshoe broke off from the main group and settled in
Thaba-Bosiu. There he established a ruling system and by the time he died the population was around 150,000.
The British ruled Lesotho during the conflicts between the Orange Free State and Basutholand. Lesotho remained independent from SA because at the moment when the Union of South Africa was formed, Basutholand was a British Protectorate. The BCP won the 1960 elections and demanded full independence from Britain. This was agreed to and independence came in 1966. At the elections in 1965 the BCP lost to the BNP and Chief Jonathan became the first prime minister of Lesotho.
If your interests lie in history, arts, crafts and festivals then head to Morija. The national arts and crafts festival is held in October and normally lasts around 5 days. The festival is well attended and you will also find
the Royal Family and the Government of Lesotho representatives there. The museum is the main driving force behind the festival and is a good place to visit all year round.
Lesotho is a fantastic travel and backpackers destination with wonderful hostels, lodges and B&B's. Trekking through the mountains on the back of a Basotho pony is one of the perfect ways to explore. It is fairly easy to get to on local taxis or with your own 4x4. For more info on places to stay check out the Google Maps below.