Lesotho is a country in Southern Africa. It is totally surrounded by South Africa and can best be accessed from the north-western side of the country. It is easiest to fly in to South Africa and travel to Lesotho by car or public minibus. Lesotho is a mountain kingdom and it is the only country that is fully located above 1000 meters. This means it can be cold, even in summer. Even though they also have their own currency, Loti (plural: Maloti), the South African Rand is normally used. The price level in Lesotho is comparable to South Africa. It can be a budget destination if you travel by minibus and choose hiking as your main activity.
There currently aren't hostels in Lesotho. There are some budget accommodations in the most popular tourist cities, but standards may be low. Accommodation in smaller towns might be quite pricey for what you get. Sometimes there is no warm water or no water at all. Electricity is also not available everywhere. Not a lot of backpackers travel to Lesotho, because it is difficult to get around if you don’t have your own car. Dorm rooms are therefore scarce and finding a hostel with a social atmosphere might be close to impossible.
The capital of Lesotho is Maseru, with around 450,000 inhabitants. There is not a lot to do or see in Maseru, but it is a good place to start your adventure in Lesotho. You can get a good view of Maseru by taking a minibus up to Lancer’s Gap and walking around on the top.
Lesotho is mainly a destination for outdoor sports. There are also some places where you can see caves, rock paintings, and dinosaur footprints. Another activity is visiting a Basotho village, where you can see how the Basotho people traditionally live.
Hiking is good in many parts of the country, including the Highlands and Drakensberg. Many South African companies organize hiking tours in Lesotho and this might be the easiest way to get information and/or a guide for your trip.
There are several other activities and sites that you may be interested in. Horse riding is another popular activity in Lesotho. The best place for this is Semonkong. There you can also see the 200 meter-high Semonkong falls. Liphofung Caves is a place with rock art. The information centre is new and modern and the guided tours are cheap. They don’t only show you the rock art, but also tell you about Basotho life. Katse Dam is a very big dam of 185 meter high. You can kayak/canoe on the lake. Popular by tourists is Afriski, one of few skiing areas in Africa. It has a lift and 2 slopes, but don’t expect a lot more than that.
When entering the country from the east, the best way to do this is via the Sani Pass. This unpaved road is very steep and has several hairpin turns. Only do this with your own car if you have a sturdy 4-wheel drive and excellent driving skills. If not, it’s better to book a tour from Underberg/Himeville in South Africa. But if you make the trip, on top of the Sani Pass you're rewarded with the highest pub in the world! No matter the time of the day, you just have to take a drink there.
Lesotho has two very popular souvenirs; the Basotho hat and blanket. You can buy these at many places, but the market in Hlotse is big and cheap and therefore best for shopping.
Hi, I'm Paulien,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Lesotho hostels. Welcome.