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Destination Lesotho, a virtual travel guide to Lesotho. This page aims to give you a broad overview of Lesotho's art, culture, people, environment, geography, history, economy and government.
Beside a country profile with facts and figures, the page contains links to sources which provide you with all the information you need to know about this South African nation, e.g.: official web sites of Lesotho, addresses of Basotho and foreign embassies, country guides with travel and tourism information on accommodation, tourist attractions, events and more like weather information, maps, statistics and local newspapers from Lesotho.

Kingdom of Lesotho

Country Profile

Lesotho Flag
Flag of Lesotho
where in Africa is Lesotho

Official Name:
Kingdom of Lesotho
short form: Lesotho
former: Basutoland

ISO Country Code: ls

Actual Time: Mon-May-20  14:14
Local Time = UTC +2h

Country Calling Code: +266

Capital City: Maseru (1997 pop. est. 386 000)

Other Cities:
Teyateyaneng (pop. est. 240 754), Leribe (300 160), Mafeteng (211 970), Mohale's Hoek (184 034).

Type: Modified constitutional monarchy.
Independence: 4 October 1966. (from 1868 until independence Lesotho was placed under British protection.)

Location: South Africa
Area: 30,355 sq. km. (11 718 sq. mi.).
Terrain: High veld, plateau and mountains.

Climate: Temperate; summers hot, winters cool to cold; humidity generally low and evenings cool year round. Rainy season in summer, winters dry. Southern hemisphere seasons are reversed.

Nationality: Noun--Mosotho (sing.); Basotho (pl.) Adjective--Basotho.
Population: 2.2 million (2010, UN estimate)
Ethnic groups: Basotho 99.7%; Europeans 1,600; Asians 3,000.
Religions: 80% Christian, including Roman Catholic (majority), Lesotho Evangelical, Anglican, other denominations.
Languages: Official--Sesotho and English. Others--Zulu, Xhosa.
Literacy: (1998) 70%.

Natural resources: Water, agricultural and grazing land, some diamonds and other minerals. Lesotho is an exporter of excess labor.

Agriculture products: Corn, wheat, pulses, sorghum, barley; livestock.

Industries: Food, beverages, textiles, apparel assembly, handicrafts; construction; tourism.

Exports partners: USA 97.6%, Canada 1.5%, France 0.5% (2003)

Imports partners: Hong Kong 36.6%, Taiwan 36.2%, China 12%, Germany 9.9% (2003)

Currency: In 1980, Lesotho introduced its own currency: Loti (plural Maloti). It is equivalent to the South African Rand.

Lesotho is a democratic, sovereign and independent country with the unique characteristic of being totally surrounded by its neighbour, the Republic of South Africa.

The country formerly known as Basutoland was renamed to the Kingdom of Lesotho upon independence from the UK in 1966. In 1993 after 23 years of military rule, a new constitution was implemented leaving the King without any executive authority and proscribing him from engaging in political affairs.

In 1998, violent protests and a military mutiny following a contentious election prompted a brief but bloody South African military intervention. Constitutional reforms have since restored political stability; peaceful parliamentary elections were held in 2002. However Lesotho is one of three remaining monarchies in Africa.
(Source: CIA - The World Factbook)

border countries: South Africa

related countries: United Kingdom

Note: External links will open in a new browser window.

Official Sites of Lesotho

Lesotho Government
The Official Lesotho Government Website.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations
Official website of the ministry.

Diplomatic Missions
Permanent Mission of Lesotho to the United Nations in Geneva
Permanent Mission of Lesotho to the United Nations, New York
Lesotho's representations to the UN.
The Embassy of The Kingdom of Lesotho in Washington
Lesotho's Embassy in the USA.
Lesotho High Commission in London
Lesotho's first diplomatic mission abroad.
Embassies of Lesotho
Address list of Embassies of Lesotho abroad.
Foreign missions and International Organisations in Lesotho
Address list of Diplomatic Missions and International Organisations

Lesotho Meteorological Services
Weather in Lesotho.

Map of Lesotho
Political map of Lesotho.
Google Earth Google Earth Lesotho
Searchable map and satellite view of Lesotho.
Google Earth Google Earth Maseru
Searchable map and satellite view of Lesotho's capital city.

Political Map of Africa
The 54 countries of Africa.
Map of Africa
A Relief Map of Africa.


LENA-Lesotho News Agency
Official Lesotho News.

Public Eye
News from Lesotho.

Mail & Guardian
Leading newspaper from South Africa, covers all Africa with current information.
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Arts & Culture

Leribe Craft Center
One of the oldest weaving establishments in Lesotho.

Morija Arts & Cultural Festival
Celebrating the diverse cultural heritage of Lesotho.

Business & Economy

Central Bank of Lesotho
Official site of Lesotho's Central Bank.

Lesotho National Development Corporation
Implementing the country's industrial development policies.

Lesotho Highlands Development Authority
Responible for Lesotho's part of Lesotho Highlands Water Project.

Lesotho Highlands Water Project
The LHWP captures, stores and releases water into the Vaal River system supplying the industrial heartland of the Republic of South Africa (RSA) in the Gauteng Province.

Destination Lesotho - Travel and Tour Guides

Visit Lesotho
Tourism, travel accommodation and investment information.

Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation
Travel and tourism information.

Malealea Lodge
Accommodation and Pony Trekking in Malealea.

Travel and Tour Consumer Information


Institute of Southern African Studies
The Institute of Southern African Studies is located at the University of Lesotho.

National University of Lesotho
Official website, provides information about the National University and its faculties.

Environment - Environmental organizations Lesotho

Department of Environment - Lesotho
Official website of the Department of Environment formely known as the National Environment Secretariat (NES). It was established in April 1994 and is currently under the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture. The Department of Environment is a lead agency for environmental management and promotes socio-economic and environmental sustainable development.

Lesotho Council of NGO's
Established with the objective of providing supportive services to the Lesotho's NGO Community, the site also lists NGOs working in Lesotho.


History of the Basotho
The emergence of Basotho as a nation.



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Other Countries of Southern Africa:
Botswana | Lesotho | Namibia | South Africa | Swaziland

Maps of other Countries of Southern Africa:
Botswana Map | Namibia Map | South Africa Map | Swaziland Map

Searchable Maps of other Countries of Southern Africa:
Botswana Interactive Map | Lesotho Interactive Map | Namibia Interactive Map | South Africa Interactive Map | Swaziland Interactive Map

Major Cities in Southern Africa:
Bloemfontein | Cape Town | Durban | Gaborone | Johannesburg | Maseru | Mbabane | Nelspruit | Polokwane
Port Elizabeth | Pretoria | Rustenburg | Windhoek