Looking to boost your knowledge of the big wide world? Why not start with these culturally inspiring facts about Lesotho!
1. Lesotho wasn’t its original name!
Originally named Basutoland, this country was renamed the Kingdom of Lesotho upon independence from the UK in 1966.
2. Landlocked and lovely!
A small and beautiful mountainous country, Lesotho is an enclaved landlocked country completely surrounded by South Africa.
3. But… how do you even say it?
Just so you know, Lesotho is pronounced le-soo-too.
4. Lesotho may be larger than you think.
It has an approximate area of 11,583 square miles (30,000 square kilometers).
5. Here’s the co-ordinates you’ll need to fly here.
The coordinates for Lesotho are 29.4667° S, 27.9333°
6. Millions of people call Lesotho home.
Lesotho’s population was 2.142 million in 2020.
7. Much of the population lives rurally.
Approximately three-fourths of its population live in rural areas and engage in animal herding and subsistence agriculture.
8. What’s the capital of Lesotho?
Maseru is the capital and covers an area of 53.3 square miles (138 square kilometers) and had a population of 330,760 in 2016.
9. It’s a breath-taking territory!
Lesotho has a terrain that consists of highlands with plateaux, hills and mountains. Approximately more than 80% of the country is 1,800 meters above sea level.
10. Hot and cold – you pick!
The temperature here in the Summer is hot (perfect) and the winters can be cold, with snow in the mountains. Usually, you can expect the most rainfall between October and April.
11. Rivers run across the country.
This country is home to three rivers; the Orange River, the Tugela River and the Caledon River – they all have their source in the Lesotho mountains.
12. What do citizens of Lesotho call themselves?
Did you know that the inhabitants of Lesotho are called the Basotho? The singular term is Mosotho, not, as you may have thought, a Lesothos!
13. Sadly, lifespans run short on average here.
The average life expectancy here is 54.33 years (2019).
14. What can people spend in Lesotho?
The currency of this South African country is the Lesotho Loti.
15. A familiar language is spoken in Lesotho…
The official languages here are Southern Sotho (a Bantu language, also known as Sesotho) and English, so you shouldn’t need to worry about learning a new language!
16. Lesotho is a crafty country!
Those of you who have a love of all things crafty will be interested to know that rugs (wool and mohair), tapestries, pottery, beadwork and basketry feature a lot in Lesotho’s culture, as do the creation of traditional conical straw hats and beautifully decorated Basotho blankets (known as kobo) which are worn by the locals.
You can plan your trip around the the Morija Arts and Cultural Festival (held in October as a celebration of Lesotho’s diverse culture) if you want to experience all that is crafty that this country has to offer!
17. Get exploring!
Lesotho is a great place to go if you love an adventure; it boasts 1000m high ‘lowlands’ where you can participate in a spot of craft shopping and sightseeing or if you prefer, you can explore and walk around the beautiful and historic highlands to the southern, central and northeastern parts of the country where you’ll see beautiful streams passing through an ‘ancient dinosaur playground’ – we love the sound of that!
18. There are some gorgeous sights out here.
If you’re interested in nature and conservation you must visit Sehlabathebe, Lesotho’s National Park, and Bokong Nature Reserve, Tsehlanyane Nature Reserve and Liphofung Cave Heritage Site.
19. Lesotho thrives on textiles and more.
Lesotho is dependent upon a small economy which consists of textile manufacturing, agriculture, remittances and regional customs revenue.
20. But it’s the H2O that matters!
Its most important natural resource is water! Known as ‘white gold’, water generates important revenue for the economy.
In 2004 the Lesotho Highlands Water Project opened to supply water to South Africa.
Apples, apricots, peaches, pears and quinces grow here due to the climate – think of all the jam you could make!
21. Its industries are really varied, however!
Industries include construction, clothing, textiles, handicrafts, food processing and beverages (beer is brewed locally in Lesotho).
22. Here’s who you’ll need to call.
Want to call your friends in Lesotho? You’ll need to use the international dialling code +266.
FAQs about Lesotho
Is Lesotho part of South Africa?
Not in terms of territory - but it is completely surrounded by South Africa, oddly enough!
Is Lesotho the only enclave on the planet?
No - there are two others - Vatican City and San Marino - both of which are surrounded by Italy.
What is Lesotho most famous for?
Lesotho is arguably most famous for its incredible national parks and scenery - and even for its beer!
Do you know any fun facts about Lesotho? Share them in the comments below!