Looking for a different Africa travel experience? There are plenty of unique things to do in Lesotho. 

Lesotho is one of the few countries I’ve arrived in with zero expectations.

It’s not that I wasn’t excited to visit another Southern African country.

Far from it, I’d already fallen in love with Eswatini, South Africa and Namibia, so there’s no reason why I wouldn’t.

When I came to visit Lesotho, it was simply that I’d never heard anything about it. 

I had no idea how beautiful Lesotho is. I had no idea how heartfelt my interactions with the Basotho people would be. And I had no idea just how many unique things there are to see and do in Lesotho. 

Spoiler: there’s a lot. 

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Lesotho is a pretty tiny country, completely surrounded by neighbouring South Africa.

It’s probably one of the least known countries in the region, and it’s also one of the most underrated. In fact, it may just be the most underrated. 

There are many reasons to visit Lesotho – here are nine of the most unique ones. 

#1 Live above 1,400 metres

There are many unique reasons to visit Lesotho, and one of them is its elevation.

Lesotho is the only independent state in the whole world that lies entirely above 1,000 metres.

Lesotho’s lowest point sits a few hundred metres higher than that, at 1,400 metres.

That makes it the highest lowest point of any country. and means you’ll spend your entire trip to Lesotho at altitude.


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#2 Spend a night in an African ski lodge. 

When you’re planning skiing holiday, Africa probably isn’t the first continent that springs to mind. Apart from Antarctica, it may well be the last. 

Now that you know about Lesotho’s record-breaking geography, though, you might not be  so surprised that it’s home to some of Africa’s only ski hills.

Skiing isn’t what you’d expect when you think of this part of the world, but Lesotho’s slopes are famous among professional skiers, snow-boarders, and those in the know.

You don’t need to visit Lesotho during the winter to get the African ski resort experience, though.

We stayed in Afriski, a mountain resort tucked away in Lesotho’s northern highlands during the summer and it it was still a fun way to escape (there’s no WiFi!) and experience a totally different side of southern Africa.

#3 Eat at the highest restaurant in Africa. 

Yes, a lot of the unique things about Lesotho are a result of its geography. And the Sky Restaurant at Afriski is yet another great example. 

Given that Sky Restaurant sits at 3,010 metres above sea level, its name couldn’t more apt.

And that elevation also makes it the highest restaurant in all of Africa.

Burger at Sky Restaurant at Afriski, the highest restaurant in Africa
Dinner at 3,010 metres.

#4 Drink at the highest bar in Africa.  

If you’re a fan of hyperbole, Afriski isn’t the only place in Lesotho that should be on your bucket list.

The Sani Mountain Lodge is home to the highest pub in Africa and another popular place to stay (well, as “popular” as something gets in Lesotho!).

Click here to check availability and prices.

Sani Mountain Lodge is situated right on the South African border, hidden in the clouds at the top of the Sani Pass. Speaking of which… 

#5 Drive the Sani Pass. 

The San Pass is the second scariest road I’ve ever driven down. (If you’re wondering, first place goes to Ushguli in Georgia!

It’s windy, it’s steep and you can see allllll the way down. 

Well, unless it’s as foggy as it was the day we drove it. In that case you can barely see a metre ahead – and that’s even scarier! 

If you want to attempt the Sani Pass, make sure you hire a 4×4 vehicle that can handle it. Only 4×4 vehicles are allowed on the road, and you’ll need permission from your car rental company to cross the border into Lesotho.

The road is currently undergoing construction to improve, but I’d say get in there quickly and enjoy the rugged ride if you can!

Travel tip:

If you don’t want to tackle the Sani Pass’s unforgiving gravel roads yourself – I don’t blame you! – you can book a guided tour.

This one day tour will take you up the Sani Pass and back down again, so you can enjoy the views from both directions. You’ll also get to stop for lunch at the highest pub in Africa, ticking another thing off your Lesotho bucket list!

pictures of lesotho landscape

#6 Photograph the epic landscapes. 

The thing that surprised me most about Lesotho was just how beautiful it is. I remember stopping at a pull out halfway up a steep hill and just taking in my surroundings. 

“This could be Scotland,” I thought. “No – this could be Austria.” 

I started comparing Lesotho to all the incredible mountain regions I’ve visited before. But the truth is, it’s not really possible or fair to compare them. Lesotho is completely unique. 

Instead, I just wondered how I’d never heard about this small mountainous nation before. 

These landscapes mean you don’t have to be a travel photographer to take home stunning pictures of Lesotho. And, if you are a photographer, you’ll love Lesotho.

#7 Mingle with the locals. 

Lesotho isn’t overrun with tourism. Far from it, there’s a good chance you won’t bump into another tourist while out and about. And that means it’s a great place to immerse yourself in local life.

The locals aren’t just incredibly welcome, but they also love to stop and chat with the people who visit Lesotho. 

There’s an obvious language barrier, but it really doesn’t matter at all.

You’ll have a fun time trying to understand each other and you’ll remember the faces you meet long after you leave Lesotho.

Pictures of Lesotho boy

#8 Switch off. 

Cell coverage in Lesotho isn’t great. Neither is the WiFi, even when accommodation offers it. 

When planning a trip to Lesotho, it’s best to treat it as a digital detox.

Which really isn’t a bad thing… not only will Lesotho make you want to switch off an enjoy nature, but you’ll be too distracted by its beauty to even think about technology. 

#9 Attend a festival. 

Who would have thought that a remote, enclaved country would be home to a popular music festival? But it is!

Every August, Lesotho hosts the Afriski Winterfest, a unique music festival that celebrates the closing of the winter ski and snowboard season. 

Music acts from all over Lesotho and Southern Africa come to play at Winterfest, and there have even been a number of international headliners in the past.

How to visit Lesotho

Lesotho is a country that’s fairly easy to travel independently. The roads are easy to drive and people are super helpful. There really aren’t many ways to go wrong. 

Lesotho does have an airport, but it’s easier to fly into South Africa and drive.

Durban is the best starting point if you want to tackle the Sani Pass on your way into Lesotho. Otherwise, Johannesburg or Bloemfontein make better starting points.

Wherever you rent your car from, make sure you get permission to cross the border into Lesotho. 

Lesotho tours

If you want to visit Lesotho in the easiest way possible, consider booking a tour from South Africa. 

Intrepid’s 14-day Garden Route Adventure tour covers many of my favourite parts of South Africa as well as Lesotho. You’ll get to see Cape Town – my favourite city in the world! – and go whale watching in Hermanus before moving on to Lesotho. Click here to check dates and prices.

If you want to spend more time in Lesotho, this 5 day tour covers many of Lesotho’s highlights. It’s an intimate tour that will show you more of Lesotho than most visitors ever get to see. Click here to check dates and prices.

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