Lesotho is mostly highland with plateaus, hills, and mountains, completely surrounded by South Africa. More than 80% of the country is 1,800 meters above sea level. The highest point is Thabana Ntlenyana at 3,482 meters. 

The climate of Lesotho is temperate, with cool to cold, dry winters, and hot, wet summers. Natural hazards include periodic droughts. Environmental issues in Lesotho include population pressure, forcing settlement in marginal areas which results in overgrazing, severe soil erosion and soil exhaustion, as well as desertification. The Lesotho Highlands Water Project controls, stores, and redirects water to South Africa.

There are 4 protected areas listed for Lesotho, including 2 national parks, 1 wetland of International Importance (Lets’eng-la-Letsie), and one natural world heritage site. Lesotho has no UNESCO biosphere reserve. The Lesotho Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations is listed as a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

National Parks:


Population is higher in the West of Lesotho, around the capital of Maseru, and the smaller cities of Mafeteng, Teyateyaneng, and Leribe. In 1966, Basutoland gained independence from Britain, and was renamed the Kingdom of Lesotho. As of 2016, Lesotho had the second highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the world, at 25% of the adult population.

In addition to shunting water to South Africa, the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority operates a number of tourism attractions, including Liphofung Historical Site. The sandstone plateau at Thaba Bosiu is listed as Tentative world heritage, with cultural significance for the Bantu people as a natural hideout from the British. The Lesotho Tourism & Development Corporation maintains the official website at visitlesotho.travel.

Natural World Heritage:

Tentative World Heritage:


  • The Adoption of e‐Commerce in the Lesotho Tourism Industry – TJ Mapeshoane, S Pather – 2016
  • Analysing rural tourism motivation factors and ICT adoption with specific reference to Malealea Lodge in Lesotho – NP Tsephe – 2015
  • Exploring the social impacts of tourism: an insight into the Lesotho residents views
    RM Thetsane – 2015
  • Lesotho, a Tourism Destination: An Analysis of Lesotho’s Current Tourism – L Yiu, R Saner, MR Lee – 2015
  • Perceptions of local communities participation in rural tourism development in promotion of sustainable tourism: a case from Lesotho – L Lekaota, J Saarined – 2015
  • Perceptions on local communities’ role and awareness in rural tourism development: a case study from Lesotho – L Lekaota – 2015
  • The importance of rural communities’ participation in the management of tourism management: A case study from Lesotho – L Lekaota – 2015
  • Can small, medium and micro enterprises contribute to tourism development through economic activities in Butha-Buthe, Lesotho?: tourism and leisure – JP Spencer, L Matela – 2014
  • Developing heritage and cultural tourism in Lesotho: The case of Ha Kome Cave Village – TM Shano – 2014
  • Economic contribution of Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) towards the development of tourism in rural areas of Butha-Buthe in Lesotho – L Matela – 2013
  • Informal Sector Business Tourism in the Global South: Evidence from Maseru, Lesotho – CM Rogerson, T Letsie – 2013
  • Adoption of e-commerce in a typical developing country context: Lesotho tourism industry – T Mapeshoane, S Pather – 2012
  • Communities’ understanding of tourists and the tourism industry: The Lesotho Highlands water project – H Manwa – 2012
  • Space, ownership and inequality: economic development and tourism in the highlands of Lesotho – YA Braun, LA McLees – 2012
  • Using Sustainable Tourism Indicators to Measure the Sustainability of a Community-Based Ecotourism Venture: Malealea Lodge Pony Trek Centre, Lesotho – KF Mearns – 2011
  • Community participation and decision making in ecotourism: the case of Liphofung Cave Cultural and Historical Site (Lesotho) – KG Letsoela – 2010
  • A framework to inform the formulation of tourism-led business plans for protected areas in Lesotho – S Cohen – 2008
  • Community-based ecotourism for conservation and development in Lesotho: a case of Ha-Kome – TM Maanela – 2008

Lesotho Data