Lesotho – the Mountain Kingdom completely surrounded by South Africa. The highest country on this planet (as its lowest point is the highest lowest point of any country).
Unfortunately, also one of the poorest countries. There are not many tarred streets in Lesotho, the housing situations are pretty basic and the HIV infection rate is the 3rd highest in this world.
OK, when hearing this, why should you want to visit? Because Lesotho is a beautiful country with friendly, smiling people. Often those who possess the least have the most to give: smiles and joy.
The Lesotho Day Trip I took was an organized day tour from the Backpackers I stayed at, Amphitheatre Backpackers in the Northern Drakensberge. It was the only Backpackers in that area and there were very few other accommodation options around. Thus, the region we visited in Lesotho was pretty remote and far off the tourist trail.
Whenever you go on an organized trip to visit a local village in a poor country, I think there’s always a bit of a risk that you end up in a fake village built for Tourists. The village we visited, however, I’m pretty sure was not fake. We were the only visitor there, and since it was a 2 hour drive, I don’t think that many other tour groups use this way into Lesotho (The Sani Pass in the Southern Drakensberge is more accessible).
The weather was not perfect, still it was a nice trip. The countryside of Lesotho is really beautiful and our local guide told us many interesting stories.
Transport, Activities and Food
The following was included in the trip:
Transport to, around and out of Lesotho by minibus (from the Backpackers Lodge)
Visit of a local school
Walk through the village + a small hike
Visit of a local brewery with tasting of the beer
Visit of a traditional healer
Tasting of traditional food
What I found a bit tiring was the tight schedule for the trip. The visit of the local school also left me wondering, if we were doing more harm than good. The kids were so excited to pose for our cameras and to play with them, they didn’t really follow their schedule in class.
What I liked about this trip was the beautiful landscape, the nature, going on some walks and small hikes and the nice and friendly people. Also, learning about the Besotho people from our local guide and hearing stories from the Lesotho past was very interesting. One of my personal highlights of this trip was using a Lesotho style toilet Going beyond myself
Bring your own drinks and food. There are no stores to buy anything, except for the small souvenir shop in the local school.
The trip will take from 7/8am in the morning until approx. 6pm in the evening. It takes about 2 hours to get to Lesotho from Amphitheatre Backpackers, transport is in a minibus. There will be a stop on the way at a gas station, where you can get some drinks/food, use the loo or get some cash (which is not possible at Amphitheatres as it’s in the middle of nowhere).
Girls: If you have a sports bra, wear it! The roads are more than bumpy.
The price for the day trip was 560 Rand (39€/$54). If you combine it with another day trip from Amphitheatre Backpackers, the price will be reduced to 535 Rand.
As a German national, you don’t require a visa. However, the route we took into Lesotho, there even was no border post on the side of Lesotho. I only got the exit and re-enter stamp from the South African border post in my passport.
There is a Lesotho border post when you cross at the Sani Pass.
There are only whole-in-the-ground type of toilets, outside the houses, in small wooden cabins. No toilet paper or washing basins, so you might want to bring wet wipes or hold on until you’re back at the Border post