THE KINGDOM IN THE SKY
Lesotho, known as “The Kingdom in the Sky” for its natural beauty, is centrally located in the heart of Southern Africa and has good access to the growing and industrial areas in the region
By Her Excellency Ms. Lineo Irene Molise-Mabusela, High Commissioner of the Kingdom of Lesotho to the Republic of India
Lesotho is one of the three remaining Kingdoms in Africa and is also one of the world’s tiny countries with a land area of 30,355 sq km. It is located at a very high altitude ranging from 1400m to 3500m above the sea level with a pleasant temperate climate all the year round. It is an enclave of the Republic of South Africa and both countries are interlinked with good roads, railways and airways. Lesotho is a very homogeneous country with a total population of about 2 million. For administration purposes the country is divided into 10 districts with Maseru as a capital city. Lesotho is the only country in Africa with the regular winter snowfall. The snowcapped Maloti and Drakensberg Mountain ranges gives the country an outstanding scenic beauty during the winter season. As the visitors traverse the towering mountains they will be left with little doubt as to why the country is called the ‘Kingdom in the Sky” or the “Switzerland of Africa.” The Lesotho adventure is a unique kaleidoscopic experience of engaging mountains, friendly people and a cultural heritage that bespeaks of courage and wisdom. Sparkling waters run deep in gorges bejeweled by vibrant waterfalls and soaring mountains are crowned with clear blue skies. Under thick snow or scorching sun, Lesotho is a beautiful and challenging environment. Whether it is Heights or depths, distances or temperatures – they are all in the extreme in Lesotho to challenge the free spirited adventurer with an urge to go where not many have ventured. The rugged mountain terrain is criss-crossed by rivers and provides ample opportunities for canoeing; spectacular ski runs; horse riding; pony trekking; mountain climbing; fly fishing, hiking and; offroad racing. It is not surprising that this is the home of the annual world- mountains are crowned with clear blue skies. Under thick snow or scorching sun, Lesotho is a beautiful and challenging environment. Whether it is Heights or depths, distances or temperatures – they are all in the extreme in Lesotho to challenge the free spirited adventurer with an urge to go where not many have ventured. The rugged mountain terrain is criss-crossed by rivers and provides ample opportunities for canoeing; spectacular ski runs; horse riding; pony trekking; mountain climbing; fly fishing, hiking and; offroad racing. It is not surprising that this is the home of the annual world- to the wonderful sandstone formations of the region, where nature has formed cliff overhangs which provided the ideal shelter for early man. It was on the walls that San have left us the valuable legacy of their paintings. Hospitality Just as much of the beauty of Lesotho is secret and understated, so is the hospitality. Apart from two large internationalstandard hotels in Maseru, there are plenty of accommodation possibilities. Some idyllic retreats are found in exceptionally remote spots, where the quality of welcome and comfort is first class. Country lodges are tastefully built with local materials such as sandstone or basalt adorned with thatch roofing to fit in with the environment. The Basotho people are warm and hospitable. As a rule and when approached courteously Basotho are happy to share glimpses of their traditional life with the visitor which often is to first approach a village headman or chief before engaging villagers. The pristine condition in which most Basotho keep the insides of their huts is legend. And the inside of these traditional homes are adorned with fascinating decorations of intricate patterns. Many household implements or domestic necessities are the product of fine craftsmanship whish has been acquired through the generations.
LESOTHO’S MUST TO DO ATTRACTIONS
Afriski Mountain Resort:
Africa’s highest Ski resort (3222m asl) attracts around 10,000 visitors during winter months every year. After all day skiing and snowboarding activities sample a palatable Lesotho cuisine at the Sky Restaurant and enjoy the taste of Maloti beer at highest Pub in Africa located at Sani Pass.
Enjoy a cruise with high speed boats and take a tour at the highest man made dam in Africa with the dam wall of about 185m high, 710m across and stretches 60km upstream. The Katse Alpine Botanical Gardens which displays the country’s most diverse mountain flora and plant heritage in a natural setting is a must see attraction.
196m single drop – the highest in the region offers rock climbing activities and exciting abseiling at 204m abseil at Maletsunyane Falls which holds the Guinness World Record of being the longest commercially operated single drop abseil.
Basotho pony – sure-footed and gentle horse bred in Lesotho deliver passengers to areas of scenic beauty such as Thaba Putsoa Mountains and stunning Ketane waterfalls. Hiking is also a very popular for those enthusiast and Backpackrs who loves to explore the mountain tracks.
Thaba Bosiu Cultural Village & Heritage Site:
A national heritage site and birth of the Basotho nation complements one of Lesotho’s famous historic place Thaba-Bosiu. A self contained cultural village serve as a one-stop cultural experience centre for those who wish to know more about Basotho traditional lifestyle.
Nature Parks & Reserves:
Sehlabathebe National Park now forms part of the Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Park and is a future World Heritage Site. Tsehlanyane National Park hosts an indigenous forest and is linked to Bokong Nature Reserve by hiking trails. Spellbinding views are the norm for all parks.
The highest mountain in Southern Africa is famous for mountain biking and hiking.
Lesotho Sky Mountain Bike Stage Race:
This international event in staged in September every year brings together top athletes from all over the globe to explores some of the spectacular trails as they climb the rugged mountainous terrain in Lesotho. The Government of Lesotho is committed to tourism development through facilitation of private sector investment by local and foreign companies. To maximize investment in tourism, the Government of Lesotho has created institutional structures to minimize bureaucratic hurdles and improve business environment in general. At the moment Lesotho is also facing many pressing challenges such as poverty, unemployment, climate change, diseases that put a lot of strain on the socio-economic development of Lesotho. However, Lesotho has confidence on the Government of India for cooperation and contribution of the Indian investors in order to improve the livelihood of our people and collectively contribute to the development of our respective countries, in the following areas of development:
The diamond mining industry has experienced strong growth over the last decade and contributes significantly towards the country’s income and all Lesotho’s Mining companies are planning substantial expansion of their operations.
Lesotho highly needs to invest in water projects in construction of dams for supply portable water, water treatment plant and recycling facilities, and waste water treatment plants.
The Government aims to improve the manufacturing sector by aggressively promoting investment climate in establishment of a knitted fabric mill, accessories and packaging materials, leather and footwear products, assembly of consumer electrical and electronic appliances.
In the past, Lesotho’s economy was largely founded on Agriculture which is no longer performing up to the desired standard. The Government of Lesotho’s aim is to highly improve this sector by shifting focus from subsistence farming to commercial agriculture by increasing productivity in grains yields, livestock, food processing and water bottling.
Lesotho has an outstanding beauty and a unique cultural identity, factors which could drive growth in tourism. However, the potential has not yet been fully exploited.
Investment is needed in solar, wind and hydropower energy to meet the current gap in energy supply and as well as to export to the neighboring countries.
Infrastructure development –
Opportunities exist in developing commercial and industrial properties as well as roads, schools, airports and sports facility centers.
ICT Development –
Lesotho requests assistance in the development of high speed broadband and basic ICT services in the country and to widen ICT literacy. I would like to invite you to come to Invest, Live and Prosper in the Kingdom of Lesotho. Khotso! Pula ! Nala! PEACE! RAIN! PROSPERITY!