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Lesotho Travel Guide
Its full name is the Kingdom of Lesotho and is made up of 30,355 square kilometres. There are quite a few people who dwell in the country, around 2.1 million to be exact, who are mainly Basothoís and Europeans, with the language spoken being Sotho, English and Southern.
This country gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1966, with its name changing from Basutoland to the Kingdom of Lesotho. By 1990, King Moshoeshoe was expatriated and a legal government was reinstated by 1993, a relief after over 20 years of military regime. After a controversial election in 1998, violent protests and a military mutiny began, causing an explosion of fighting from South African military interference. Legal changes have since brought political solidity and in 2002, non-violent parliamentary elections were held in Lesotho.
Visitors coming to the area in search of attractions should firstly head to the lowlands, where all the major towns are situated. The main town is Maseru, Lesothoís capital, whose current population is around 200,000 people. On one side of this third-world city is fancy contemporary glass buildings and on the other, small, misplaced colonies. There is only one paved road in Maseru, the Kingsway, which was cemented for the 1947 visit by British royals, since then no other roads have been touched. Outside of Maseru are many areas of interest including Matekaís caves, Teya-Teyaneng, with its beautiful woven crafts, and Thaba Bosiuís mountain fortress of King Moshoeshoe I. Once out of the urban areas though, and up into the highlands, visitors will be able to enjoy some peace and quiet, with activities such as hiking, taking walkers up into the mountains via steep, twisting roads, where stunning scenery will be seen for miles around.
Tourists can get around Lesotho by jumping onto one of their buses; patience must be a virtue here though, as there are always long road delays. Visitors are best advised to purchase short-distance tickets to go bus hopping, so if one bus is stuck in a never-ending delay they can jump off and grab another one. Minibuses are also an option and are a bit quicker to get about on, as they donít cover the same areas as the other local buses. To get to Lesotho there are flights available to Johannesburg and from there visitors can take another flight with South African Airways, which fly daily between Johannesburg and Moshoeshoe international airport, southeast of Maseru. The other alternative is to jump on a minibus taxi once in Johannesburg, which will take visitors to Maseru. Hire cars are also a good way to get from South African airports into Lesotho but entry by way of Sani Pass is only possible using in 4WD.
Knowing when to travel, weather wise, is very important and when coming to Lesotho the time to watch out for is during the summer, when from October through April, the rain falls quite frequently. Some days are beautiful and warm though, so its all down to luck, on whether a visitor gets a good week or not. Any hikers should avoid coming to the area during these summer months, as mountain areas can get very cold and very foggy.
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