I visited Lesotho on a trip through southern Africa (2012). This teeny tiny country, landlocked in the middle of South Africa is incredibly fascinating. This is one of the smallest, most impoverished countries in the world, which also happens to have one of the highest rates of HIV in the world (approximately 25% of the population) and one of the lowest life expectancies (34 years). So far I’m sure I have not enticed anyone to take a visit. HOWEVER, the people of this country are incredible! In the midst of having some incredibly challenging statistics, the people manage to have some of the brightest smiles. I did not come across one single person who was not truly kind and friendly, and went out of their way to welcome you. They had no expectations, no precedents- and did not ask for anything in return for their good graces.
It is incredibly impressive to see that in a place where there is so little, people can make you feel like there is so much.
Going through southern Africa, I had high expectations of many of the stops along the way. I did not place Lesotho in the list of places I had high expectations.
Instead, it thrusted itself in to the top! I loved this country. It is incredibly beautiful, unspoilt- One of the last true kingdoms of Africa.
There was so much character that i was not expecting. From the Basotho men, down to their Grandmothers and even their skillfully crafted blankets. Tradition is apparent from every angle, and although the people may not have much, they show strong pride in their culture and what they do have.
I wish I was not just passing by. I stayed at the Malealea Lodge, which was set up on which what felt like the top of Lesotho. The views were incredible, the skies filled with stars- in a very odd way it felt incredibly homely. For a place so small, there is also so much to do. There is pony trekking amongst the vast landscape- it is even a hikers paradise. If there ever is a time where you feel a need to give back to the world, start with Lesotho. There will never be more appreciation shown than from these people. If I could go back, I would really want to do something more. No one asks for a single thing, but their amazing sense of kindness really makes you want to do something in return.
I will never forget those gorgeous faces- they are the light of Africa.
WORTH THE JET LAG?
I loved Lesotho, and am so happy that it was along my path of travel. I can not tell you to go buy a ticket immediately. What I will say is, if you are ever in Southern Africa, please please please find a way to get to Lesotho! I guarantee it will be a sweet surprise!