Geography of Lesotho


Terrain shapes and bedrock

According to COUNTRYAAH, Lesotho is the country in southern Africa that makes the most reason for the term mountain country. Drakensberg in the east reaches on the border of Kwa Zulu-Natal in South Africa up to 3,482 m asl. at the top Thabana Ntlenyana. From this highland, which is mainly made up of basalt lava in an up to 1,600 m thick warehouse, the country slopes west towards the Orange River. The Maloti Mountains further west and Thaba Putsoa in the south-west separate the valley of the Orange River from the lowlands at the capital Maseru. Outside the highlands, the bedrock is dominated by sedimentary rocks of the Carro formation (about 300–200 million years old), mainly sandstone and shale.


The average temperature in the lowlands around Maseru is around 16 °C during the year and in the highlands around 6 °C. The rainfall, which mainly falls during the summer months of November to March, varies between 650 mm per year in Maseru and 1,200 mm in the north. The country shows marked temperature differences between the chilly winter, when it often snows in the mountain regions, and the hot summer.

Plant-and animal life

Lesotho Wildlife

Most of the natural vegetation is made up of grasslands that in some areas are affected by annual fires. In Drakensberg in the east there are many endemic plant species. On lower slopes there are shrubs with a rich dryland flora, similar to the one in Karroo in South Africa but with other species. Tree water and lush bushlands by the watercourses existed until the 19th century but are now lost due to the intensive use of the land. In total, there are about 1,600 species of flowering plants.

Wildlife is also depleted with about 35 species of mammals and 60 species of nesting birds. Among ungulates can be mentioned rock-clippers and rock antelope (Raphi ʹ cerus campe ʹ stris) and among predators scabraches, caracal and a few leopards. South African hussnok (La ‘ mprophis fuligino ‘ sus) and puffadder are among the more common snakes.

Nature conservation

Lesotho had two national parks in 2010. Sehlabathebe National Park, located in the south-eastern parts of the country, is a mountainous area dominated by grass water with rising sandstone cliffs. Tsehlanyane National Park is located at the confluence of the Tsehlanyane and Holomo rivers in the country’s northeastern parts. The National Park consists of a hilly mountain landscape in the foothills of the Maloti Mountains.