Lesotho Geography

What is the terrain and geography like in Lesotho?


Lesotho (Leh‑SOO‑too) is a landlocked country in the east‑central part of the Republic of South Africa. Slightly larger than Maryland and slightly smaller than Belgium, Lesotho covers an area of 11,116 square miles. It is roughly in the form of a circle, 125 miles across. The western one‑quarter of Lesotho is lowlands where the altitude varies from 5,000 to 6,000 feet above sea level. This is the country’s main agricultural zone and contains most of the population. The rest of the country is composed of highlands that rise to 11,400 feet in the Drakensburg Range, which forms the eastern boundary with KwaZulu Natal. Thabana‑Ntlenyana, the highest peak in Southern Africa at 11,424 feet, is just inside Lesotho’s eastern border near the Sani Pass.

Maseru (Muh‑SEH‑roo), the capital, has an estimated population of 150,000. It is located 5,000 feet above sea level on the Caledon River, which forms the western boundary between Lesotho and the Free State in South Africa. Surrounded by scenic bluffs and mesas, Maseru has a small central business district and several neighborhoods with good housing. Beyond that, the city sprawls for miles with collections of small tin‑roofed houses and roadside businesses. The surrounding countryside is severely affected by soil erosion, and despite sufficient water, the lowlands have little natural vegetation for much of the year. The landscape, mountainous, bare, dotted with picturesque villages, is starkly beautiful.

Geography - note

landlocked, completely surrounded by South Africa; mountainous, more than 80% of the country is 1,800 m above sea level

Lesotho Use of Natural Resources

Geographic Location Africa
Total Area 11,720 Square Miles
30,355 Square Kilometers
Land Area 11,720 Square Miles
30,355 Square Kilometers
Land Boundaries 565 Miles
909 Kilometers
Irrigated Land 10 Square Miles
26 Square Kilometers
Border Countries South Africa 909 km
Geographic Coordinates 29 30 S, 28 30 E
Terrain mostly highland with plateaus, hills, and mountains
Highest Point 3,482 Meters
Highest Point Location Thabana Ntlenyana 3,482 m
Lowest Point 1,400 Meters
Lowest Point Location junction of the Orange and Makhaleng Rivers 1,400 m
Natural Resources water, agricultural and grazing land, some diamonds and other minerals
Time Zone UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
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