Your guide to being an expatriate in Lesotho

Caffeinate Your Lesotho Expat Journey: Find Essential Info and Connect with Expatriates Today!

Lesotho, officially known as the Kingdom of Lesotho, is a small mountainous country entirely enclosed by South Africa. Although Lesotho is landlocked, it is home to some of the most spectacular natural scenery in southern Africa, including the Maluti Mountains and the Golden Gate Highlands National Park. Lesotho has a population of approximately 2 million people, with a majority of the population living in rural areas and practicing subsistence agriculture. The country is a constitutional monarchy, with King Letsie III as the current head of state.


Expat destinations in Lesotho

Demographics of Lesotho:

Ethnic groups

The ethnic makeup of Lesotho is predominantly Basotho, with smaller populations of Phuthi, Qwaqwa, and other minority groups. Urban areas have a higher proportion of people of European and Indian descent.


Sesotho is the national and official language, spoken by over 80% of the population. English is the second official language, used primarily in government, business, and education.

Religion Overview

Lesotho is predominantly Christian, with the majority practicing the Baptist, Roman Catholic, or Methodist denominations. There is also a significant Muslim population in the urban areas.

Major Religions


Lesotho has a highland climate, with cold winters and mild summers. Snowfall is common in the winter months, especially in the higher elevations. Precipitation is relatively evenly distributed throughout the year, but is generally lower in the winter.

Economy Overview

Lesotho's economy is primarily agricultural, with a significant portion of the population engaged in subsistence farming. The country also has a relatively small manufacturing sector, which includes textiles, food processing, and wood products. Mining, particularly of diamonds, is a growing industry. Lesotho is also a member of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and benefits from preferential access to the markets of South Africa and other SACU member states.

Key Industries

  • Agriculture
  • Manufacturing (textiles, food processing, wood products)
  • Mining (diamonds)

Major Companies

  • Zintle Processing (diamond processing)

Culture and Language Overview

Lesotho has a rich cultural heritage, with traditional Basotho culture still widely practiced. This includes the Sesotho language, traditional dress, music, dance, and storytelling. Festivals and cultural events are held throughout the year, particularly during the winter months when temperatures are lower.

Cultural Highlights

  • Thaba Bosiu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and former King Moshoeshoe's stronghold.
  • Morija Museums and Archives, a national museum featuring exhibitions on Basotho history, culture, and traditions.
  • The Basotho Cultural Village, a working village and cultural center depicting the traditional lifestyle and cultural practices of the Basotho people.

Geography and Landmarks Overview

Lesotho is characterized by highlands, with elevations gradually decreasing to the southeast and northeast. The country's highest mountain, Thabana-Qoan, sits at 3,482 meters (11,426 feet) and is located in the Maluti Mountains. The Orange River, which forms Lesotho's western boundary, is a major river in southern Africa.

Notable Landmarks

  • The Maluti Mountains and Golden Gate Highlands National Park, known for their beauty and hiking opportunities.
  • The Katse Dam, the largest dam in southern Africa and a major source of hydroelectric power for Lesotho and South Africa.
  • Victoria Peak, a striking mountain peak offering panoramic views of the Maluti Mountains.

National Holidays

  • New Year's Day (January 1)
  • King Moshoeshoe I Day (March 13)
  • Good Friday (varies)
  • Family Day (First Monday in April)
  • Workers' Day (May 1)
  • King's Birthday (June 15)
  • Premiers' Day (July 4)
  • Her Majesty the Queen's Birthday (September 12)
  • Independence Day (October 4)
  • All Saints' Day (November 1)
  • Heroes' Day (December 16)
  • Christmas Day (December 25)

Political Stability

Lesotho has a multi-party parliamentary system, with the current constitution first enacted in 1966. While Lesotho has experienced political instability in the past, including a military coup in 1986, the country has been largely stable since the adoption of a new constitution in 2006. Political corruption and government transparency remain major challenges, however.

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