The Kingdom is an enclaved, landlocked country completely surrounded by South Africa. It is just over 30,000 km2 (11,583 sq mi) in size and has a population of around 2 million. Previously known as Basutoland, Lesotho declared independence from the UK on 4 October 1966 and over various decades was ruled by the BCP political party with King Moshoeshoe II as a ceremonial monarch. In 1987 he was forced into exile and his son Letsie III was installed as ceremonial monarch. He reigns to this day though for mainly ceremonial functions as he no longer possesses any executive authority and is prohibited from actively participating in political initiatives.
The name Lesotho translates roughly into “the land of the people who speak Sesotho”, which is the country’s official language. They also generally speak English as it is taught in schools.
Thaba Ntlenyana (3482m) the highest peak in Southern Africa is found in the north of Lesotho, and geographically most of the country consists of high mountain ranges, which have been carved out by rivers. All these rivers flow into the Senqu River (Orange River) and then on into the Atlantic Ocean.
A substantial percentage of the population live on the flat plateau referred to as the Lowlands, leaving the Highland areas sparsely populated.
About 4 years ago the Chinese came to an agreement to rebuild the main highways in exchange for diamond mining rights. As a result, the freshly laid asphalt sections are now exceptional motorcycling roads with wide sweeping corners and tighter mountain bends. The off-road sections which really get you “off the beaten track” and show you the true Lesotho and it’s highland areas, are challenging but not too much and the adventure bikes we use are the ideal vehicles for this.