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Lesotho Country Guide

Explore Lesotho in Africa

Lesotho with the capital city Maseru is located in Africa (Southern Africa, an enclave of South Africa). It covers some 30,356 square kilometres (slightly smaller than Maryland) with 2,128,000 citizens.

Interactive map of Lesotho

The topography includes mostly highland with plateaus, hills, and mountains. The average density of population is approximately 70 per km². The notable climate conditions in Lesotho can be described as temperate with cool to cold, dry winters, hot, wet summers. Possible natural disasters include periodic droughts.

To reach someone in Lesotho dial +266 prior to a number. There are 40,000 installed telephones. And there are 661,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks commonly support frequencies of 900 Mhz. Websites registered in this country end with the top level domain ".ls". If you want to bring electric equipment on your trip (e.g. laptop power supply), note the local power outlet of 220V - 50Hz.

About the flag and history of Lesotho

Three horizontal stripes of blue (top), white, and green in the proportions of 3:4:3; the colors represent rain, peace, and prosperity respectively; centered in the white stripe is a black Basotho hat representing the indigenous people; the flag was unfurled in October 2006 to celebrate 40 years of independence.

Basutoland was renamed the Kingdom of Lesotho upon independence from the UK in 1966. The Basuto National Party ruled the country during its first two decades. King MOSHOESHOE was exiled in 1990, but returned to Lesotho in 1992 and was reinstated in 1995 and subsequently succeeded by his son, King LETSIE III, in 1996. Constitutional government was restored in 1993 after seven years of military rule. In 1998, violent protests and a military mutiny following a contentious election prompted a brief but bloody intervention by South African and Batswana military forces under the aegis of the Southern African Development Community. Subsequent constitutional reforms restored relative political stability. Peaceful parliamentary elections were held in 2002, but the National Assembly elections of February 2007 were hotly contested and aggrieved parties disputed how the electoral law was applied to award proportional seats in the Assembly. In May 2012, competitive elections involving 18 parties saw Prime Minister Motsoahae Thomas THABANE form a coalition government - the first in the country's history - that ousted the 14-year incumbent, Pakalitha MOSISILI, who peacefully transferred power the following month.

Geography Quick-Facts

Summary Continent: Africa
Neighbours: South Africa
Capital: Maseru
Size 30,355 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 11,720 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly smaller than Maryland
Population 2,128,000
Currency Name: Loti, Currency Code: LSL
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD) .ls
Telephone Country Prefix +266
Mobile Phone Connections 661,000
Landline Phone Connections 40,000

Country Position in World Rankings

Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).


Value name Value World Rank
Area 30,355 (sq km) 142

People and Society

Value name Value World Rank
Population 1,936,181 148
Population growth rate 0.34 (%) 163
Birth rate 26.31 (births/1,000 population) 50
Death rate 15.02 (deaths/1,000 population) 3
Net migration rate -7.89 (migrant(s)/1,000 population) 202
Maternal mortality rate 620.00 (deaths/100,000 live births) 11
Infant mortality rate 51.93 (deaths/1,000 live births) 39
Life expectancy at birth 52.30 (years) 212
Total fertility rate 2.83 (children born/woman) 69
Health expenditures 11.10 (% of GDP) 18
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 23.60 (%) 3
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS 290,000 20
HIV/AIDS - deaths 14,000 21
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 14.60 (%) 120
Children under the age of 5 years underweight 13.50 (%) 56
Education expenditures 13.00 (% of GDP) 1
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 34.4 (%) 17


Value name Value World Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity) 4,131,000,000 175
GDP - real growth rate 4.00 (%) 77
GDP - per capita (PPP) 2,200 191
Labor force 894,500 146
Unemployment rate 25.00 (%) 174
Distribution of family income - Gini index 63 1
Investment (gross fixed) 36.60 (% of GDP) 10
Taxes and other revenues 67.9 (% of GDP) 4
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) -1.00 (% of GDP) 61
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 6.10 (%) 162
Central bank discount rate 10.00 (%) 24
Commercial bank prime lending rate 10.40 (%) 86
Stock of narrow money 378,600,000 165
Stock of broad money 897,000,000 171
Stock of domestic credit 82,190,000 187
Industrial production growth rate 3.00 (%) 94
Current account balance -352,600,000 88
Exports 1,039,000,000 155
Imports 2,469,000,000 158
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 1,089,000,000 134
Debt - external 715,400,000 167
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home 242,000,000 100


Value name Value World Rank
Electricity - production 200,000,000 (kWh) 182
Electricity - consumption 293,000,000 (kWh) 176
Electricity - imports 121,000,000 (kWh) 92
Electricity - installed generating capacity 76000 (kW) 175
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 100.0 (% of total installed capacity) 1
Refined petroleum products - consumption 1,777 (bbl/day) 192
Refined petroleum products - imports 1,813 (bbl/day) 181
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 282,100 (Mt) 191


Value name Value World Rank
Telephones - main lines in use 38,600 168
Telephones - mobile cellular 1,232,000 152
Internet hosts 11,030 131
Internet users 76,800 168


Value name Value World Rank
Airports 24 130
Roadways 7,091 (km) 147


Value name Value World Rank
Military expenditures 1.90 (% of GDP) 71

Data based on CIA facts book 2010 & 2013, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases

List of current world heritage sites

Name Since
Maloti-Drakensberg Park
The Maloti-Drakensberg Park is a transboundary site composed of the uKhahlamba Drakensberg National Park in South Africa and the Sehlathebe National Park in Lesotho. The site has exceptional natural beauty in its soaring basaltic buttresses, incisive ...