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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 30,355 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 and 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

Lesotho Flag Icon

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

SummaryContinent: Africa
Neighbours: South Africa
Capital: Maseru
Size30,355 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 11,720 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly smaller than Maryland
CurrencyName Loti, Currency Code:LSL
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD).ls
Telephone Country Prefix+266
Mobile Phone Connections661,000
Landline Phone Connections40,000

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 nameValueWorld Rank
Area30,355 (sq km)142

People and Society

Value nameValueWorld Rank
Population1,936,181 148
Population growth rate0.34 (%)163
Birth rate26.31 (births/1,000 population)50
Death rate15.02 (deaths/1,000 population)3
Net migration rate-7.89 (migrant(s)/1,000 population)202
Maternal mortality rate620.00 (deaths/100,000 live births)11
Infant mortality rate51.93 (deaths/1,000 live births)39
Life expectancy at birth52.30 (years)212
Total fertility rate2.83 (children born/woman)69
Health expenditures11.10 (% of GDP)18
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate23.60 (%)3
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS290,000 20
HIV/AIDS - deaths14,000 21
Obesity - adult prevalence rate14.60 (%)120
Children under the age of 5 years underweight13.50 (%)56
Education expenditures13.00 (% of GDP)1
Unemployment, youth ages 15-2434.40 (%)17


Value nameValueWorld Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity)4,131,000,000 175
GDP - real growth rate4.00 (%)77
GDP - per capita (PPP)2,200 191
Labor force894,500 146
Unemployment rate25.00 (%)174
Distribution of family income - Gini index63.20 1
Investment (gross fixed)36.60 (% of GDP)10
Taxes and other revenues67.90 (% of GDP)4
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-1.00 (% of GDP)61
Inflation rate (consumer prices)6.10 (%)162
Central bank discount rate10.00 (%)24
Commercial bank prime lending rate10.40 (%)86
Stock of narrow money378,600,000 165
Stock of broad money897,000,000 171
Stock of domestic credit82,190,000 187
Industrial production growth rate3.00 (%)94
Current account balance-352,600,000 88
Exports1,039,000,000 155
Imports2,469,000,000 158
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold1,089,000,000 134
Debt - external715,400,000 167
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home242,000,000 100


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Electricity - production200,000,000 (kWh)182
Electricity - consumption293,000,000 (kWh)176
Electricity - imports121,000,000 (kWh)92
Electricity - installed generating capacity76,000 (kW)175
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants100.00 (% of total installed capacity)1
Refined petroleum products - consumption1,777 (bbl/day)192
Refined petroleum products - imports1,813 (bbl/day)181
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy282,100 (Mt)191


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Telephones - main lines in use38,600 168
Telephones - mobile cellular1,232,000 152
Internet hosts11,030 131
Internet users76,800 168


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Airports24 130
Roadways7,091 (km)147


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Military expenditures1.90 (% 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

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 ...