Enjoying the freshest of cool air at Mohale Dam

Coldest Country in Africa

A while ago a friend asked where on earth he could take his children to see and touch snow (1) at a reasonably affordable cost, (2) not too far away from his homeland in Kenya, and (3) without climbing a mountain!!

With Africa squarely located around the Equator, experiencing snowfall is rare. And while you can marvel at snow covered mountain peaks from afar (like Kilimanjaro, Kenya, Ruwenzori, etc.), you would have to climb to over 4000m+ to experience its feel and ice-cold touch.

Lesotho in Wintertime

However, there is one unique country that experiences the coldest of winters on the continent each year (May to August), including having to deal with continuous snow fall and snow covered landscape for most of the period.


Apart from being the coldest on the continent, this tiny country in southern Africa is unique in a few other ways:

  • Entirely surrounded by South Africa, it is one of 3 States in the world landlocked by only one country
  • With its lowest point being 1,400m above sea level, it is the only independent state in the world that fully lies above 1,000 meters in altitude
  • Its official name i.e. Kingdom of Lesotho (has a ceremonial ruler in His Majesty King Letsie III) combined with its high-altitude terrain, has it referred to as the ‘Kingdom in the Sky’
  • Has one of Africa’s largest water transfer scheme from its abundance of mountain rivers to meet a significant proportion of South Africa’s water deficit

4 Things to do in Lesotho

1. Skiing! – And other fun snow related activities like snowboarding, snow tubing, etc. available in the at the Afriski Mountain Resort during the wintertime for those of you who thrive in freezing season (not for me, thanks!). I was happy to encourage my friend to consider planning this as a once-in-a-lifetime adventure for his family.

Thaba Bosiu Cultural Village

2. Visit Thaba Bosiu Cultural Village – Visit this impressively designed National Monument not far from Maseru (Capital City) to immerse in the history, culture and lifestyle of the Sesotho speaking Basotho people (one is referred to as a Mosotho). It is built on a plateau, Thaba Bosiu or ‘mountain at night’ which was named by Chief Moshoeshoe 1, founder of the Basotho nation in 1824, during its occupation. It is therefore one of the most significant locations held dear by the citizens of this great nation.

Lush green mountainous terrain of Lesotho countryside

3. Road Trip – Take a 2-3 hr road trip out of the city towards Mohale Dam, not just to see the majestic views of the lush green mountainous terrain, but to understand why South Africa is a beneficiary of the excess water supply from the numerous rivers across the land and channels within. This is a distinct advantage of generous rainfall from Oct-Apr, followed by snow melt after the winter season. The dam is an important reservoir for the other large Katse Dam a further 4 hrs eastward, which generates electricity for the country

4. City Tour – Ofcourse! Take the short, fun ride around the tiny capital to see how culture is an integral design of the modern office and residential buildings about town – notice the roofs designed in the signature shape of the mokorotlo (Basotho hat also on its flag). And when you visit the malls or local restaurants, treat your taste buds to the sumptuous local cuisine comprising meat and vegetable dishes, and freely interact with the friendly locals.

Maseru, Capital of Lesotho


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