Lesotho Travel Information

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Lesotho Nature Reserves

Facts About Lesotho

Background: Basutoland was renamed the Kingdom of Lesotho upon independence from the UK in 1966. Constitutional government was restored in 1993 after 23 years of military rule.
Government type: parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Capital: Maseru
Currency: 1 loti (L) = 100 lisente; note - maloti (M) is the plural form of loti

Geography of Lesotho

Location: Southern Africa, an enclave of South Africa
Geographic coordinates: 29 30 S, 28 30 E
Area:
total: 30,355 sq km
land: 30,355 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Land boundaries:
total: 909 km
border countries: South Africa 909 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims: none (landlocked)
Climate: temperate; cool to cold, dry winters; hot, wet summers
Terrain: mostly highland with plateaus, hills, and mountains
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: junction of the Orange and Makhaleng Rivers 1,400 m
highest point: Thabana Ntlenyana 3,482 m
Natural resources: water, agricultural and grazing land, some diamonds and other minerals
Land use:
arable land: 11%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 66%
forests and woodland: 0%
other: 23% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 30 sq km (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: periodic droughts
Environment - current issues: population pressure forcing settlement in marginal areas results in overgrazing, severe soil erosion, and soil exhaustion; desertification; Highlands Water Project controls, stores, and redirects water to South Africa
Environment - international agreements:
party to:  Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping
Geography - note: landlocked, completely surrounded by South Africa; mountainous, more than 80% of the country is 1,800 meters above sea level

People of Lesotho

Population: 1,867,035 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years:  39.28% 
15-64 years:  56.03% 
65 years and over:  4.69%
Population growth rate: .08% 
Birth rate: 31.24 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 15.7 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: -0.63 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 82.77 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population:  48.84 years
male:  47.97 years
female:  49.74 years
Total fertility rate: 4.08 children born/woman 
Nationality:
noun: Mosotho (singular), Basotho (plural)
adjective: Basotho
Ethnic groups: Sotho 99.7%, Europeans, Asians, and other 0.3%
Religions: Christian 80%, indigenous beliefs 20%
Languages: Sesotho (southern Sotho), English (official), Zulu, Xhosa
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 83%
male:  72%
female:  93% (1999 est.)

SOURCE: The World Factbook

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Lesotho > Map Economy History