Lesotho Country Facts

By | June 15, 2024
Lesotho
Capital city Maseru
Surface 30,355 km²
Population 2,108,000
Road network length 1,942 km
Length of highway network 0 km
First highway N/A
Motorway name N/A
Traffic drives Left
License plate code LS

Lesotho, formally the Kingdom of Lesotho (Sotho: Muso oa Lesotho), is a small country in southern Africa. The country is about the size of two thirds of the Netherlands and has 2 million inhabitants. The capital is Maseru.

Geography

Lesotho is an enclave in South Africa, and is surrounded on all sides by this country. The country is highly mountainous, with the lowest point at 1,400 meters. The Thabana Ntlenyana is the highest point at 3,482 meters. The country measures approximately 220 by 160 kilometers and the capital Maseru is located directly on the border with South Africa. Outside the capital, there are no other places of interest. There are also no major rivers running through Lesotho, but many rivers originate there. Lesotho has a subtropical highland climate with two seasons. The maximum temperature varies from 15 °C in winter to 28 °C in summer. Most precipitation falls in the summer.

Demographics

Lesotho grew from 700,000 inhabitants in 1950 to 1.8 million in 2000. The population is still rural, the only city of size is the capital Maseru, located on the border with South Africa. Other places are small in size. The population of Lesotho is made up of the Basotho ethnic group, who speak the Sesotho language.

Economy

Lesotho is economically strongly intertwined with South Africa. The economy is based on agriculture, for the rest women often work in the textile industry and the men in mines in South Africa. Lesotho is a poor country, but has one of the lowest illiteracy rates in Africa, the government invests heavily in education. The main raw materials are water and diamonds. A major economic project is the Lesotho Highlands Water Project.

History

The current country of Lesotho came into existence in 1822 under the name Basutoland as a kingdom. Later in the 19th century, the inhabitants came into conflict with British and Dutch migrants from the Cape Colony who moved further inland. In the mid-19th century there was a series of conflicts with the Boers, and they lost their territory in the lowlands to the west. The conflict ended when Basutoland became a British protectorate in 1868.

The country gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1966 as the Kingdom of Lesotho. The country went through numerous coups after independence. The king of Lesotho is a mainly ceremonial position. Lesotho’s location makes the country highly dependent on South Africa’s economy and politics.

Road numbering

There are 4 road number layers, the A, B, C and D roads, which appear to be based on the British system. A-ways have one and two digits, B-ways have two and three digits, and C-ways have three digits. The D-ways have 4 digits. Road numbers are usually not indicated in practice, but the road numbers are used in communication.

The numbering of the A roads consists of primary roads numbered as A1 to A9, with higher numbers being side branches thereof. This is exactly the same system as Botswana uses.

Main Roads

# No. Route Length
A1 Maseru – Butha-Buthe – Mokhotlong 291 km
A2 Maseru Bridge – Maseru – Mafeteng – Quthing 178 km
A3 St. Michael’s – Thaba-Tseka – Mokhotlong 258 km
A4 Quthing – Mount Moorosi – Quthing – Qacha’s Neck – Thaba-Tseka 328 km
A5 St. Michael’s – Semonkong – Seforong 139 km
A6 Maseru 4 km
A7 Maseru Ring 19 km
A8 Hlotse – Lejone – Thaba-Tseka 175 km
A9 Maseru City Center Bypass 4 km
A11 Peka – Peka Bridge 5 km
A12 Maputsoe – Ficksburg Bridge 7 km
A13 Butha-Buthe – gr. South Africa 11 km
A20 Mafeteng – Van Rooyens Gate 16 km
A22 Mokoroane – Sephapho’s Gate 6 km
A23 Mohales Corner – gr. South Africa 4 km
A24 Alwyns Kop – Tele Bridge 10 km
A31 Molumong – Sani Pass 43 km
A41 Ha Mpiti – Qacha’s Neck – gr. South Africa 12 km

Signage

Lesotho’s signage is based on SADC standards as also found in South Africa, with green signposts and white letters in the DIN 1451 font. In the capital Maseru, signposts also have street names at the top in a white area with black letters. Road numbers are not indicated on signposts. The signage is in English. The application of signage is minimalistic, quite a few intersections have no signage, sometimes intersections between A-roads do not.

Maximum speed

The speed limit in Lesotho follows SADC standards, of 60 km/h in built-up areas, 100 km/h outside built-up areas and 120 km/h on freeways. In practice there are no freeways in Lesotho and many roads are not designed to drive at 100 km/h, so in practice the speed limit is often 80 km/h.

 

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