Often dubbed the Kingdom in the Sky, the tiny independent country of Lesotho is completely surrounded by South Africa, but it has retained its own distinctive landscape and culture. The whole country lies above 3,300 ft/1,000 m—the only country in the world to do so—and the principle attraction is the terrific mountain scenery.

Lesotho (pronounced le-SOO-too) can be an appealing place for those who enjoy being outdoors. Pony trekking in the mountains is affordable and fairly easy to arrange and you can hike just about anywhere.

In the highlands, herd boys steer their flocks to the highest points of the mountains, which are covered by snow in winter, and Basotho cowboys ride across treeless plateaus wearing conical straw hats and serapelike blankets.

Conditions are less enjoyable in the capital city of Maseru, which holds little appeal other than as a convenient transit point.

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