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Introduction

Lesotho, known as the ?Switzerland of Southern Africa', is a small nation nestled between the Drakensberg and Maluti mountain ranges. One of the most popular ways of seeing the country is on a pony-trekking tour that allows visitors to stay in remote villages accessible only by narrow passes.

One of the poorest countries in the world, the majority of Lesotho's Basotho people still live very traditional lifestyles, such as making a living through shepherding. The capital, Maseru, is much quieter than South Africa's modern, crowded cities. Lesotho did not become part of South Africa mainly because of its natural boundaries, which made it more difficult for the advancing Boers to access, Lesotho rejected incorporation in the Union of South Africa in 1910. It gained independence from Britain in 1966 and is now a parliamentary constitutional monarchy.

While trekking in the mountains it is easy to find lodging with local residents. In addition to pony trekking, travelers can hike or take four-wheel-drive vehicle into the mountains. Sehlabathebe National Park is one of the nation's key attractions. The tourist office in Maseru on the Kingsway, next to the Hotel Victoria, has a wealth of information about the country.


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