Lesotho: Which Countries Share a Border with It?

Lesotho: Which Countries Share a Border with It?

Lesotho, a landlocked country located in Southern Africa, is surrounded by several neighboring countries. This article explores the countries that share a border with Lesotho, providing insights into their geographical features and cultural influences. From the majestic Drakensberg Mountains to the diverse wildlife of South Africa, Lesotho’s borders offer a unique blend of natural beauty and cross-cultural connections. Whether you are a traveler seeking adventure or a curious individual interested in global geography, this article will unravel the fascinating bordering countries of Lesotho.

Neighboring Countries of Lesotho

South Africa

Lesotho is a landlocked country located in southern Africa. It shares its entire border with South Africa, which makes it unique as it is completely surrounded by another country. The border between Lesotho and South Africa stretches for approximately 909 kilometers (565 miles) and is mainly defined by the natural barrier of the Drakensberg Mountains.

The close proximity and shared border with South Africa have greatly influenced Lesotho’s economy and culture. The two countries have a long history of trade and cooperation, with South Africa being Lesotho’s main trading partner. This geographical relationship has facilitated the movement of goods, services, and people between the two nations.

Border Crossing Points

There are several official border crossing points between Lesotho and South Africa. These border posts provide entry and exit points for travelers, vehicles, and cargo. The most commonly used border crossings include:

  1. Maseru Bridge – Situated in the capital city of Maseru, this is the busiest and most important border crossing between Lesotho and South Africa.
  2. Caledonspoort – Located in the Free State province of South Africa, this border crossing is often used by tourists visiting the Golden Gate Highlands National Park.
  3. Ficksburg Bridge – Situated near the town of Ficksburg, this border crossing is popular for trade and transportation purposes.
  4. Qacha’s Nek – Positioned in the eastern part of Lesotho, this border post connects the country to South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province.

These border crossing points play a crucial role in facilitating the movement of people, goods, and services, contributing to the economic development and cultural exchange between Lesotho and South Africa.

Border Disputes

While Lesotho and South Africa generally have a cooperative relationship, there have been occasional border disputes between the two countries. These disputes mainly arise from disagreements over the demarcation and ownership of specific border areas.

One notable dispute is the question of sovereignty over the territory of Quthing, located in the southern part of Lesotho. South Africa claims that this area falls within its borders, while Lesotho maintains that it is part of its own territory. The issue remains unresolved, and both countries continue to engage in negotiations to reach a mutually acceptable solution.

Despite these occasional border disputes, Lesotho and South Africa have managed to maintain peaceful relations and work together on various regional and international platforms. The shared border has served as a bridge between the two nations, fostering cultural exchange, economic cooperation, and diplomatic ties.

Geographical Features


Lesotho, often referred to as the "Kingdom in the Sky," is a landlocked country located in southern Africa. It is known for its stunning and diverse geographical features, particularly its majestic mountains.

One of the prominent mountain ranges in Lesotho is the Drakensberg Range, which stretches across the eastern border of the country. The Drakensberg Range is a natural border between Lesotho and its neighboring country, South Africa. These mountains are characterized by their towering peaks, deep valleys, and breathtaking cliffs, making them a paradise for hikers, climbers, and nature enthusiasts.

Another notable mountain in Lesotho is Thabana Ntlenyana, which is the highest peak in southern Africa. Rising to an impressive height of 3,482 meters (11,423 feet), Thabana Ntlenyana offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes, including Lesotho’s beautiful valleys, rivers, and neighboring countries.

The Lesotho Highlands, a region situated in the eastern part of the country, also boast several picturesque mountain ranges. These highlands are known for their rugged terrain, pristine waterfalls, and crystal-clear lakes, making them a popular destination for adventure seekers and nature lovers.


In addition to its magnificent mountains, Lesotho is blessed with numerous rivers that enhance its natural beauty and provide important resources for the country’s inhabitants.

One of the prominent rivers in Lesotho is the Orange River, which serves as a natural border between Lesotho and South Africa. The river originates in the Drakensberg Mountains and meanders through Lesotho, offering breathtaking views and opportunities for water-based activities such as rafting and fishing.

Another significant river in Lesotho is the Makhaleng River, which flows through the beautiful valleys and gorges of the country. This river not only contributes to Lesotho’s scenic landscapes but also provides crucial water resources for agriculture and livelihoods of the local communities.

The Senqu River, also known as the Orange-Senqu River, is another important waterway in Lesotho. It begins its journey in the highlands of Lesotho and eventually joins the Orange River. The Senqu River not only adds to Lesotho’s natural beauty but also plays a vital role in hydroelectric power generation, as it supplies water to several dams and power stations.

Overall, Lesotho’s geographical features, including its magnificent mountains and rivers, make it a unique and captivating destination for those seeking adventure, natural beauty, and a deeper connection with the great outdoors.

Historical Connections

Colonial Era

During the colonial era, Lesotho, also known as the Kingdom in the Sky, was a British protectorate. It was initially established as Basutoland in 1868 under the protection of the British Empire. The colonial rule had a profound impact on Lesotho’s borders and its relationships with neighboring countries.

Under British colonial influence, Lesotho’s borders were defined and demarcated. The country shares borders with several nations, which were determined based on political and geographical considerations. These borders have shaped Lesotho’s identity and its connections with neighboring countries over time.

Apartheid Era

The apartheid era in South Africa had a significant impact on Lesotho’s borders and its relationships with neighboring countries. During this period, South Africa implemented strict racial segregation policies, which affected Lesotho due to its geographical proximity.

As a landlocked country surrounded by South Africa, Lesotho faced various challenges during apartheid. The policies implemented by the apartheid regime had a direct impact on Lesotho’s economy, politics, and social dynamics. Many Basotho people, the citizens of Lesotho, sought employment in South Africa to support their families due to limited opportunities within Lesotho. This movement of people across borders influenced Lesotho’s relationship with South Africa and other neighboring countries.

Furthermore, Lesotho served as a refuge for those fleeing apartheid policies in South Africa. Many individuals sought asylum in Lesotho, which brought about cultural exchanges and further influenced the historical connections between Lesotho and its neighboring countries.

In conclusion, the historical connections between Lesotho and its neighboring countries have been shaped by both the colonial and apartheid eras. These periods have had a profound impact on Lesotho’s borders, economy, politics, and social dynamics. Understanding the historical context is crucial to comprehending the relationships Lesotho shares with its neighboring nations.

Lesotho, a landlocked country completely surrounded by South Africa, shares its borders with no other nation. This unique geographical situation makes Lesotho an interesting case study, as it is one of the few countries in the world that does not have any direct territorial connections with other countries. Despite its isolated position, Lesotho has managed to develop its own distinct culture and identity. The absence of border-sharing countries has both advantages and challenges for Lesotho, influencing its economy, politics, and international relations. As we delve deeper into understanding Lesotho’s geopolitical landscape, it becomes evident that its borderless nature is a defining characteristic that sets it apart from other nations in the region.

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