Lesotho

Which country is completely surrounded by South Africa?

And the answer: Lesotho.

Lesotho highlighted in red. Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons.

Comparable in size to Belgium, Lesotho is one of only three independent states in the world that's completely surrounded by another country, making it dependent on South Africa for access to the rest of the world. The other two independent states in the same situation are Vatican City and San Marino, both surrounded by Italy.

Home to around 2.5 million people, Lesotho is a bubble of culture located smack dab in the middle of much larger South Africa. As a kingdom, Lesotho remains unique from The Republic of South Africa, yet its geography sets it apart as well. The kingdom is home to a geography unlike much of the remainder of the Sub-Saharan continent. In fact, it is the only independent state in the world that lies entirely above 1,000 meters in elevation. As a result, Lesotho offers colder weather (sometimes dipping as low as 0 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter), mountains, and even Sub-Saharan Africa's only ski resort.

A Lesotho mountain village. Photo courtesy: Public Domain. 

Lesotho is also known for their textiles, most famously their warm blankets called Mohair blankets, named for the goat fur from which they are made. The blankets are often colorful, distinctive, and very popular throughout the region. In addition, the people of Lesotho enjoy wear other warm gear such as the Mokorotlo, a pointed style that is often replicated in traditional home structures as well.

The national dish of Lesotho is a stew called Motoho, a porridge made of Sorghum that is usually accompanied with salty collared greens, beetroot and carrot. The popular grain of cassava is another cultural staple and can be prepared many ways, either baked or used for its leaf to create stew. Check out this recipe to try your hand at a Lesotho staple.


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