Lesotho is a tiny landlocked country completely surrounded by South Africa. Affectionately referred to as the Mountain Kingdom, thanks to its magnificent mountain ranges, expats moving to Lesotho are likely to enjoy a rich cultural experience while being surrounded by some of Africa’s most beautiful landscapes.
The country’s economy is largely dependent on agriculture and mining, and it’s within these industries that expats will likely find work. A significant number of expats also relocate there to do aid or volunteer work.
In recent years, Lesotho’s subsistence-based economy has been evolving to more of a focus on manufacturing and export, especially in the clothing manufacturing sector, with the country now one of the largest exporters of garments in Africa. Expats with experience in this sector might also find opportunities. The Lesotho Highlands Water Project is also a major contributor to the economy, with the sale of water and electricity to South Africa, and this has also attracted a number of expats in the engineering and related fields.
Despite having one of the highest literacy rates in Africa, the state of Lesotho’s public schooling system may not be up the standards that many expats are used to, and most new arrivals will opt for private or international schooling for their children. There are a few international schools in Maseru, with the most prominent being the American International School and Machabeng College, which offers the International Baccalaureate curriculum. However, expats living in more rural areas may have very little access to decent schools and may consider sending their children to boarding school in South Africa, which has some excellent private and international schools to choose from.
Lesotho’s public healthcare system is in a poor state, and while private clinics in Maseru will be able to treat basic ailments, most expats travel to South Africa to receive better medical care. Expats should ensure that they have comprehensive health insurance to cover their medical costs. As with healthcare, the country has very little in the way of public transport and expats will likely need their own vehicle – a vehicle with off-road capabilities is the preferred option, especially if wanting to travel outside the main urban areas – owing to the poor state of the roads.
Despite its small size and social challenges, there is plenty in Lesotho for expats to explore and enjoy. The natural landscapes make for exciting opportunities for adventure enthusiasts, with hiking and horseback riding popular activities. In the winter, expats can head to the mountain slopes to ski, with the country home to the highest ski resort in Africa. Those seeking more diversity and a weekend escape can head to South Africa, which is only a short drive away.
From the rich cultural traditions to the breathtaking landscapes, a move to Lesotho is likely to be an unforgettable expat experience.