Lesotho Weather and Climate
The enclave of Lesotho is located in the southeast of South Africa and is also known as the “Kingdom in Heaven” because of its altitude and its form of government.
Around 1.95 million people live in Lesotho on an area of 30,355 square kilometers. This results in a population density of around 64 inhabitants per square kilometer.
On the Human Development Index, Lesotho ranks 162nd out of 187, making it one of the least developed countries in the world.
Lesotho borders the South African provinces of Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape. The lowest elevation in the country is located at the junction of the two rivers Oranje and Makhaleng at an altitude of 1390 meters above sea level. 80 percent of the state area is at an altitude of over 1,800 meters.
The capital Maseru is an interesting tourist destination. The higher regions such as the Sani-Passe and the Sehlabathebe National Park in the southeast of the country are increasingly being developed by tourism. With the so-called Afri-Ski area in the east of the country, Lesotho even has its own ski area.
Maseru has an airport that is mostly served via South Africa.
Climate in Lesotho
In Lesotho you can find a warm and temperate climate almost everywhere in the country. Due to the enormous altitude, the temperatures are comparatively low by African standards. The daily values move in the course of the year in Maseru between 16 and 28 degrees. The differences between day and night are relatively large. At night the temperatures cool down considerably, in the African winter there is even frost in the high altitudes.
Lesotho is located in the southern hemisphere, so the seasons are opposite to those in Europe. In the winter months from June to August it is also relatively cool during the day with a maximum of 16 degrees. The values only climb above 20 degrees from September and remain until the end of April mild. The hottest months are December and January – but it is also the wettest time of the year.
With peak values of up to 30 degrees and up to 10 hours of sunshine, there can always be short but strong summer thunderstorms with increased rainfall. Precipitation reaches a maximum of 111 millimeters in January and is spread over an average of 10 rainy days per month. During this time, nature blossoms enormously and an impressive, colorful atmosphere is created. In the winter months, the vastness of Lesotho looks rather dreary and bare.
When to go to Lesotho?
Basically, Lesotho is easy to travel all year round with appropriate clothing. Only the winter months from mid- May to mid-August are sometimes extremely cold and therefore only recommended for “die-hard” people. Snowfall is also not uncommon in the high altitudes. The best foresight and pleasant temperatures can be found in the marginal months of March and April as well as September and October, which we recommend as the best time to travel to Lesotho.
Even the summer of November until March is quite suitable for a trip to Lesotho. With the warmth, however, there is also a higher risk of precipitation at this time of the year. You should therefore always have a rain jacket with you, but the blooming landscapes and summer temperatures make up for smaller showers. In general, the weather in Lesotho is very volatile, there can be short-term changes at any time.
Temperatures, precipitation, sunshine in Maseru (Lesotho)
|Daytime temperature||28 ° C||27 ° C||25 ° C||21 ° C||18 ° C||15 ° C||16 ° C||19 ° C||23 ° C||24 ° C||26 ° C||28 ° C|
|Night temperature||14 ° C||14 ° C||12 ° C||8 ° C||3 ° C||-0 ° C||-1 ° C||2 ° C||6 ° C||9 ° C||12 ° C||13 ° C|
|Precipitation in mm||111||94||91||59||29||11||12||14||20||60||87||88|
|Hours of sunshine||9||9||8||8||8||8||8||9||9||9||9||10|
The annual average temperature in Maseru is 15.1 ° C. For comparison: Munich reaches an average of 8.6 ° C, in Berlin it is 9.6 ° C. The warmest month is January (21.2 ° C), coldest month of June with mean values of 7.5 ° C.
The annual precipitation is 676 mm on 68 days with precipitation. For comparison: In Munich, 967 mm, in Berlin 570 mm, precipitation is measured annually. There is no rainy season, i.e. months with more than 175 mm of precipitation. Snowfall is possible in the months of May, June, July and August.
As our climate table shows, December is the sunniest month with an average of 9.9 hours of sunshine per day. On average over the year, the sun shines 8.8 hours per day. For comparison: In Munich and Berlin, the sun shines an average of 4.7 hours per day throughout the year.
The following larger towns are nearby and have a similar climate: Botshabelo.
Highlights and attractions
Near the capital Maseru is the Katse Dam, an incredible and unreal looking lake. You definitely shouldn’t miss this extraordinary place on your Lesotho trip. In the immediate vicinity, the Maluti Mountains are another scenic highlight. To the southeast of the capital you will find Semonkong with the raging Maletsunyane Falls (192 meters drop).
In the south of Lesotho you can admire historical dinosaur tracks near Maphutseng, in Ha-Khotso you can expect old cave paintings of the San people. The iconic Qiloane mountain near Thaba Bosiu, which embodies the traditional hat shape of the Basothos, is also an important sight. The Thabana Ntlenyana mountain, which is over 3400 meters high, the highest point in the Drakensberg, is a fascinating natural monument.