Climate of Lesotho
Where is the country of Lesotho located? Lesotho is a country in southern Africa and is completely enclosed by South Africa. Since the country is in the southern hemisphere, the seasons are exactly opposite to us. June through August is winter here, December through March is summer in Lesotho.
According to the Köppen-Geiger climate system, Lesotho has no fewer than three climates: the cool China climate, the temperate China climate and the cold steppe climate. Unique to Lesotho is its high location: the entire country is at an altitude of at least 1400 meters. No country in the world has a lowest point that rises so high above sea level. The landscape varies from hilly plateaus to fairly rugged mountains, with Thabana Ntlenyana (3482 m) as the highest point. Summers are warm and fairly wet, winters are cool and dry.
Rain and snow
Lesotho has only a limited number of precipitation days per month in the winter months. Much precipitation falls in the form of rain, but especially in the higher regions it can snow in the winter months. It can even snow all year round on the highest peaks, but there is no permanent snow on the highest peaks in southern Africa.
The summer months are considerably wetter than the winter months, although the final precipitation sum is not too bad even then. A large part of the precipitation falls in the form of showers, although sometimes a single rainy day can be noted locally. The showers are often accompanied by thunderstorms: thunderstorms are also observed on no less than 70 to 90 percent of all rainy days. Due to the erratic nature of the mountains that belong to the Drakensberg mountain range, there can be reasonable differences locally in the amount of precipitation and the times at which it falls. That is why on an annual basis completely different precipitation sums per area can end up in the books. However, over a large number of years, the differences will be quite limited.
Lesotho is a very sunny country, it is also called the ‘land of the blue sky’ because of the large number of days in which the sky is clear blue. With an average of about 3200-3300 hours of sunshine per year, the country is one of the sunniest places in the southern half of Africa. This is mainly due to the relatively high location and the protective role of the mountains in and around Lesotho. Depression from the sea therefore does not have much chance of reaching Lesotho. Although the most absolute sunshine hours are recorded in the summer, the winters are relatively the sunniest. In the month of July – in which there is an average of eleven hours of daylight per day – the sun shines on average for nine hours a day.
Hurricanes do not occur in Lesotho, the country is too high, too south and too far inland for that. Strong winds are possible. The higher mountains regularly have to deal with strong to stormy winds, sometimes with strong gusts, which endanger traffic and people. For mountaineers, this should be taken into account if they want to climb the mountain walls in Lesotho. Snow storms can be a major nuisance in winter. For example, a heavy snowstorm on July 20, 2002 caused enormous nuisance, but unfortunately also resulted in twenty officially reported deaths.
During the local winter – our summer – you can go skiing in Lesotho. The one kilometer long ski slope of the Afri-Ski resort is located at an altitude of 3300 meters, on a slope of Drakensberg. Rich South Africans mainly come here to ski. In the absence of sufficient natural snow, artificial snow is sprayed on the slopes at night. The ski season runs from June to September.
In the winter months the weather is quite mild in the low areas and on the cool side in the higher regions of Lesotho. Frost is possible throughout Lesotho during the night, from 2000 to 3000 meters it can also freeze during the day. The lowest possible temperatures in winter are around minus ten to minus fourteen degrees. On the ground it can be one or two degrees cooler. During the day, it is also more spring-like than winters in winter, with the exception of the highest peaks.
Despite the fairly high location, Lesotho is still warm in the summer. The cooling effect of seawater is almost inapplicable here, making it an average of 26 to 32 degrees during the day. In combination with little precipitation and a lot of sun, it is very pleasant here in summer.
The figures below are based on long-term average climate statistics. The temperatures are displayed in degrees Celsius (°C).
|Maximum temperature||Minimum temperature||Hours of sunshine per day||Days of rainfall per month|
Best time to visit Lesotho
Do you want to know when is the best time to travel to Lesotho? You can determine the best time to travel to a destination based on the weather and climate. In addition, there are other factors that are not directly related to the weather and that can influence the best travel periods for a travel destination. Think, for example, of holidays or festive periods, which makes traveling more interesting or not, because daily life comes to a standstill as a result. Lesotho is a fairly small country in the southern part of Africa, which is completely enclosed by the country of South Africa. The country lies entirely above an altitude of 1400 meters above sea level and has a mix of plateaus and mountains. Due to its altitude, Lesotho has a less warm climate than you would expect based on its topographical location. Many experience the weather in Lesotho as very pleasant because of this. In winter it is cooler, but rarely too cold. In the summer months it is warm, but rarely too hot. Since Lesotho is located in the Southern Hemisphere, the seasons are opposite to our seasons. Lesotho is a country that you can visit all year round. Winter is cooler, but it is also the driest period. Summer is warmer, but on the other hand is the wettest period of the year. Spring and autumn are exactly in between: not really warm, rarely too cold and a precipitation pattern that is fine for many people. It sometimes rains, but it does not happen so quickly that it rains for days in a row.
Best time to visit
The local summer ( November to March ) is considered by many to be the best time to travel for a holiday in Lesotho. It is then warm, the sun often shines and the amounts of rain are acceptable. For whom the temperature is slightly less important and the amount of rain has more influence, the months of April, September and October are a very good alternative. For a tour of Lesotho, we would probably opt for the mid-season months rather than the middle of summer.