The best known natural landmark in Lesotho is Maletsunyane Falls. It belongs to top-league waterfalls of the world due to its impressive height (192 m), magnificent setting, rather wide stream and "clean", uninterrupted fall.

Waterfall has formed on Maletsunyane – tributary of Orange Rive, which falls over the ledge of Triassic – Jurassic basalt.

Often it is erroneously stated that this beautiful waterfall is the tallest (or second tallest) free falling waterfall in this part of Africa. This is not true: for example, the longest drop of Tugela Falls (South Africa) is 411 m tall, Kalambo Falls (Zambia) are 221 – 235 m tall.

Nevertheless Maletsunyane Falls have special qualities – natural setting of falls among tall cliff walls is very impressive, there opens a fine view on waterfall.

Maletsunyane Falls, Lesotho
Maletsunyane Falls / Fiver Löcker, Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0.

In winter the waterfall often is adorned with enormous icicles. Sun does not shine at the foot of waterfall – thus the ice stays there up to the early summer.

The first European to see these falls was French missionary François Le Bihan (1833 – 1916) in 1881. Falls have given a name to the nearby town of Semonkong – "Site of smoke".

It is possible to abseil next to the falls – this is the tallest commercial abseil in the world, 200 m high.

Maletsunyane Falls on the map
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Location, GPS coordinates: 29.8684 S 28.0511 E
Categories: Waterfalls
Values: Geology, Visual
Rating: 4 out of 10 stars
Where is located? Africa, Lesotho, Maseru district, some 80 km south-east from Maseru (direct line), near Semonkong
Alternate names: Le Bihan Falls, Lebihan Falls, Semonkong Falls
Height: 192 m
Width: 25 m
Stream: Maletsunyane

Landmarks of Lesotho

Mountains in Lesotho
Mountains in Lesotho / Di Jones, Flickr / CC BY 2.0.
Lesotho is friendly country with gorgeous scenery. Highlights of this country are the impressive horseshoe waterfalls, including the world-class Maletsunyane Falls, as well as the amazing plateau – fortress Thaba-Bosiu and prehistoric rock art.

Waterfalls and rapids

Virginia Falls, Canada
Virginia Falls / Paul Gierszewski, / public domain
Some of the most fascinating and awe inspiring natural monuments are waterfalls, or locations where a river abruptly changes its elevation.

Recommended books

The Rough Guide to South Africa, Lesotho & Swaziland

Whether you want to explore the country’s big sights — from the wilds of Kruger National Park and the best spots for whale watching to Cape Town’s vibrant dining scene — or to uncover its many hidden gems, such as the dramatic desert scenery of the Richtersveld, The Rough Guide to South Africa is your indispensible traveling companion.

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