Stunning Lesotho as a Location for your production
1. Location and access for your production
Whilst Lesotho provides the ideal location for your production if you are looking for wild, untouched wilderness, it is also surprisingly accessible.
This little land-locked country sits at at an average of 2161m above sea level, and is in the top-5 locations worldwide. The difference, however, between Lesotho and its venerable podium-finishers is that this pristine, back country wilderness is very accessible…..
Seemingly impenetrable mountain ranges with peaks and deep valleys interspersed with undulating grass landscapes and sandstone formations make Lesotho a tough place to navigate. But break through her defenses and you will encounter the most incredible beauty. Stark wilderness interspersed with traditional, rural thatched villages and laughing children and where ‘Basotho’ ponies are the preferred mode of transport.
Landlocked and surrounded by South Africa, Lesotho provides incredible locations in its own right. It can also be combined with the proven locations of South Africa. Equi-distant from the buzz of Johannesburg and the balmy sub-tropical Durban and Kwa-Zulu Natal, Lesotho offers compelling reasons to be included on a location list.
Infrastructure is adequate, depending on your destination, with acceptable roads covering most parts (and really rough 4×4 tracks covering the balance), so don’t be concerned about accessibility by road.
2. Snow in Africa
Yes, Africa gets snow. Not only is there snow in winter, there is a lot of it. Lesotho even has its own ski-resort, Afriski, with snow machines, ski-lifts and Alpine landscapes, and the obligatory Après-ski.
Access is quite easy (provided they are not snowed in), so you could be on the ski-slopes in the morning, and on a sub-tropical beach on the Indian Ocean in the afternoon – or visa versa. That is not an exaggeration – Film Fixers have already delivered on that to clients.
3. Lesotho Mountains
Lesotho is completely surrounded by mountains, with the soaring Drakensberg sweeping around the eastern flank, joining the Maluti mountains on the western side. It is the only independent state in the world that lies entirely above 1,000 metres above sea level. In fact, nearly three-quarters of Lesotho lies above 2 000 metres above sea level!
These mountains are magnificent, untouched and imposing. Access is through iconic mountain passes, with Sani Pass to the east and Moteng Pass to the west. The geology and geography of Lesotho provides a very wide range of location options, and can easily be mistaken for Alpine and/or Himalayan climes.
4. Lesotho Lakes, Rivers and Waterfalls
These magnificent mountains also means that Lesotho is a watershed for Southern Africa, as a result rivers and mountains create stunning waterfalls across the small landlocked country. The iconic Tugela Falls is one of them.
At 948m it is the second-highest waterfall in the world, and certainly the most accessible . Equally accessible at 192 metres is the Maletsunyane Falls located near the town of Semonkong (meaning place of smoke).
Lesotho is also the source of most of the major waterways in South Africa, including the Gariep River which begins its life in Lesotho as the Senqu River) and the Tugela River.
Lesotho is the feeder for the renowned Lesotho Highlands water project which involved the creation of a series of five lakes (or dams), with the largest – Katse Dam – being Africa’s largest double-curvature arch dam.
This dam feeds water into the scheme through a 4 metre diameter underground pipe over 45 kilometers, which is also used for the dual benefit of hydro-electric power generation.
5. The People of Lesotho
Since the Stone Age, Lesotho has been home to the Khoi people (called the First People), and was ‘colonised’ in the 19th century by the Sotho tribe, led by Moshoeshoe. Consequently, this has provided Lesotho with a strong cultural historical and cultural background, and a vibrant history.
The Sotho are warm friendly, and instantly recognisable by their iconic hats and blankets. Lesotho has a population of 2.2 million people, with over 75% living in rural areas.
6. Costs and Logistics of your film shoot
Like South Africa, Lesotho is an extremely cost-effective location destination. Within reachable proximity of local and international airports, as well as by road, Lesotho also offers affordable options and alternatives to cover a wide range of location options. And whilst not widepread, there is sufficient decent accommodation to meet the needs of small to medium-sized crews. Other logistics, including equipment, generators and crew – if required – are within easy reach in South Africa.
Lesotho is the hidden gem when it comes to afordable locations. In most cases, filming permissions are managed through relationships at governmental level – with a government only too keen to welcome exposure for the mountain kingdom.
If you are looking for pure mountain wilderness as a location, and have limited time or budget – or both – or simply want to explore this incredible mountain kingdom, consider putting Lesotho on your list as a location for your next film shoot.
We have given you 7 Reasons to consider Lesotho as a Location for your production. Tell us if you find more!