The most notable geographic fact about Lesotho, apart from its status as an enclave, is that it is the only independent state in the world that lies entirely above 1,000 metres (3,281 ft) in elevation. Its lowest point is at 1,400 metres (4,593 ft), the highest lowest point of any country. Because of its elevation, the country's climate is cooler than in most other regions at the same latitude. Its climate zone can be classified as continental.
Lesotho is a country in Southern Africa, located at around 29°30' south latitude and 28°30' east longitude. It is the 141st largest country in the world, with a total land area of 30,355 square kilometres (11,720 sq mi), of which a negligible percentage is covered with water.
Lesotho is completely surrounded by South Africa, making it one of only four countries in the world that are enclaves within another country; the other three are San Marino and Vatican City, both located within Italy, and Principality of Monaco, located in France.The total length of the South African border is 909 kilometres (565 mi).Lesotho's status as an enclave also means that it is landlocked and largely dependent on South Africa. The nearest major shipping port is Durban.
Lesotho can be roughly divided into three geographic regions: the lowlands, following the southern banks of the Caledon River, and in the Senqu river valley; the highlands formed by the Drakensberg and Maloti mountain ranges in the east and central parts of the country; and the foothills that form a divide between the lowlands and the highlands.
The lowest elevation in the country is at the junction of the Makhaleng and Orange (Senqu) rivers (at the South African border), which at 1,400 metres (4,593 ft) is the highest lowest point of any country.
Lesotho is the only independent state in the world that lies entirely above 1,000 metres (3,281 ft) in elevation. The highest point is the peak of the Thabana Ntlenyana mountain, which reaches an elevation of 3,482 metres (11,424 ft). Over 80% of Lesotho lies above 1,800 metres (5,906 ft).
Even though very little of Lesotho is covered in water, the rivers that run across the country are an important part of Lesotho's economy. Much of the country's export income comes from water, and much of its power comes from hydroelectricity.
The Orange River rises in the Drakensberg mountains in northeastern Lesotho and flows across the entire length of the country before exiting to South Africa at the Mohale's Hoek District in the southwest. The Caledon River marks the northwestern part of the border with South Africa. Other rivers include the Malibamatso, Matsoku and Senqunyane.
The bedrock of Lesotho belongs to the Karoo Supergroup, consisting mostly of shale and sandstone. Peatlands can be found in the highlands of Lesotho, most extensively in the mountainous escarpment near the country's eastern border. The summit of Thabana Ntlenyana is partially encircled by bogs.