The mention of Africa often brings to mind images of jungles, savannas, and deserts. However, one small African country is also known as the “Kingdom in the Sky.”

The small mountainous nation of Lesotho is landlocked within the borders of South Africa. Covering an area of 11,720 Sq mi (30,355 km2), it is the largest of the world's three independent states which are completely surrounded by another country. (Vatican City and San Marino are the other two.)

Lesotho lies on the highlands between two mountain ranges. As a result, It has the highest “low” elevation point of any country in the world: 4,593 feet (1,400 m) above sea level. Over 80 percent of the country lies over 5,906 ft (1,800 m) above sea level. Due to the elevation, Lesotho remains cooler throughout the year than other regions of Africa at the same latitude.

Lesotho’s dramatic landscape includes stunning waterfalls and mountain peaks, which are often capped with snow. The country’s highest elevation is the mountain Thabana Ntlenyana, at 11,424 feet (3,482 m) above sea level.

Because Lesotho has limited food resources, a majority of families in the country raise their own food and livestock. While beautiful, the country is not without social issues; significant levels of child labor exist, although the country is in the process of formulating a program to eliminate it. Also, according to the UN, Lesotho has the highest rape rate of any country (91.6 per 100,000 people rate for reported rape in 2008).

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