Lesotho’s glorious natural beauty, and the various ways to view it, is undoubtedly the main draws for most travelers. Things to do range from puttering around on a pony to hiking, walking and birding. History takes on a different perspective here, with rural communities still living as they have for centuries. One-day walking tours around traditional settlements give a glimpse into village life, while the iconic San Bushman rock art links its admirers to the dawn of humankind.

Lesotho’s mountainous topography lends itself to challenging outdoor pursuits such as abseiling, rock climbing and mountain biking, while hang gliding and paragliding offers unparalleled views of the peaks. Skiing in Africa may sound contradictory, but the country’s altitude produces plenty of winter snow at the peaks, and several small resorts are already established. The fascinating dinosaur trails with their giant fossilized footprints preserved for eternity are the largest concentration of prehistoric remnants in the world.

An unforgettable glimpse at traditional village life in Lesotho is best experienced by pony trek around the country’s unspoiled western region. A number of local companies offer single and multi-day excurions, visiting villages and staying overnight in rondavel huts after a day of viewing stunning scenery from the back of a sturdy, sure-footed pony. Responsible Travel provides lodge accommodations, evening entertainment from Basotho children’s choirs and local bands and a visit to the local healer.

For winter sports enthusiasts, Oxbow and Afriski are the skiing centers of the country, set high in the Drakensberg Mountains. They are particularly busy with South African residents in the winter months of June and July. At an altitude of 8,000 feet, there’s plenty of snow and accommodations in charming cabins at Oxbow or in the newer, slightly larger Afriski resort. Club Maluti is a ski club set on Maluti Mountain, providing basic lodging and equipment as well as hiking and mountain biking late in the season.

The fascinating dinosaur footprints and fossilized skeletons can be seen at several locations in Lesotho, with the best found in the Quthing district, close to the Ellenberger Cave. More can be seen outside the northern township of Leribe and at southwestern Morija and Roma. The footprints and remains lay in ancient sandstone strata, exposed by millennia of weathering. They include those of Lesotho’s very own unique little dinosaur, the Lesothosaurus, whose skeleton is now in London’s Natural History Museum. Malealea Tours offers trips to all the sites.

Off-the-beaten-path enthusiasts will love Lesotho for its many adventure sports, including climbing, abseiling, hiking high in the mountains, off-road racing, mountain biking, kayaking, quad-biking, parasailing, and more. The country’s magnificent and pristine environment is perfect for unique experiences, and Dirty Boots specializes in guiding visitors to the top places for adrenaline-pumping activities.