Information & Facts
Business in Lesotho tends to follow usual business practices: be
punctual, exchange business cards and show respect for your hosts,
but anticipate a generally relaxed atmosphere. Suits and ties are
the norm, though a lightweight material is best. Business hours are
usually from 8.30am to 12.30pm and 2pm to 4.30pm Mondays to
Fridays, and 8am to 1pm on Saturdays.
Weather conditions in Lesotho vary greatly depending on the
altitude. Summer (October to April) is the hot, rainy season, with
the hottest days in January and February, and the most rain falling
between March and May and October and November. Days are sunny with
electric afternoon thunderstorms, and temperatures range from
around 86ºF (30°C) in the lowlands with cooler temperatures as the
altitude increases, averaging about 64°F (18°C) in the mountains.
Snow falls mainly in winter from May to September, but can occur in
the mountains at any time of year. Winter can be bitterly cold,
particularly in the highlands, but days are usually clear and
sunny. Temperatures can fall to 20°F (-7°C) in the lowlands and 0°F
(-18°C) in the highlands. At any time of year the weather can
change very rapidly in the highlands, from warm sunshine to mist,
rain and freezing temperatures.
The international dialling code for Lesotho is +266. The
outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g.
0027 for South Africa). There are no city/area codes required.
Telephone and fax services are available in all main towns and at
major hotels. Internet cafes are available in Maseru. A GSM 900
mobile network is limited to the main urban areas and has limited
active roaming agreements with other mobile phone operators;
visitors should check with their local networks to see if they have
roaming agreements with the operators in Lesotho.
Photographs of government buildings, the airport or the palace
should not be taken: it is always best to ask if unsure. It is
customary to ask permission from the local village Headman or Chief
before camping, and to inform the Headman or Chief if spending any
time within his village. Homosexuality is illegal.
Travellers to Lesotho do not have to pay duty on 400 cigarettes,
50 cigars or 250g tobacco; 2 litres wine and 1 litre of alcohol;
250ml eau de toilette and 50ml perfume; other gifts to the value of
L500. No liquor may be imported by South African nationals.
Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. The
three-prong, round pin South African plug is used.
As in neighbouring South Africa, getting around in Lesotho for
most people involves minibus taxis. The service is quick and
inexpensive, but confusing for foreigners and very uncomfortable as
the drivers pack the vehicles as tightly as possible. Ask another
passenger what the fare is to avoid being overcharged. There are
regular taxis available, which have a yellow stripe down the side.
It's best to agree on a fare before getting into the car. It is
possible to hire a car at the airport or at either of the Sun
Hotels, although most travellers find it cheaper to hire a vehicle
in South Africa. If you do so, be sure to get permission to take it
Lesotho's high altitude and crisp mountain air does not present
many health problems for travellers, although its high elevation
leaves the possibility of altitude sickness for recently arrived
visitors. A yellow fever certificate is required from travellers
coming from an infected area. HIV/AIDS is prevalent. Water should
not be drunk unless it is boiled or filtered. There is a lack of
good medical facilities, and medical attention is often sought in
neighbouring South Africa. Visitors should carry a personal supply
of medicine as supplies are limited. Lesotho's Flying Doctor
service provides emergency medical services to remote parts of the
country. Medical insurance is essential and should include
emergency air evacuation coverage, especially if planning to spend
time in remote mountainous regions.
English is the official language, but Sesotho, Xhosa and
Zulu are widely spoken.
The official currency is the Loti (LSL) or plural Maloti, which
is divided into 100 lisente. It has the same value as the South
African Rand, and rands are accepted as legal currency. Banks and
exchange bureaus are found in Maseru and in most main towns. Most
major hotels, shops, restaurants and travel agencies accept credit
cards; though it is best to check with credit and debit card
companies as to their acceptance before leaving home. Travellers
cheques can be cashed at banks in Maseru. Local ATMs in Lesotho
have the facility to accept international ATM cards but are
All foreign passengers to Lesotho must hold return/onward
tickets, the necessary travel documentation for their next
destination, and sufficient funds to cover their expenses while in
the country. Visa-exempt visitors who wish to stay in Lesotho for
longer than their allotted 14 days, should apply for extensions at
the Lesotho Immigration Authorities WITHIN the initial 14-day
period. Note that a yellow fever vaccination certificate is
required to enter Lesotho, if arriving within six days of leaving
or transiting through an infected area. NOTE: It is highly
recommended that your passport has at least six months validity
remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel
destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to
those stated by travel agents and official sources.
Safety in Lesotho is not generally a serious issue but there has
been an increase in opportunistic crime and gun-related crimes, due
to a high unemployment rate in the cities. Most incidents occur in
Maseru, but visitors should also be alert elsewhere to theft, car
hijackings and muggings. Muggers often target foreigners and
foreign vehicles have been involved in recent hijackings near
Malealea Lodge south of Maseru. Avoid walking around with valuables
or else keep them out of sight, and do not walk alone in isolated
areas or in Maseru after dark. Driving through rural areas after
dark is also not recommended. Sporadic demonstrations are possible
and should be avoided if possible.
All service staff, including tour guides and game rangers, are
customarily tipped between 10 and 15%, which they rely on to boost
their low wages.