Lesotho - Abbey Travel, Ireland


Begin Your Search

    • 16+ yrs

    • 12-15 yrs

    • 2-11 yrs

    • 0-23 mnth

Found Item

Welcome to Lesotho


Enclosed by South Africa on all sides, but separated from it by the huge Drakensberg and Maluti mountain ranges, the mountainous kingdom of Lesotho is small and rounded in shape, situated on a plateau of over 3,281ft (1,000m) with peaks reaching to heights of more than 10,000ft (3,000m). Sani Pass is a breathtaking entry-point into Lesotho from South Africa's Drakensberg National Park and is the gateway to the 'Roof of Africa' scenic route, linking the magnificent scenery of the two mountain ranges.

Popularly described as the 'Kingdom in the Sky', the lofty highlands are characterised by majestic mountain scenery, crisp mountain air and the simple serenity of the traditional lifestyles of its people. Pony trekking is one of the finest ways to experience the Lesotho highlands, with time spent in remote Basotho villages scattered among the grassy hills, where waterfalls saturate the surrounding rocks with rainbow-coloured mist and crystal clear streams criss-cross the landscape. The region is also perfect for those who prefer to test the sure-footedness of their own two feet, with miles of solitary scenery to appreciate, an abundance of trout in the rivers and dams and the assurance of a warm and friendly welcome in the rugged mountain hamlets. The central highlands is home to the highest waterfall in southern Africa, the Maletsunyane Falls near Semonkong (meaning 'Place of Smoke'), which thunders from a height of 624ft (192m) and is at its most spectacular during the summer rainy season.

From the heights of the Maluti Mountains, the land descends to the western lowlands where all the major towns are to be found and where two thirds of the population live. Maseru, the capital, is a fascinating city of contrasting modern and traditional lifestyles. Blanket-clad horsemen sidestep the traffic jams on their way to market, and woven handicrafts are displayed on the busy pavements outside new glass buildings filled with self-important office workers.

Time spent in Lesotho will allow visitors to observe an African country filled with an extraordinary appeal, a kingdom of rugged beauty and unchanging culture that remains natural and largely unaffected by tourism.

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.

Duty Free

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.
Getting Around

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 into Lesotho.


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 unreliable.

Passport Visa

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.

} ());
ACCEPT COOKIESTo give you the best possible experience, this site uses cookies. Using this site means you agree to our use of cookies. We have published a cookies policy, which you should read to find out more about the cookies we use. View cookies policy.