Lesotho at a glance.

A beautiful country, its mountains and landscape will not disappoint you. A country which has kept a traditional life and culture. Real Africa!

Now it´s easier to travel around as most of the main roads are tarred, but the accommodation options are still limited.

If you have the opportunity, travelling around South Africa, go and visit Lesotho!

   MONEY    


The Lesotho currency is a Maloti
Average exchange rate: 1 euro =  13,70 LSL 


Rand or Maloti, they are 1:1
No SA Rand coins accepted in Lesotho, only bills. 

If not staying very long in Lesotho, it´s just better to use South Africa Rands.

Many ATMs in the towns. Also possible to pay by card.
Not always in remote places, so better carry cash too.
No extra charge for foreign cards. Good exchange rate, no extra commissions, good withdraw limit.


   WEATHER   

  • The rainy season is from november til april, with more rain in january and february.
  • If driving off road, keep this in mind.
  • We were there early December and had rainy and sunny days. The temperature was nice.
  • It´s a high country, most of the places are around 2.000 m high and more. So take warm clothes. The temperatures can drop down, even minus. Snow in winter (june to august, even latter).


   VISA AND BORDERS FOR LESOTHO   

No visa needed for Spanish passport (and most of UE), 30 days stamp.

Lesotho is in the middle of South Africa, like an "island", with different border posts, mostly north and northwest. Most of the border posts are modern. Check the opening time online for last updates, not all are open 24 hours... if travelling at night.

Border car tax: 30 R (2 €). No special papers needed, even if car rental.

Information: www.foreign.gov.ls


   FOOD & DRINKS   
  • There are big supermarkets, South African brands, only in the big cities, specially on the northern part of the country. In the main rural towns, there a small supermarkets and shops.
  • Prices are quite similar in Lesotho and SA.
  • If you are going to the mountains, it´s better that you do some shopping first.
  • Not many restaurants, outside the big towns, and the lodges restaurants themselves.
  • We prepared our own food, most of the cheap lodges have a kitchen and bbq facilities.
  • Water is usually safe to drink and very pure in the mountains.

   ROADS AND DRIVING IN LESOTHO   

Lesotho is a small country but it takes time to travel around. Big mountains and gorges, so don´t expect driving too fast (in average, around 40- 50 km/h in the mountains and 80 km/h on the flatter routes, on tarred roads).
  • The roads in the mountains are really steep, even the tarred ones. With our small Ford Fiesta, with only two people and light staff, we needed to turn to first gear to go up in some steep parts. 
  • In 2014, most of the main roads, even in the mountains, are tarred. So a normal sedan car is fine to travel around. 
  • Otside the main roads, there is a big net of small roads great for lovers of “off road”. And there you really need a strong 4x4 and experience.

  •  The roads going to the big dams, Katse and Mohale, are tarred till the dams but then maybe not completely tarred yet and fine going more up into the mountains. Check first, things are changing in this small country, they are repairing some roads.
  • Try to get the latest information on roads before going if going to remote places or lodges.
  • The famous Sani Pass is only for 4x4!But it seems that there are plans of paving it... for 2016! Check.
  • The road going to Qacha´s Nek from South Africa is only tarred 10 km north of Matatiele and then it´s a 20 km gravel road, quite fine without rain.
  • Most of the borders on the mountains side (west, south and east) except Qacha´s Nek are only suitable with a 4x4. The borders on the northern side with South Africa are tarred.
  • Always keep left. In Lesotho, it´s like in South Africa and UK, the driver seats right of the car.

   TRANSPORTS IN LESOTHO   

Many buses, minibuses, vans, taxis on the northern part of Lesotho (Roma, Maseru, Butha Butha) but we also saw vans on the road to Qacha´s Neck and other small and remote towns.
Yes, you can travel around Lesotho by public transport. Cheaper and easier than in South Africa.

If you want to travel by car, renting one, it´s better, more companies and cheaper to rent it in South Africa. You can see rentalcars, to get cheap price.
Bloemfontein is the closest big city in South Africa. Johannesburg, Durban and East London are not too far.

No special papers are needed to cross the border by car, even with a rental car.

The price of petrol is cheaper in Lesotho than in South Africa. There´s only unleaded 93, not 95, and costs 11.30 R/l.

Tours to Lesotho
Most of the overlanders tours that cross Lesotho just go near Malealea.
Many of the lodges in the Drakensberg offer day tours to eastern Lesotho (like Amphitheatre Backpackers, near Royal Natal, in the northern Drakensberg).
It´s possible to take transport to the Sani Pass from Underberg – Himeville (southern Drakensberg) and also tours.

   OTHER USEFUL INFORMATION ABOUT LESOTHO      

  • TELECOMS IN LESOTHO
We did not buy a SIM card but we saw many small shops selling Vodacom. Cheap.

  • NATIONAL PARKS IN LESOTHO

We did not go. Just a few ones, not always suitable with a sedan car. Mountains, waterfalls, etc. No game parks.
Price is quite cheap, around 40LSL/pp (3 euros) and 10 LSL/car.



  • ACTIVITIES IN LESOTHO
Lesotho is famous in Southern Africa cause there are a few places to ski (but just very small distances!), like Afriski.
Also most of the lodges offer pony trekings (around 20 €/half day trip), mountain-bike adventure, moto-cross... We didn´t try these activities, not too interested in joining a tour. But the offer is big.
  • LANGUAGES - COMMUNICATION IN LESOTHO


English is an official language but not always widely spoken specially in the mountains and rural areas. 
Most of the people speak Sesotho, but the communication is not a problem for travellers.

  • HEALTH IN LESOTHO
Lesotho is malaria free, as it´s high mountains country.
Lots of repellent at the supermarkets, like “Sleep Well” or “Tabard”, quite cheap (around 30 to 50 R).
Water is usually safe to drink.
Supermarkets are modern and clean.
Big AIDS rate.

  • ELECTRIC PLUGS
Special type of plug, like in South Africa, with 3 big round holes. You need an adapter.

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