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Maliba Mountain Lodge
Maliba Mountain Lodge - dream vacation

T'shehlanyane National Park, Butha-Buthe

Seilatsatsi B&B
Seilatsatsi B&B - dream vacation

Ha Mabote Main North 1 Road, Maseru

Maluti Stay
Maluti Stay - dream vacation

5 Maluti Stay Lodge Ramabanta 5, Maseru

Blue Crane B&B
Blue Crane B&B - dream vacation

579 Qhoali street, Thetsane West Or P.O Box 8908, Maseru

Lesotho is a small and poor country totally surrounded by South Africa.

Known as the Kingdom in the Sky because of its lofty altitude — its lowest point is the highest of any country in the world at 1,400 m and is the only whole country that could be called a "Munro" since it is entirely above 900 m (3,000 ft)! Lesotho is a fantastic adventure holiday destination because of its smiling and resourceful people and bracing climate.


  • Maseru — the capital
  • Hlotse (also known as Leribe) — regional market hub, with great craft shopping
  • Mafeteng
  • Mohale's Hoek
  • Mokhotlong
  • Qacha's Nek
  • Quthing — fantastic rock art nearby
  • Teyateyaneng (often referred to as just 'TY') — the craft centre of Lesotho
  • Thaba-Tseka

Other destinations

  • Afriski — ski and mountain resort for skiing in winter (June - September) and mountain adventure sport in summer (October - April)
  • Sehlabathebe National Park — remote mountain reserve great for hiking with rare wildlife, impressive waterfalls, and ancient rock paintings and stone shelters
  • Ts'ehlanyane National Park — sub-alpine national park at the foot of the Holomo Pass. Home to one of the few remaining Che-Che (old wood) forests, with hiking trails and pristine rock pools and rivers
  • Katse — pony-trekking and the impressive Katse Dam
  • Malealea — pony-trekking
  • Morija — museum, dinosaur footprints
  • Oxbow — one of the handful of places in Africa to go skiing
  • Semonkong — Maletsunyane Falls — one of the highest single drop waterfalls in the world
  • Thaba Bosiu — the mountain stronghold where King Moeshoeshoe the Great established the Kingdom of Lesotho



Before European settlement of the area, the Sotho-Tswana people lived in what is now Free State in neighbouring South Africa. They were a farming people, and when the Zulus started attacking villages and the Dutch Voortrekkers started encroaching on their land, they fled up into the Lesotho mountains. Here, continuous attacks from the Zulus forced local tribes to join together for protection, and by 1824, King Moeshoeshoe had established himself as king and Thaba Bosiu as his mountain fortress.

Moeshoeshoe later allied himself with the British Cape Colony government in a bid to protect the Basotho from the Boers' rapidly increasing presence in the area. Much fighting followed, forcing Moeshoeshoe to go straight to the imperial government of the British, and in 1868, Basotholand (as it was then called, later to be called Basutoland) became a protectorate of the British Empire. It gained independence within the Commonwealth of Nations on 4 Oct 1966.


The Kingdom of Lesotho was formed through the pursuit of peace, and this peaceful nature still exists in the Basotho. They are a friendly and welcoming people and do not have the aggressive history some of the peoples of neighbouring countries have. People are especially grateful to Brits, and the older generation will come up to a Brit and tell them how much they thank them for saving them from Apartheid!


Lesotho has 300 days of sunshine. The rainy season extends from October to April in which Lesotho gets 70mm of rainfall, mostly during severe thunderstorms. Extensive snow falls are possible in winter but may occur in any month on the high mountains. Night time temperatures go below freezing in winter (May — September), and houses do not feature central heating, so bring a jacket.


  • Independence Day (4th October) celebrates the day that Lesotho achieved independence from the British Empire.
  • Moshoeshoe Day (14th March) celebrates the life of the founding father of the country. In Maseru, the procession goes from the Palace all the way to the Sotho Stadium, and involves many people dressed up in Lesotho's vibrant and colourful traditional dress — usually comprising blankets and sticks and if you're lucky, the cat hat. Women involved in the parade will be carrying huge bundles of sticks, as they traditionally would do, whilst the men will either be doing traditional dances, riding horses, or herding bulls along the road! At the stadium, after the procession has arrived, there are military and police parades, which aren't nearly so enjoyable.

Get in

Entry requirements

Foreign nationals of the following countries/territories can enter Lesotho visa-free:

For up to 90 days: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Brunei, Cameroon, Dominica, Fiji Gambia, Grenada, Guyana, Hong Kong SAR, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kiribati, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Monaco, Namibia, Nauru, North Korea, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States, Vanuatu, Zambia and Zimbabwe

For up to 14 days: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland

Your passport needs to be valid for another six months and you need at least two blank pages. The proof of a return or onward ticket or your future travel plans might be asked, but this should not be a problem.

If you require a visa to enter Lesotho, you might be able to apply for one at a British embassy, high commission or consulate in the country where you legally reside if there is no foreign mission of Lesotho. For example, the British embassies/consulates in Al Khobar[1], Almaty[2], Belgrade[3], Budapest[4], Geneva[5], Guatemala City[6], Jeddah, Prague[7], Pristina[8], Riyadh, Rome[9], Sofia[10], Vienna[11] and Zurich[12] accept Lesotho visa applications (this list is not exhaustive). British diplomatic posts charge £50 to process a Lesotho visa application and an extra £70 if the authorities in Lesotho require the visa application to be referred to them. The authorities in Lesotho can also decide to charge an additional fee if they correspond with you directly.

By plane

Moshoeshoe Airport is located 18km from Maseru. South African Airways [13] and Airlink [14] operate daily flights between Maseru and Johannesburg, typically costing around 1,400 South African rand (R). Luggage is lost very regularly and there is no lost luggage reporting system. You should arrange taxi pick-up in advance as often there are no taxis at the airport. Taxis charge around R50-80.

By train

There is no train line within Lesotho, but the South African railway line Bloemfontein Bohlokong (freight only) runs along the northwestern Lesotho border, with a stop in Meqheleng.

By car

You will be coming from South Africa when entering by car. The major border posts are Caledonspoort, Ficksburg Bridge, Makhaleng Bridge, Maseru Bridge, Ngoangoma Gate, Peka Bridge, Qacha's Nek, Ramatseliso's Gate, Sani Pass, Sephaphos Gate, Tele Bridge and Van Rooyen's Gate. Please note that some of the border posts can only be accessed by four-wheel driven cars, and only Maseru Bridge and Ficksburg Bridge are open 24 hours; other borders can close as early as 4PM.

The Maseru Bridge can be crowded due to traffic, but the border guards are rather quick. There is a R30 road toll when driving in to Maseru.

The Sani Pass Road (P318) from north of Himesville to the South African Border control point 7 km from the border is fine for normal cars. From there, it's officially 4WD, high clearance vehicles only until the Sani Top South African border police post. The South Africans may not bother to tell you that after you leave their control point this "road" then becomes a narrow, winding and incredibly steep, rocky track that feels like you are climbing into a mist shrouded, lost world if they feel like a laugh. Once you have started the final climb you are committed, since there is no room to turn around if you find the challenge too great for you or your vehicle. However, going into Lesotho from the border, the Sani Pass Road has been sealed and is in very good condition all the way to Maseru (Nov 2016).

The main roads in Lesotho are similar to minor roads in Europe — they are sealed, and free of potholes. The A1 road (aka 'Main North') is tarred from Maseru to Mokhotlong, and the A2 (aka 'Main South') is tarred from Maseru to Qacha's Nek. The roads to Roma, Mohale Dam, Semonkong and Katse Dam are also tarred. For the visitor, the only unsealed road you are likely to use is the last 20km to Malealea, which is easy in a saloon (sedan). Note that the road running east-west to Thaba Tseka is now sealed and in good condition.

If setting off in to the mountains, check your car over before the trip (top up the oil, pump the spare tyre, etc.) There are some steep climbs which require 2nd or even 1st gear to get up — so don't attempt to drive to Qacha's Nek with 5 people squeezed into a hired 1.3 litre CitiGolf.

If in doubt, please ask locals if the road you are going to take is okay, especially during wintertime. The truth is that if you keep to the main roads you are likely to drive on a road smoother than Eastern Free State (RSA) roads. However the stretch from Oxbow to Mokhotlong is not tarred (regardless of some maps that claim it is) and very potholed.

When taking a rented car, be sure to get permission from the rental company to take the car into Lesotho. You will need to show written permission from the rental company at border control. Be clear with your rental agency about what's covered and what's not in order to avoid unpleasant surprises. Full coverage doesn't necessarily mean full coverage.

Finally, petrol can be a problem if you wish to go to the mountains, it is best to fill up in Butha-Buthe if you wish to go to Mokhotlong as there are no fillings stations all the way to the district's camptown which goes by the same name, If you wish to go to Thaba-Tseka you can fill up at Maseru or Hlotse, or any of the towns you will come across such as Lejone, Seshote and 'Mamohau depending on which route you took. You will find both leaded and unleaded petrol (gasoline) including diesel in most filling stations, there are multiple filling stations in most towns. Diesel fuel dispensers are usually remote normally behind the filling stations.

By bus

Vaal-Maseru runs a coach service between Johannesburg and Maseru.

Minibuses run pretty much anywhere from the Maseru Bridge border, but you must get there early in the morning (07:00) as there may be only 1 bus a day.

By hitchhiking

If travelling in from Bloemfontein you could hitch-hike easily enough (look out for Lesotho number plates). If going from Maseru to Bloemfontein, hanging around the border (especially on a Saturday morning) should get you a lift (offer some money).

Get around

By regular taxi

Regular taxis (you phone, they pick you up) and 4+1s — have a yellow stripe down the side and squeeze in 4 passengers. Always check the cost of a taxi before you get in.

Phone +266 627 45199 for Khosana at Comfort Taxis Phone +266 631 66000 for Perfect taxis - well run and partly owned by an English Ex-pat Phone +266 584 01360 for a local guy who has a good car and is extremely reliable. Call him Tom Taxi and he will know that you are legitimate and that you know the right fares.

By minibus taxi

As with most of Africa the minibus 'taxi' (aka combi or Toyota Hiace) is the transport of the people.

Be sure you are clear on where the minibus is going (there should be a sign in the front windscreen), you'll be asked for money after a minute or two, with money being passed down the minibus. Try to get the front seat by the driver for more leg room. Prices are fixed by the government. There is a risk of overcharging foreigners — ask the other passengers if you are not sure of the price. Be warned, the reason the Minibus taxis are so cheap is because of the way they fit so many people in. Don't be surprised to see kids sitting on laps four or five high, or to be told to have large amounts of luggage on your lap or wedged in around you. The Minibus taxis tend to be poorly maintained and are not insured. However, very few accidents involving taxis occur.

Intercity travel by taxi will cost no more than M50 (maloti) for a single way ticket, and inner city minibus taxi rides will cost you around M2.50 (4+1s will cost you M20 for the whole car, no matter how many are with you, provided its within a city.)

Always check the cost of a taxi before you get in.

Finding a taxi

Upon arrival in one of the main towns, you will notice that all the minibuses are hooting their horns, which is to signal that they have space for more passengers. To flag one down, just wave to a taxi as it approaches, the conductor (who will be leaning out of the window on the kerbside of the van) will usually be shouting the destination of the taxi. If you are not sure it will be going where you want to go, ask before you get on!

In Maseru, there is a place called Setopong on Moeshoeshoe Road, near to the Shoprite by The Circle / Cathedral. This is where all the minibus taxis leave from, and if you want a taxi out of town, you should head here. However, it is a very busy and bustling place, heaving with people. It is easiest to take a 4+1 taxi toward Setopong and ask the driver to drop you off near the taxis that travel to the part of the country you are headed.

By car

It is also possible to hire a car and travel around. The Sun hotels in Maseru both have hire car places, as does the airport. If you hire your car in South Africa (probably cheaper than hiring in Lesotho) be sure to get permission to take the car across into Lesotho (the hire car insurance may not cover Lesotho).

But it's nowhere near as fun as getting up close to the locals and chatting with them!

You don't need a 4x4 to see the main sights in Lesotho — for the average visitor only the road to Semonkong will need a 4x4. The road is tarred to Mokhotlong (via Leribe) and is now tarred all the way to Qacha's Nek going south from Maseru. In the towns some side roads are unsealed but you can bump along in a saloon easily enough — If heading off in to the mountains on unsealed roads (e.g. to the Kao diamond mine) then a 4x4 is a must. The same goes for Thaba Tseka and going up or down the Sani pass.

When driving it's not advisable to stop at junctions or traffic lights at night — there is a very small chance of something nasty happening.

By plane

  • Mission Aviation Fellowship, ? +266 2232 5699. Offers flights to NGOs operating in Lesotho and also offers charter flights from Moeshoeshoe I airport in Maseru if you want to reach an inaccessible part of the country


The official languages are Sesotho and English.

Most people in the larger towns or tourist attractions speak English to a reasonable standard and a few words of Afrikaans; however, outside these areas, these languages will not be understood.


  • Semonkong Falls — these falls near Semonkong drop 200m in single plunge! In summer, you can swim in the pond below while in winter the pond freezes over and an ice enclosure develops around the falls.
  • Katse Dam — an impressive dam towering 185m in a narrow valley
  • Dinosaur footprints — well-preserved footprints of these terrible lizards exist around the country; the most accessible are near Moyeni & Morija
  • Rock art — found in many places throughout the country, the most impressive found within Liphofung Cave.


  • Pony-Trekking especially at either Malealea, Semonkong, or at the Basotho Pony-Trekking Centre — whether your a seasoned pro at horse riding or a complete novice, pony-trekking is an extremely enjoyable way to see the Lesotho countryside. These organized tours give you access to parts of the country which you wouldn't see from your car. The exceptionally sure-footed Basotho Pony can take you through far-off villages and atop daunting mountains.
  • Hiking. In the Highlands. Contact the Department of Tourism, who will find you a guide, and then fly into a completely cut off village and hike your way out, staying in remote villages over night. You can also purchase 1:25,000 topographical maps for about M25 from the office of Lands, Surveys, and Physical Planning in downtown Maseru and do this yourself (recommended only for experienced hikers).
  • Skiing — hit the slopes at Oxbow during the winter!



Lesotho's currency is the loti (plural maloti), denoted by the symbol "L" (for one loti) "M" (for more than one loti) (ISO code: LSL). It is fixed at a 1:1 ratio with the South African rand (ZAR), as are the Namibian dollar and the Swazi emalilangeni. South African currency is accepted everywhere — there is no need to change money. However you will get maloti in change (unless you ask), which is very difficult to unload in South Africa and pretty well impossible elsewhere.

There are ATMs at banks in most towns, although you will not find them elsewhere. Most banks will change travellers cheques for you, but it can be a very, very lengthy process if they are in any other currency apart from South African rand.


There are several Western style supermarkets in Maseru, which are good for stocking up on supplies in before heading elsewhere in the country.

If you're after locally made goods and crafts, your best bet is to give Maseru a miss, and head to Teyateyaneng (TY) or Hlotse, where the markets are far better and cheaper. You can buy traditional Basotho hats (Mokorotlo), sticks (molamo), rugs and various other curios. In particular, the Basotho blanket is a hallmark of Basotho culture. Equally popular in South Africa, they were brought by the English for trading purposes, but overtime became ingrained in Basotho culture and are worn as casual and formal attire. They are sold in shops and markets all over Lesotho but best prices are most likely to be found in Maseru, TY or Mafekeng.

Credit cards will be accepted in Shoprite and the main hotels, but not elsewhere. Your cashcard from home may work in some Maseru cash machines (FNB or Standard Bank) but best to get cash out in South Africa beforehand.

Restaurants outside of Maseru (and most in Maseru) will probably not accept credit card as a means of payment.


There are many Western style restaurants in Maseru. For a more traditional meal, why not befriend some locals and see what they cook you?


Maluti beer is superb.

  • Sani Top Chalet. Features the highest pub in Africa. Maluti beer: M15.


Lesotho hosts dozens of hotels, lodges and guesthouses.


For current happenings in Lesotho the weekly Public Eye newspaper is a good source of info.

Stay safe

It is risky to walk in Maseru alone.

As with pretty much everywhere else in the world, you may find friendly chats with locals turn in to veiled requests for money — stick to your principles and only give to registered charities.

At night time, it is the norm to drive through red lights — this is more just to speed up your journey (the police won't care), but also a precaution against carjackings.

Stay healthy

The HIV/AIDS incidence rate in Lesotho is the 3rd highest in the world at around 25% or 1 in 4 people infected. Even more worrying is the prevalence rate of around 50 percent for women under 40 in urban areas.

Consult a doctor as to which vaccinations you will require, but they will most likely include Hep A, Hep B, and Typhoid. If you are staying in rural areas for a long time then a rabies shot would be a good idea. Tropical diseases such as malaria, yellow fever and bilharzia are not present in Lesotho.

It is a very good idea to carry some sterile needles and dressing in your first aid kit — the hospitals throughout Lesotho are not of a very high standard.

If you do have any serious health problems while in Lesotho, get in contact with your country's embassy either in Maseru, or in most cases, in Pretoria in South Africa, as there are very good hospitals across the border in SA for those who can afford to use them.

Lesotho is a high, mountainous plateau, and in the remote Highlands a few people may suffer from altitude sickness when they first arrive. Drink a lot of water and keep covered up, skin burns quickly in the thin mountain air. It gets hot in the sun in the summer.

The water in Lesotho is not clean and should not be drunk untreated. Be warned about street vendors who sell fizzy drinks as these are usually in unclean reused glass bottles.

Pack moisturizer! Lesotho's air is dry and some people will suffer from dry skin.


Try and learn a few Sesotho words before travelling to Lesotho. The locals appreciate a foreigner who has made the effort to learn their language. Always refer to an elder person, or a person of higher social standing as N'tate (male) or M'e (female).

Lumela (pronounced due-mela) is hello. So you would say Lumela N'tate or Lumela M'e. Kea leboha (sounds like kia-lebh-oha) - is thank you U phela joang (O-pila-joang) - how are you Respond with either hantle (well) or Ke phila hantle (I am well) Sala hantle (as it is written) is "stay well" if they are staying and you are going. Equivalent to goodbye. Tsamaea hantle is "go well" if they are going and you are staying

Always respond to people: It is very offensive to ignore someone who greets you. As a foreigner, locals will be keen to say hello and ask you what you're up to in their country.

Never get angry at anyone; in the Basotho culture, people never show frustration towards others, and if you do, then you can easily offend someone. You will almost certainly get frustrated when dealing with Lesotho officialdom, always keep your cool no matter how much buffoonery you are subjected to. To show respect when giving and receiving items, use both hands. Also show a respect for food — don't throw it around, or eat whilst walking.


In Maseru, there are several internet cafes, although fairly cheap (usually LSL0.20-0.50 per min) they are pretty slow at best.

The cellphone network is OK in the towns, but fair out in the countryside. The only British cell phone network that has a roaming agreement is Vodafone. There are two mobile operators in Lesotho, Vodacom and Econet Telecom Lesoth. Vodacom has the widest coverage outside the towns, but is the (more) oversubscribed, and hence the less reliable. You can buy a Vodacom or Ezicel Buddie pay as you go sim card for under M50 in Maseru — worthwhile if you are staying for a while. Cellphones are available for hire in Maseru. Lesotho uses GSM900. The networks are pretty good now; both have 4G options.

If you have a South African Vodacom Sim Card, you can use it in Lesotho only on the Vodacom network. Be sure to enable roaming.

Go next

  • Ukhahlamba_Drakensberg — Mountainous region in South Africa close to Lesotho

People of the Earth: San tribe


Text and photographs by Aga Szidlick


The first people

Deeply rooted in their nomadic culture and in a symbiotic relationship with the animals and plants, the San or “Bushmen” are the original inhabitants of South Africa, aboriginal to sub-Saharan Africa. Their unique hunter-gatherer culture stretches back over 20 000 years. San genetic origins reach back to over one million years, revealing the oldest gene pattern amongst modern humans. Evolutionary studies support the evidence indicating that San are the closest surviving people to the original Homo sapiens and ancestors of contemporary humanity.


Stone Age

San civilization goes back to the Stone Age. The San did not use metals; all of their weapons were made of wood, stone, and bones, and instead of pottery, ostrich eggshells were used for storing liquids. They were known to live along the coast, fishing for crayfish, mussels, and seals as proven by a large number of bones found in coastal caves. These caves record their rich heritage in the form of rock art, extending all the way from the Kalahari to the modern-day Kingdom of Lesotho. Rock paintings were made using natural pigments such as manganese oxide, charcoal, or bird droppings, and the most common motives drawn were of people and animals, very often the Eland antelope, still regarded as a sacred spirit.


Sounds of the desert

Bushmen speak a variety of languages, all of which incorporate ‘click’ sounds represented in writing by symbols such as ! or /. San indigenous identity is based on their language and culture, families within a clan would speak a common language but neighboring clans would usually speak a different tongue, with a fair degree of similarity and understanding between them.

San are small in stature with light skin, which wrinkles very early in life giving them distinct, weathered appearance. They live in the vast expanse of the Kalahari Desert, which is divided among 3 countries — South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. Less than 3,000 of the tribe members have retained their traditional lifestyle of hunters and gatherers, following ancient cultural practices. In sub-Saharan Africa, there are many different Bushman groups, with no collective name for themselves, hence the fact that the terms ‘Bushman’, ‘San’, ‘or ‘Basarwa’ are used interchangeably.


Owner and the nomad

For thousands of years, San hunter-gatherer lifestyle remained relatively unchanged, as they had no concept of the ownership of land or animal. The change came with the acquisition of property, namely the sheep from North Sudanese tribes and cattle from Bantu. Newly found ownership have quickly led to conflict between different groups and rapid evolvement of a social, and economic hierarchy in which the status quo was determined by wealth in cattle and sheep.

San are always on the move in search of game and plant foods, therefore, they do not build permanent settlements, rather they use rock shelters or open camps, the choice depending on weather conditions. Bushmen are a nomadic tribe, but within fairly limited boundaries, distance governed by the proximity of other families and clans. When there are no other bordering clans, migrating tribe may stretch further out, as far as is needed to ensure a safe supply of food and water. Generally, the chief controls groups’ resources and all decisions are made by consensus of the tribe.


Social structure

San social structure is not totally tribal, it resembles loosely knit family culture where decisions are made by universal discussion and agreement by consensus. An individual’s opinion is naturally weighted according to their level, skill, and experience in the particular field of discussion. The roles of men and women are very distinct and rarely overlapping, which is a characteristic almost universal amongst hunter/gatherers around the world. Decisions are made based on survival needs, encouraging the most efficient utilisation of available skills and resources. Despite what is often perceived as a very gender-divided society, the importance of women is very high within the group and their opinions often take precedence, particularly where the food is concerned.


The hunter

The San are famous for their tracking skills. Using traps, bows, spears, and arrows coated with various toxins, such as snake venom, poisonous caterpillar, or a toxic plant, they are able to track animals for days across the desert plains. The poisons used by hunters will not be dangerous for consumption, as the hunter will simply remove the flesh where the arrow pierced the animal body. Each hunter is equipped with a cross and the bow, and leather bag containing medicine, tools, arrows, and amulets. San can easily determine the age and sex of the pray by examining the signs animal left behind, reading the bush as an open book. When a hunter’s arrow hits the animal, sortie will go to where it was standing and patiently track it down until the animal falls. Exceptional skill at tracking made San hunters very desired by armies, game hunters, and farmers to pursue guerrillas, game, and poachers.


The gatherer

Traditionally, women spent 3-4 days a week gathering wild plants, going out in groups to search for edible or medicinal plants. There are about 400-500 local plants known to Bushmen, providing not only balanced nutrition but also a source of hydration, as the moisture from roots is collected in ostrich eggshells during the drought. Plants are used in a similar way to western phytomedicine, treating wounds and illnesses or during healing ceremonies in which the healer would burn plants to make rain, trance to heal an ailment, or perform a charm to bring fertility.


Sacred spirits

Boys come of age when they kill their first antelope, and a girl becomes a woman upon her first menstruation, isolated in her hut. On this day, the tribe will perform the Eland Bull Dance, imitating the mating ritual of the Eland antelopes. The San believe that this dance brings peace and beauty to the girl and make her safe from hunger and thirst. San marriages are simple, the groom gives the Elands’ heart fat to bride’s parents, and the bride is anointed with this fat.


Medicine man

An essential element of the San cultural identity is their medicine dance, in which the rhythm is used to heal the individual. The medicine men have a supernatural potency within them, called n/um, which enables shaman to cure sickness. To activate n/um San dance and sing, creating sounds and a tempo that heats the supernatural force within, causing it to rise up to their heads to evoke trance.


Between two worlds

San believe in the spiritual and the material world. To enter into the spirit world, trance has to be initiated by a shaman through the hunting of power animals. When a power animal, such as an elephant or an eland antelope is killed, a link opens up between the two worlds. The eland appears in some of the rituals: boys’ first kill, girls’ puberty, marriage, and the trance dance. When this happens the shaman dances and reaches a trance in order to enter the spirit world. Once trance is achieved, the shaman is able to heal and protect people from sickness, evil spirits, control weather, see the future, ensure good hunting, and look over the general well-being of the tribe.


The sands of time

“I am as young as the most beautiful wish in my heart — and as old as all the unfulfilled longings in my life…”*

Southern Bushmen believe in spirits of the dead, but not as part of ancestor worship. The spirits are only vaguely identified and are thought to bring sickness and death. If a tribe member dies, the group will leave and never make a camp on this place again. However, if they arrive in a place of burial, they will throw pebbles on the grave and quietly say few words to the spirits to ensure good luck. They never step on the grave, as they believe that spirits are still active in the area above the grave. Shamans have contact with lesser gods, associated with illness and death, when they are performing trance dance. After death, the soul goes to the great god’s house in the sky, but the dead person continues to influence the life of those alive.

*”Elderly!” Kung Bushman’s answer to how old he was (Bjerre, p104)


LESOTHO Country Studies: A brief, comprehensive study of Lesotho


A brief yet detailed report on the country of Lesotho with updated information on the map, flag, history, people, economics, political conditions in government, foreign affairs, and U.S. relations.

The Mountain School: Three Years Learning as a Peace Corps Teacher in Lesotho, Africa

Greg Alder

The Kingdom of Lesotho is a mountainous enclave in southern Africa, and like mountain zones throughout the world it is isolated, steeped in tradition, and home to few outsiders. The people, known as Basotho, are respected in the area as the only tribe never to be defeated by European colonizers. Greg Alder arrives in Tšoeneng in 2003 as the village’s first foreign resident since 1966. Back then, the Canadian priest who had been living there was robbed and murdered in his quarters. Set up as a Peace Corps teacher at the village’s secondary school, Alder finds himself incompetent in so many unexpected ways. How do you keep warm in this place where it snows but there is no electricity? How do you feed yourself where there are no grocery stores let alone restaurants? Tšoeneng is a world apart from his home in America, but Alder persists in adapting. He learns to grow food, he learns to speak the strange local language, and he makes enough friends such that he is eventually invited to participate in initiation rites. Yet even as he seems accepted into the Tšoeneng fold, he sees how much of an outsider he will always remain—and perhaps want to remain. The Mountain School is insightful and candid, at times accepting and at times rebellious. It is the ultimate tale of the transplant.

Lonely Planet South Africa, Lesotho & Swaziland (Travel Guide)

Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet: The world's leading travel guide publisher

Lonely Planet South Africa, Lesotho & Swaziland is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Hike to the summit of Table Mountain, enjoy the diverse wildlife at Kruger National Park, or power down in a traditionally designed rondavel; all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of South Africa, Lesotho & Swaziland and begin your journey now!

Inside Lonely Planet South Africa, Lesotho & Swaziland:

Full-colour maps and images throughout Highlights and itineraries help you tailor your trip to your personal needs and interests Insider tips to save time and money and get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots Essential info at your fingertips - hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, prices Honest reviews for all budgets - eating, sleeping, sight-seeing, going out, shopping, hidden gems that most guidebooks miss Cultural insights give you a richer, more rewarding travel experience - including local customs, literature, history, art, politics, landscapes, music, cuisine Free, convenient pull-out Cape Town map (included in print version), plus over 75 colour maps Covers Cape Town, the Garden Route, Hermanus, Knysna, Durban,  Maseru, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Kruger National Park, Limpopo, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, Western Cape, North West Province, and more

The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet South Africa, Lesotho & Swaziland , our most comprehensive guide to South Africa, Lesotho & Swaziland, is perfect for both exploring top sights and taking roads less travelled.

Looking for a guide focused on Cape Town? Check out Lonely Planet's Cape Town & the Garden Route for a comprehensive look at all the city has to offer. Looking for more extensive coverage? Check out Lonely Planet's Southern Africa for a comprehensive look at all the region has to offer.

Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet, James Bainbridge, Jean-Bernard Carillet, Lucy Corne, Alan Murphy, Matt Phillips and Simon Richmond.

About Lonely Planet: Since 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel media company with guidebooks to every destination, an award-winning website, mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveler community. Lonely Planet covers must-see spots but also enables curious travelers to get off beaten paths to understand more of the culture of the places in which they find themselves.

Lonely Planet guides have won the TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 in the Favorite Travel Guide category.

Lesotho 1:350,000 Travel Reference Map (International Travel Maps)

ITM Canada

This detailed Map of Lesotho shows the railways with stations, bordercrossings, border control points, airports (tarred runway), hotes and sites. It also comes with a inset of maseru.

The Rough Guide to South Africa, Lesotho & Swaziland

Rough Guides

The Rough Guide to South Africa is the definitive guide to one of the world's most fascinating and varied countries. Discover the best the country has to offer with stunning photography, extensive maps, comprehensive listings and detailed practical information.

With accommodation listings that range from the most sumptuous safari lodges to cheap and cheerful backpacker lodges in stunning coastal positions, there's something for every budget. In-depth coverage on South Africa's many nature reserves is complemented by an illustrated wildlife guide, to help you make the most of your time on safari.

Whether you want to explore the country's big sights — from the wilds of Kruger National Park and the best spots for whale watching to Cape Town's vibrant dining scene — or to uncover its many hidden gems, such as the dramatic desert scenery of the Richtersveld, The Rough Guide to South Africa is your indispensible traveling companion.

Make the most of your time on Earth™ with The Rough Guide to South Africa.

Lesotho (Southbound Travel Guides)

David Fleminger

From the mists of Basotho legend—from the time of King Moshoeshoe. The tiny country of Lesotho is entirely surrounded by South Africa, yet it remains one of the most remote and unexplored areas in the region. The reason for this isolation is the mountains—row upon row of serrated peaks make this the country with the highest ‘low point’ in the world. But the mountains that give Lesotho its dramatic landscapes have also played a crucial role in creating a country with a unique history. It’s a stirring story of courage and cunning, featuring remarkable individuals such as King Moshoeshoe—founder of the Basotho nation—who first gathered people together on the flat-topped hill Thaba Bosiu, the mountain of night. Today, Lesotho is an irresistible lure to adventurous travellers who want to head off the beaten path and tackle the mighty mountains. But Lesotho isn’t as inaccessible as it seems. The country is bisected by a number of tarred and gravel roads and these lead the motorist on jaw-dropping drives through some of the highest mountains this side of Kilimanjaro. Small rural villages nestle on the slopes, much as they have done for over 200 years, and delightful lodges are tucked away in secluded valleys. All in all, it’s a land of secret vistas and pristine scenery. This book is the first travel guide dedicated solely to Lesotho. It will give the traveller an insight into the remarkable history of the country. Suggested itineraries are included, along with accommodation options, leisure activities and other useful information for trip-planning.

South Africa (including Lesotho and Swaziland) 1:1.5M Travel Map (International Travel Maps)

ITM Canada

2012 edi. Double sided road and travel map. Scale 1:1,500,000. Distinguishes roads ranging from freeways to tracks. Legend includes railways, ferry lines, waterfalls, national parks, nature reserves, wild life/game reserves, dunes, international/domestic airports, airfields, springs, hot springs, border crossings, points of interest, churches/missions, ruins/archaeological sites, beaches, diving, museums, forts, campsites/huts, rest houses/bungalows, caves, World Heritage Sites, clinics, police stations. Includes inset map of Pretoria, Johannesburg and Cape Town. Extensive place name index. Printed on a durable synthetic paper suitable for tropical conditions.

Lonely Planet South Africa, Lesotho & Swaziland (Travel Guide)

Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet: The world's leading travel guide publisher

Lonely Planet South Africa, Lesotho & Swaziland is your passport to all the most relevant and up-to-date advice on what to see, what to skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Hike to the summit of Table Mountain, enjoy the diverse wildlife at Kruger National Park, or power down in a traditionally designed rondavel; all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland and begin your journey now!

Inside Lonely Planet South Africa, Lesotho & Swaziland Travel Guide:

Full-colour maps and images throughout Highlights and itineraries show you the simplest way to tailor your trip to your own personal needs and interests Insider tips save you time and money and help you get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots Essential info at your fingertips - including hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, and prices Honest reviews for all budgets - including eating, sleeping, sight-seeing, going out, shopping, and hidden gems that most guidebooks miss Cultural insights give you a richer and more rewarding travel experience - including customs, history, art, literature, cinema, music, politics, landscapes, wildlife, and cuisine Over 85 colour local maps Useful features - including Travel with Children, Month-by-Month (annual festival calendar), and Activities & Adventures Coverage of Cape Town, the Garden Route, Hermanus, Knysna, Durban,  Maseru, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Kruger National Park, Limpopo, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, Western Cape, North-West Province, and more

The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet South Africa, Lesotho & Swaziland, our most comprehensive guide to South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland, is perfect for those planning to both explore the top sights and take the road less travelled.

Looking for a guide focused on Cape Town? Check out Lonely Planet's Cape Town & the Garden Route guide for a comprehensive look at all the city has to offer. Looking for more extensive coverage? Check out Lonely Planet's Southern Africa guide for a comprehensive look at all the region has to offer.

Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet, James Bainbridge, Kate Armstrong, Lucy Corne, Michael Grosberg, Alan Murphy, Helen Ranger, Simon Richmond, and Tom Spurling.

About Lonely Planet: Since in 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel content company with guidebooks to every destination, an award-winning website, mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveler community. Lonely Planet enables curious travelers to experience the world and get to the heart of the places they find themselves in.

TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards 2012 and 2013 winner in Favorite Travel Guide category

Exercise a high degree of caution

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.

Exercise a high degree of caution and maintain a high level of personal security awareness at all times and in all places in Lesotho.


Petty crime, such as pickpocketing, purse snatching and mugging, is prevalent and increases at night and on weekends. Violent crime has increased, particularly in the capital, Maseru, between local hotels and the business district. Foreigners are often targets. You should not show signs of affluence. Resisting a robbery can lead to further violence.

Armed robbery and carjacking can occur, especially in Maseru and other large towns, including Maputsoe and Leribe. Do not resist assailants if attacked or robbed and avoid eye contact if possible. Any such incidents should immediately be reported to the police. Residential break-ins occur in Maseru. Foreigners, especially tourists, members of foreign missions and other expatriate professionals, have experienced such incidents.

Avoid walking alone, even during daylight hours. Walking or driving after dark is extremely risky. Demonstrations

You should remain informed of developments that could affect your safety by monitoring the local media. Avoid large crowds and demonstrations and carry identity documents. Although generally peaceful, demonstrations could turn violent without notice. General strikes also occur, affecting access to services and disturbing transportation.

Road travel

Traffic drives on the left. Driving habits pose a risk in Maseru. Roads between the main urban centres are in good condition. However, the majority of the roads are unpaved, in bad condition and poorly lit. Livestock, pedestrians, vehicles without lights and other hazards are frequently encountered. Ensure windows are closed and doors locked at all times. Offering rides to hitchhikers is dangerous. Remain vigilant when stopping at scenic points or rest stations. Gas stations are infrequent outside of cities and large towns. There are no roadside assistance services operating in Lesotho. However, help is often offered in the event of an accident. You should park in well-lit areas.

All South Africa-Lesotho border crossings and eight of Lesotho's 10 district capitals are linked by good roads. Rural communities are linked by secondary gravel roads best suited to four-wheel-drive vehicles. Many rural areas, particularly in the mountainous two thirds of the country, can be reached only by basic dirt roads or on horseback.

Public transportation

Avoid using minibus taxis; they are poorly maintained and often involved in accidents.

Passenger rail service is not available.

Consult our Transportation FAQ in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.

General safety information

Remain vigilant at all times and ensure that personal belongings and travel documents are secure.

Tourist facilities are developing in Lesotho but remain very limited.

Car rentals are available in Maseru. Cars rented in South Africa may be brought into Lesotho with a letter of authorization from the rental company. Some rental companies do not issue letters of authorization. A letter of authorization may sometimes be requested and granted at border crossings.

Emergency medical services are very limited and are generally not available outside of cities and large towns.

For emergency assistance, dial 112 or 588-81-010 for police, and 115 for the fire department.


Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.


Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.


Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.


Rabies is a disease that attacks the central nervous system spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from a rabid animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).


Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives, or with weakened immune systems. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should consider getting vaccinated.

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required if you are coming from a country where yellow fever occurs.
  • Vaccination is not recommended.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in Southern Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Southern Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!

Travellers' diarrhea
  • Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
  • Risk of developing travellers’ diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
  • The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.


Insects and Illness

In some areas in Southern Africa, certain insects carry and spread diseases like African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, chikungunya, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, Rift Valley fever, and West Nile virus.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.



There is no risk of malaria in this country.


Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in Southern Africa, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.


HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). 

Practise safe sex while travelling, and don’t share needles, razors, or other objects which could transmit infection.

Remember that HIV can also be spread through the use of unsterile medical equipment during medical and dental procedures, tattooing, body piercing or acupuncture. Diseases can also be spread though blood transfusions and organ transplantation if the blood or organs are not screened for HIV or other blood-borne pathogens.


Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.

For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.

Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.

High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.

Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

Medical facilities are poor outside Maseru and medicines are scarce. Ambulance service is unreliable or non-existent. Good medical services are available in Bloemfontein, South Africa, 140 km from Maseru. Medical evacuation to South Africa is usually necessary in the event of an accident or serious sickness. Patients generally have to arrange their own transport, unless it is specifically covered by their insurance policy. Cash payment for medical care is usually required.

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.

An International Driving Permit is required.


The currency is the loti (plural maloti) (LSL); however, the South African rand (ZAR) can also be used. Major credit cards and traveller's cheques, in U.S. dollars, are accepted only at major tourist establishments and banks. Currency is readily available through automated banking machines (ABMs); bank line-ups are long and charges are high.


Violent storms occur in summer (November to February) and result in several deaths yearly. You should keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly. Weather conditions change rapidly in mountainous regions. Carry a blanket or warm clothes in case of snowfall or vehicle breakdown in mountain areas, where the weather can become cold quickly and unexpectedly, even in summer months.