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Lesotho is a small country totally surrounded by South Africa. It's known as the Kingdom in the Sky because the entire country is at a high altitude. Its lowest point is 1,388 m (4,554 ft) above sea level; no other country in the world has its lowest point above 1,000 m (3,300 ft) m. Lesotho is a fantastic adventure holiday destination because of its smiling and resourceful people and bracing climate.


  • Maseru — the capital
  • 2 Hlotse (also known as Leribe) — regional market hub, with great craft shopping
  • 3 Mafeteng
  • 4 Mohale's Hoek
  • 5 Mokhotlong
  • Qacha's Nek
  • 6 Quthing — fantastic rock art nearby
  • 7 Teyateyaneng (called 'TY' for short) — the craft centre of Lesotho
  • Thaba-Tseka

Other destinations

  • 1 Afriski, Oxbow (Afri-Ski) — ski and mountain resort for skiing in winter (June - September) and mountain adventure sport in summer (October - April). One of the few places in Africa to go skiing.
  • Sani Pass — 4x4 road into Lesotho from Underberg, with places to stay and activities at the top
  • 2 Sehlabathebe National Park — remote mountain reserve great for hiking with rare wildlife, impressive waterfalls, and ancient rock paintings and stone shelters
  • 3 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
  • 4 Malealea — pony-trekking
  • 5 Morija — museum, dinosaur footprints
  • 6 Semonkong — Maletsunyane Falls, one of the highest single drop waterfalls in the world
  • 7 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 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 October 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 the British, and the older generation will come up to a Briton 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 70 mm 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. Because of the high altitude, the air is cold and dry, so bring moisturiser and a chap-stick.


  • Independence Day (4 October) celebrates the day that Lesotho achieved independence.
  • Moshoeshoe Day (14 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, Eswatini, 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, Syria, 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 and Airlink 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 16:00.

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 4WD, high clearance vehicles only from the South African border post. The South African border guards may prevent you continuing if your car is unsuitable. The road then becomes a narrow, winding and incredibly steep, rocky track that feels like you are climbing into a mist shrouded, lost world. 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. At the top, going on into Lesotho, the road has been sealed and is in very good condition all the way to Maseru (May 2019).

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.

As of September 2018, the price of the border letter varies greatly among rental agencies: Bidvest (free), Avis (R550), Thrifty (R1,513), Hertz (R1,614.03).

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.

By minibus taxi

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

Ensure 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 then 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 so ask the other passengers if you’re unsure of the price. Be warned, Minibus taxis are so cheap because they squeeze in so many people. Don't be surprised to see children 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 in.

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 going.

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 sufficient. If heading 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 as there is a very small possibility of something nasty happening, such as being carjacked.

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 200 m 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 185 m 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 — at Afriski, 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 and so 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 curiosities. In particular, the Basotho blanket is a hallmark of Basotho culture. Equally popular in South Africa, they were brought by the British 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 at night. During the day, at least the main roads of Maseru are safe to walk 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 hasten your journey (the police won't care) but as 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% 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 "Ntate"(male) or " 'Me "(female).

Dumela (pronounced due-mela) is hello. So you would say Dumela Ntate or Dumela 'Me. Kea leboha (sounds like kia-lebh-oha) - is thank you U phela joang (O-phela-joang) - how are you Respond with either hantle (well) or Ke phela 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. Overall, Basotho people are humble and down to earth.


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

The mobile hone network is OK in the towns, but fair out in the countryside. The only British mobile 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. Mobile phones are available for hire in Maseru. Lesotho uses GSM900. The networks are good, and 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

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.

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