Sunday, December 3, 2023
Lesotho Travel Guide - Travel S Helper


travel guide

Lesotho, formally known as the Kingdom of Lesotho (Sotho: ‘Muso oa Lesotho), is a landlocked country in southern Africa that is fully surrounded by South Africa. It covers little more than 30,000 km2 (11,583 sq mi) and has a population of slightly more than two million people. Maseru is the country’s capital and major city. Lesotho belongs to the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The name Lesotho loosely translates as “Land of the Sesotho People.” Approximately 40% of the population lives below the international poverty level of $1.25 per day.

Lesotho has a land area of 30,355 km2 (11,720 sq mi). It is the world’s only sovereign state that is completely above 1,000 meters (3,281 feet) in altitude. Its lowest point, at 1,400 meters (4,593 feet), is therefore the world’s tallest. More than 80% of the nation is over 1,800 meters (5,906 ft). Lesotho is also the world’s southernmost landlocked nation, bordered completely by South Africa. It is located between 28° and 31° South latitude and 27° and 30° East longitude.

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Lesotho - Info Card




Lesotho Loti (LSL) - South African rand (ZAR)

Time zone

UTC+2 (South African Standard Time)


30,355 km2 (11,720 sq mi)

Calling code


Official language

Sesotho - English

Lesotho - Introduction


Lesotho has a population of around 2,067,000 people. Lesotho’s population is split evenly between urban and rural areas, with 25% living in the city and 75% in the countryside. However, the yearly growth in urban population is projected to be 3.5 percent. The highlands have a lower population density than the western lowlands. Despite the fact that the bulk of the population—60.2 percent—is between the ages of 15 and 64, Lesotho has a sizable youth population of approximately 34.8 percent.


Lesotho has 300 days of sunlight each year. Lesotho receives 70mm of rain during the rainy season, which runs from October to April, with the majority of the rain falling during violent thunderstorms. Snowfall is more likely in the winter, although it may happen at any time in the high elevations. In the winter (May – September), nighttime temperatures drop below freezing, and homes do not have central heating, so pack a jacket.

Ethnic groups and languages

Lesotho’s ethnolinguistic structure is nearly completely made up of the Basotho, a Bantu-speaking people who account for 99.7% of the population. The Bakuena (Kuena), Batloung (Tlou), Baphuthi (Phuti), Bafokeng, Bataung (Tau), Batoeneng (Toene), Matebele, and other Basotho subgroups include the Bakuena (Kuena), Batloung (Tlou), Baphuthi (Phuti), Bafokeng, Bataung (Tau), Batoeneng (

Sesotho (or Sotho) is the primary language, as well as the first official and administrative language, and it is what Basotho speak on a daily basis.


Lesotho’s population is believed to be about 90% Christian. Protestants account for 45% of the population (Evangelicals 26 percent , Anglican and other Protestant groups an additional 19 percent ). The province of the Metropolitan Archbishop of Maseru and his three suffragans (the bishops of Leribe, Mohale’s Hoek, and Qacha’s Nek), who also constitute the national episcopal conference, pastorally serve the Roman Catholics, who make up 45 percent of the population.

The other 10% of the population is made up of followers of various faiths (Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and Bahá’) as well as followers of traditional indigenous religions.

Internet & Communications

There are many internet cafes in Maseru, and although they are reasonably priced (about LSL0.20-0.50 per minute), they are at best sluggish.

The mobile network is adequate in cities but deplorable in the countryside. Vodafone is the only British mobile phone network that has a roaming agreement. Lesotho has two mobile operators: Vodacom and Econet Telecom Lesoth.

Outside of towns, Vodacom offers the best coverage, but it is also the most (over)subscribed and therefore the least dependable. In Maseru, you can get a Vodacom or Ezicel Buddie pay as you go sim card for less than LSL50, which is useful if you plan on staying for a long. In Maseru, cell phones may be rented. Lesotho uses GSM900. Both networks are currently very excellent, with 4G capabilities.

If you have a South African Vodacom Sim Card, you can only use it on the Vodacom network in Lesotho. Make sure that roaming is turned on.

Visa & Passport Requirements for Lesotho

The following countries/territories do not need a visa to enter Lesotho:

For up to 90 days: Antigua and Barbuda, 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,

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland are all available for up to 14 days.

You’ll need a passport that’s valid for another six months and has at least two blank pages. You may be requested for evidence of a return or onward ticket, as well as your future travel intentions, but this should not be an issue.

If there is no foreign mission of Lesotho in the nation where you legally live, you may be able to apply for a visa at a British embassy, high commission, or consulate in the country where you legally reside. For example, Lesotho visa applications are accepted by British embassies/consulates in Al Khobar, Almaty, Belgrade, Budapest, Damascus, Geneva, Guatemala City, Jeddah, Prague, Pristina, Riyadh, Rome, Sofia, Vienna, and Zurich (this list is not exhaustive). A Lesotho visa application costs £50 to complete at a British diplomatic post, with an additional £70 if the Lesotho authorities want the application to be forwarded to them. If the authorities in Lesotho communicate with you directly, they may opt to charge you an extra cost.

How To Travel To Lesotho

Get In - By plane

Maseru is 18 kilometers from Moshoeshoe Airport. Daily flights between Maseru and Johannesburg are operated by South African Airways and Airlink, with fares averaging about ZAR1,400. Luggage is often misplaced, and there is no mechanism for reporting missing luggage. You should schedule a cab pickup ahead of time since taxis are often unavailable at the airport. Taxis cost between ZAR50 and ZAR80.

Get In - By train

Lesotho has no train lines, although the South African Bloemfontein Bohlokong (freight only) railway line runs along the northern Lesotho border, with a station in Meqheleng.

Get In - By car

When traveling by vehicle, you will be arriving from South Africa. 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 are the most important border crossing points. Please keep in mind that certain border crossings are only accessible by four-wheel drive vehicles, and only Maseru Bridge and Ficksburg Bridge are open 24 hours a day; other crossings may shut as early as 4 p.m.

Normal vehicles may drive the Sani Pass Road (P318) from north of Himesville to the South African Border Control Point, which is 7 kilometers from the real border. From there, till the Sani Top Botswana border police station, it’s exclusively 4WD, high clearance vehicles. If the South Africans are having a joke, they may not bother to warn you that once you leave their control station, this “road” turns into a tiny, twisting, and extremely steep, rocky trail that seems like you’re ascending into a mist-shrouded, forgotten world. Once you begin the final climb, you are committed since there is no way to back out if the difficulty becomes too much for you or your car.

Lesotho’s major highways are comparable to smaller European roads in that they are paved and remarkably devoid of potholes. The A1 road (also known as the ‘Main North’) runs from Maseru to Mokhotlong, while the A2 road (also known as the ‘Main South’) runs from Maseru to Qacha’s Nek. Roma, Mohale Dam, Semonkong, and Katse Dam all have tarmac roads. The only unsealed road you’ll see as a tourist is the final 20 kilometers to Malealea, which is manageable in a saloon. It’s worth noting that the route from Thaba Tseka to the east is now sealed and in excellent shape.

If you’re going to the mountains, make sure your vehicle is in good working order before you go (top up the oil, pump the spare tyre etc.). There are several steep slopes that need 2nd or even 1st gear to ascend, so don’t try to go to Qacha’s Nek in a rented 1.3 litre CitiGolf with 5 passengers!

Whether you’re unsure, ask locals if the route you’re about to travel is safe, particularly in the winter. The reality is that if you stick to the major highways, you’ll probably have a smoother ride than on the roads of the Eastern Free State (RSA). However, the section between Oxbow and Mokhotlong is not tarred (despite some maps claiming otherwise) and is severely potholed.

If you’re renting a vehicle, make sure you obtain authorization from the rental company to drive it into Lesotho. At border check, you’ll need to produce formal authorization from the rental business. To prevent unexpected surprises, be explicit with your rental agency about what is and is not included. Full coverage may not always imply complete coverage.

Finally, if you want to go to the mountains, it is best to fill up in Butha-Buthe because there are no filling stations all the way to the district’s camptown of the same name. If you want to go to Thaba-Tseka, you can fill up in Maseru or Hlotse, or any of the towns you will come across such as Lejone, Seshote, or ‘Mamohau depending on your destination. Most filling stations provide both leaded and unleaded gasoline (gasoline) as well as diesel, and most communities have several filling stations. Diesel fuel dispensers are often located behind filling stations, in a distant location.

Get In - By bus

Between Johannesburg and Maseru, Vaal-Maseru [www] operates a coach service.

Minibuses go almost everywhere from the Maseru Bridge border, however you must arrive early in the morning (07:00) since there may only be one bus each day.

Get In - By hitchhiking

If coming in from Bloemfontein, you might simply hitchhike (look out for Lesotho number plates). Hanging near the border (particularly on a Saturday morning) should get you a ride from Maseru to Bloemfontein (offer some money).

How To Travel Around Lesotho

Get Around - By regular taxi

Regular taxis (you call, they come) and 4+1s — have a yellow stripe down the side and can accommodate four people. Before you get into a cab, always verify the price.

Phone +266 627 45199 for Khosana at Comfort Taxis or +266 631 66000 for Perfect Taxis – well-run and partially owned by an English expat. Call +266 584 01360 for a local with a nice vehicle and a reputation for dependability. Call him Tom Taxi, and he’ll know you’re genuine and know where to get the best rates.

Get Around - By minibus taxi

The minibus ‘taxi’ (called combi / Toyota Hiace) is the mode of public transportation in much of Africa.

Make sure you understand where the minibus is heading (there should be a sign on the front windshield); after a minute or two, you’ll be asked for money, which will be handed down the minibus. For greater leg space, try to obtain the front seat near the driver. The government sets the prices. There is a danger of overcharging foreigners; if you are unsure about the price, ask the other passengers. Be aware that the reason Minibus taxis are so inexpensive is because they can cram so many passengers in! Don’t be shocked if you see youngsters sitting four or five high on their laps, or if you’re instructed to have huge quantities of baggage on your lap or jammed in around you. Minibus taxis are often badly maintained and uninsured. However, cab accidents are very rare.

Intercity taxi trips will cost you no more than LSL50 for an one way ticket, while inner city minibus taxi journeys will cost you about LSL2.50 (4+1s will cost you LSL20 for the whole vehicle, regardless of how many people are accompanying you, providing you are inside a city.)

Before you get into a cab, always verify the price.

Finding a taxi

When you arrive in one of the major cities, you’ll see that all of the minibuses are honking their horns, indicating that there is room for additional passengers. At hail one, just gesture to a taxi as it approaches; the conductor (who will typically be leaning out of the van’s kerbside window) will usually be yelling the taxi’s destination. Whether you’re not sure if it’ll take you where you want to go, inquire before boarding!

On Moeshoeshoe Road in Maseru, close the Shoprite beside The Circle / Cathedral, there is a location named Setopong. This is where all the minibus taxis depart from, so go here if you need a cab out of town. It is, nevertheless, a highly crowded and lively area with a lot of people. It’s best to take a 4+1 cab to Setopong and ask the driver to drop you down near the taxis that go to the area you want to see.

Get Around - By car

It is also feasible to rent a vehicle and explore the area. The Sun hotels in Maseru, as well as the airport, provide car rental services. If you rent a vehicle in South Africa (which is likely to be less expensive than renting in Lesotho), be sure you have authorization to drive it into Lesotho (the hire car insurance may not cover Lesotho).

But it’s nothing compared to getting up up and personal with the locals and talking with them!

The major attractions of Lesotho do not need a 4×4; for the typical tourist, just the route to Semonkong requires one. The road has been tarred from Maseru to Mokhotlong (through Leribe) and is now tarred all the way to Qacha’s Nek. Some side roads in the cities are unpaved, but you can get about in a saloon. If going into the highlands on unpaved roads (e.g. to the Kao diamond mine), a 4×4 is required. The same is true for Thaba Tseka and ascending or descending the Sani pass.

When driving at night, it’s not a good idea to stop at intersections or traffic signals since there’s a tiny possibility of anything bad occurring.

Destinations in Lesotho

Cities in Lesotho

  • 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 in Lesotho

  • Afriski — In the winter (June-September), ski and mountain resorts are open for skiing, while in the summer, mountain adventure sports are available (October – April)
  • Sehlabathebe National Park — Rare animals, spectacular waterfalls, old rock art, and stone shelters all await hikers in this isolated mountain reserve.
  • Ts’ehlanyane National Park — At the foot of the Holomo Pass, there is a sub-alpine national park. With hiking paths, beautiful rock pools and rivers, it is home to one of the few surviving Che-Che (ancient wood) forests.
  • Katse — Pony-trekking and the impressive Katse Dam.
  • Malealea — Pony-trekking
  • Morija — Museum, dinosaur footprints
  • Oxbow — One of just a few locations in Africa where you can 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

Things To See in Lesotho

  • Semonkong Falls — These falls near Semonkong plummet 200 meters in a single leap! In the summer, you may swim in the pond below, and in the winter, the pond freezes over, forming an ice cage around the falls.
  • Katse Dam — an imposing 185-meter dam in a small valley
  • Dinosaur footprints — There are well-preserved footprints of these dreadful lizards all throughout the nation, with the most accessible being around Moyeni and Morija.
  • Rock art — located in a variety of locations throughout the nation, the most spectacular of which being Liphofung Cave.

Things To Do in Lesotho

  • Pony-trekking, particularly at Malealea, Semonkong, or the Basotho Pony-Trekking Centre – whether you’re a seasoned horseback rider or a total beginner, pony-trekking is a fantastic way to explore the Lesotho countryside! These planned excursions allow you to visit areas of the nation that you wouldn’t be able to see in your own vehicle. The extremely sure-footed Basotho Pony can transport you to remote communities and high peaks.
  • Hiking. In the Highlands. Contact the Department of Tourism, who will locate you a guide, and then fly into a totally isolated area and walk your way out, stopping overnight in distant settlements. You may also get 1:25,000 topographical maps from the Lands, Surveys, and Physical Planning office in downtown Maseru for approximately LSL25 and do this yourself (recommended only for experienced hikers).
  • Skiing — During the winter, enjoy the slopes at Oxbow!

Money & Shopping in Lesotho

Maseru has many Western-style stores where you may stock up on goods before going further in the nation.

If you’re looking for locally produced products and crafts, skip Maseru and go to TY or Hlotse, where the markets are much better and cheaper. Traditional Basotho hats (Mokorotlo), sticks (molamo), carpets, and other trinkets may be purchased. The Basotho blanket, in particular, is a symbol of Basotho culture. They are also popular in South Africa. Originally introduced by the English for trade reasons, they have been entrenched in Basotho culture and are worn as both informal and formal clothing. They are available in stores and marketplaces across Lesotho, although the greatest pricing are likely to be found in Maseru, TY, or Mafekeng.

Credit cards will be accepted only at Shoprite and the major hotels. Your home cashcard may function at certain Maseru cash machines (FNB or Standard Bank), but it is better to get cash out in South Africa first.

Restaurants outside of Maseru (and most in Maseru) will most likely not take credit cards.

Traditions & Customs in Lesotho

Before visiting Lesotho, try to learn a few Sesotho terms. The locals value a foreigner who has taken the time to learn their language. Always address an elder or someone of better social status as N’tate (male) or M’e (female).

Hello is Lumela (pronounced due-mela). As a result, you’d say Lumela N’tate or Lumela M’e. Kea leboha (pronounced kia-lebh-oha) means “thank you.” O-pila-joang (U phela joang) – How are you doing? Respond with hantle (well) or Ke phila hantle (I am well) Sala hantle means “stay well” if they are staying and you are leaving. It’s the same as saying goodbye. If they are leaving and you are remaining, Tsamaea hantle means “go well.”

Always react to people: Ignoring someone who welcomes you is very rude. Locals will want to say hello and find out what you’re doing to in their nation if you’re a foreigner.

Never become upset at anybody; in the Basotho culture, individuals never express their anger to others, and if you do, you may easily offend someone. When dealing with Lesotho officials, you will almost definitely get irritated; nevertheless, no matter how much nonsense you are exposed to, you must always maintain your calm. When handing and receiving things, use both hands to demonstrate respect. Respect food as well; don’t toss it about or eat while walking.


Lesotho’s currency, the loti (plural maloti – hence frequently seen symbolised as “M”), has the ISO 4217 currency code LSL and is set at a 1:1 ratio with the South African Rand (ZAR). There is no need to exchange money since South African rand is accepted everywhere. However, unless you ask, you will get maloti in change, which is very difficult to unload in South Africa and almost impossible abroad.

ATMs are available in banks in most towns, however they are not available elsewhere. Most banks can exchange travellers cheques for you, but it may be a long procedure if they are in a currency other than ZAR.

Culture Of Lesotho

Traditional musical instruments include the lekolulo, a kind of flute used by herding boys, the setolo-tolo, a mouth instrument played by men, and the stringed thomo performed by women.

Lesotho’s national anthem is “Lesotho Fate La Bo-ntata Rona,” which translates as “Lesotho, Land of Our Forefathers.”

Lesotho’s traditional form of dwelling is known as a mokhoro. Many older homes, particularly in smaller towns and villages, are of this style, with walls often made of big stones glued together. Baked mud bricks and, in particular, concrete blocks are still used today, and thatched roofs are still prevalent, though they are often replaced with corrugated roofing sheets.

The Basotho blanket, a thick covering made mainly of wool, is essential to traditional clothing. The blankets are widespread across the nation in all seasons, and men and women wear them differently.

The Morija Arts & Cultural Event is a well-known arts and music festival in Sesotho. It is conducted each year in Morija, the historical village where the first missionaries came in 1833.

History of Lesotho

The San people were the indigenous occupants of what is now Lesotho. Examples of their rock art may be seen across the area’s mountains.

In 1822, King Moshoeshoe I established the current Lesotho, then known as Basutoland, as a single state. Moshoeshoe, the son of Mokhachane, a Bakoteli lineage minor chief, established his own clan and rose to prominence about 1804. Between 1821 and 1823, he and his followers resided at the Butha-ButheMountain, joining with old enemies in fight against the Lifaqane, which was connected with Shaka Zulu’s rule from 1818 to 1828.

Following the British takeover of the Cape Colony from the French-allied Dutch in 1795, the state’s subsequent development was based on disputes between British and Dutch colonists fleeing the Cape Colony and later connected with the Orange River Sovereignty and subsequent Orange Free State. Between 1837 and 1855, Moshoeshoe I welcomed missionaries from the Paris Evangelical Missionary Society, Thomas Arbousset, Eugène Casalis, and Constant Gosselin, to Morija, where they established orthography and printed works in the Sesotho language. Casalis, who served as a translator and provided foreign policy counsel, assisted in the establishment of diplomatic channels and the acquisition of weapons for use against the invading Europeans and the Griqua people.

Starting in May–June 1838, trekboers from the Cape Colony arrived on the western boundaries of Basutoland and claimed land rights, beginning with Jan de Winnaar, who established in the Matlakeng region. As additional Boers moved into the region, they attempted to colonize the land between the two rivers, even north of the Caledon, saying that the Sotho people had abandoned it. Following that, Moshoeshoe signed a contract with the British Governor of the Cape Colony, Sir George Thomas Napier, that annexed the Orange River Sovereignty, where many Boers had resided. In 1848, these enraged Boers were defeated in a short conflict. A British force was beaten by the Basotho army at Kolonyama in 1851, sparking a humiliating conflict for the British. After repelling another British assault in 1852, Moshoeshoe made an appeal to the British commander, which resulted in a diplomatic settlement, before defeating the Batlokoa in 1853.

The British withdrew from the area in 1854, and in 1858, Moshoeshoe waged a series of battles against the Boers in the Free State–Basotho War, losing a large part of the western lowlands. The previous conflict concluded in 1867 when Moshoeshoe petitioned Queen Victoria, who consented to establish Basutoland a British protectorate in 1868. In 1869, the British negotiated a contract with the Boers at Aliwal North that established the borders of Basutoland, and subsequently Lesotho, essentially reducing Moshoeshoe’s Kingdom to half its former size by surrendering the western provinces.

Following the cession in 1869, the British first moved duties from Moshoeshoe’s capital in Thaba Bosiu to a police camp on the northwest frontier, Maseru, until Basutoland was administered by the Cape Colony in 1871. Moshoeshoe died on March 11, 1870, bringing the traditional period to a close and ushering in the colonial era. He was laid to rest in Thaba Bosiu. Between 1871 to 1884, during the early years of British administration, Basutoland was handled similarly to other areas that had been forcibly acquired, much to the displeasure of the Basotho. This resulted in the 1881 Gun War. Basutoland’s status as a protectorate was restored in 1884, with Maseru re-established as its capital, although it remained subject to direct control by a governor, despite effective internal authority being held by traditional chiefs.

Basutoland achieved independence from Britain in 1966 and became the Kingdom of Lesotho.

The governing Basotho National Party (BNP) lost the first post-independence general elections in January 1970, with 23 seats against the Basutoland Congress Party’s 36. Prime Minister Leabua Jonathan refused to hand up power to the Basotho Congress Party (BCP), declaring himself Tona Kholo (Sesotho for “prime minister”) and imprisoning the BCP leadership.

The BCP launched a revolt and subsequently received training in Libya for its Lesotho Liberation Army (LLA) while posing as Azanian People’s Liberation Army (APLA) troops of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC). The 178-strong LLA was saved from their Tanzanian base by the financial aid of a Maoist PAC official in 1978 after being deprived of guns and supplies by the Sibeko faction of the PAC, but they began the guerrilla campaign with just a handful of outdated firearms. After the main army was destroyed in northern Lesotho, insurgents conducted intermittent but generally ineffective assaults. When the BCP’s head, Ntsu Mokhehle, moved to Pretoria, the campaign was badly harmed. In the early 1980s, the administration of Leabua Jonathan intimidated and assaulted many Basotho who sympathized with the exiled BCP. Benjamin Masilo’s family was assaulted in September 1981. Edgar Mahlomola Motuba was kidnapped and killed a few days later.

From 1966 until January 1970, the BNP governed the country. What followed was a de facto administration headed by Dr. Leabua Jonathan until 1986, when it was deposed by a military coup. KingMoshoeshoe II, who had previously been a ceremonial king, was given executive powers by the Transitional Military Council that came to power. However, the King was driven into exile in 1987 after submitting a six-page memorandum outlining his vision for Lesotho’s constitution, which would have granted him greater executive powers if the military government had agreed. His son was crowned King Letsie III.

Major General Justin Metsing Lekhanya, the head of the military junta, was deposed in 1991 and replaced by Major General Elias Phisoana Ramaema, who turned up control to a democratically elected BCP administration in 1993. Moshoeshoe II returned from exile as a regular citizen in 1992. Following the restoration of democratic rule, King Letsie III unsuccessfully attempted to convince the BCP administration to restore his father (Moshoeshoe II) as head of state.

After the BCP administration failed to restore his father, Moshoeshoe II, according to Lesotho’s constitution, Letsie III launched a military-backed coup that overthrew the BCP government in August 1994. The new administration was not fully recognized by the international community. Southern African Development Community (SADC) member nations are negotiating the restoration of the BCP government. One of the requirements Letsie III proposed was that his father be re-installed as head of state. After protracted negotiations, the BCP government was reinstated, and Letsie III abdicated in favor of his father in 1995, but ascended the throne again when Moshoeshoe II died at the age of fifty-seven in an alleged road accident when his car plunged off a mountain road in the early hours of 15 January 1996. According to the authorities, Moshoeshoe departed at 1 a.m. to see his livestock in Matsieng and was returning to Maseru through the Maluti Mountains when his vehicle went off the road.

The governing BCP split in 1997 due to leadership disagreements. Prime Minister Ntsu Mokhehle established a new party, the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), and was supported by a majority of parliamentarians, allowing him to form a new administration. Pakalitha Mosisili took over as party leader when Mokhehle died, and the LCD won the general election in 1998. Despite the fact that the elections were deemed free and fair by local and international observers, as well as a special commission established by SADC, the opposition political parties disputed the results.

Protests by the opposition in the nation grew in intensity, culminating in a peaceful rally outside the royal palace in August 1998. Exact specifics of what happened next are hotly debated in both Lesotho and South Africa. While soldiers from the Botswana Defence Force were welcomed, tensions with South African National Defence Force personnel were high, culminating in violence. Sporadic riots became more common when South African soldiers raised a South African flag above the Royal Palace. By the time the SADC troops left in May 1999, most of Maseru’s city was in ruins, while the southern provincial capital cities of Mafeteng and Mohale’s Hoek had lost more than a third of their commercial real estate. Several South Africans and Basotho were also killed in the conflict.

In December 1998, an Interim Political Authority (IPA) was established with the task of evaluating the country’s election system. To guarantee that the opposition was represented in the National Assembly, the IPA developed a proportional election system. The new method kept the current 80 elected Assembly members but added 40 proportionally filled seats. In May 2002, elections were conducted under this new system, and the LCD won again, with 54 percent of the vote. However, for the first time, opposition political parties won a substantial number of seats, and Lesotho had its first peaceful election, despite minor anomalies and threats of violence from Major General Lekhanya. All 40 proportional seats are now held by nine opposition parties, with the BNP having the biggest share (21). The LCD controls 79 of the 80 constituency seats. Despite the fact that its elected MPs serve in the National Assembly, the BNP has filed numerous legal challenges to the elections, including a recount, but none have been successful.

On August 30, 2014, an attempted military coup occurred, causing the incumbent Prime Minister to escape to South Africa for a short period of time.

Stay Safe & Healthy in Lesotho

It is dangerous to stroll alone in Maseru.

Friendly conversations with locals may evolve into disguised pleas for money, as they do pretty much everywhere else in the globe – adhere to your beliefs and only donate to recognized organizations.

Driving past red lights at night is the standard — not just to speed up your trip (the cops won’t care), but also as a deterrent to carjackings.

Lesotho has the world’s third highest HIV/AIDS incidence rate, with one in every four persons infected. The incidence rate of approximately 50% for women under 40 in metropolitan settings is much more concerning.

Consult your doctor about which vaccines you’ll need, but you’ll almost certainly need Hep A, Hep B, and Typhoid. A rabies vaccination is recommended if you plan on staying in rural regions for an extended period of time. Lesotho is free of tropical illnesses including malaria, yellow fever, and bilharzia.

Because the hospitals in Lesotho are not of great quality, it is a good idea to include some sterile needles and dressing in your first aid bag.

If you have any severe health issues while in Lesotho, call your country’s embassy in Maseru or, in most instances, in Pretoria, South Africa, since there are excellent facilities over the border for those who can afford them.

Lesotho is a high, hilly plateau, and some individuals may experience altitude sickness when they first arrive in the isolated Highlands. Skin burns rapidly in the thin alpine air, so drink plenty of water and stay covered up. In the summer, the sun is scorching!

Lesotho’s water is filthy and should not be consumed untreated. Be wary of street sellers selling carbonated beverages, since they are often sold in dirty, reused glass bottles.

Bring a moisturizer with you! The air in Lesotho is dry, and some individuals will have dry skin!



South America


North America

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