Saturday, September 18, 2021

How To Travel Around Lesotho

AfricaLesothoHow To Travel Around Lesotho

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.

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.

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.