Saturday, September 18, 2021

How To Travel To Lesotho

AfricaLesothoHow To Travel To Lesotho

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).