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Lesotho Accommodation

The Katse Dam, a concrete arch dam on the Malibamat'so River in Lesotho, is Africa's second largest dam. (The Tekezé Dam, completed in early 2009, is now Africa's largest double...

Maseru, the capital city, is generally the first stop for many tourists and offers a number of attractions. The Basotho-hut-shaped Lesotho Evangelical church and the colonial-style...

Mohale Dam is a rock-fill dam in Lesotho. It is part of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, which will eventually include 5 large dams in remote rural areas of Lesotho and South Africa...

Tsehlanyane National Park is only one of two national parks in Lesotho, and makes up an intergral part of the greater Maloti/Drankensberg Transfrontier Park. The park is located deep in...

At 3 482 m above sea level, Thabana Ntlenyana is the highest peak in Southern Africa. The country offers an opportunity to experience Africa's natural beauty, the simplicity and warmth of its remote inhabitants, and the majestic landscapes of the Maloti Highlands.

Border Post Times / Currency / Climate / Electricity / Gratuities / Language / Visas / Public Holidays

Lesotho can be explored by car on well-established roads. For the more adventurous a 4 x 4 or the reliable Basotho pony, the traditional form of transport, are more appropriate on rugged terrain.

Although it is a young independent country, Lesotho's history dates back millions of years. Fossilised dinosaur trails and petrified wood testify to a long natural history, while the San rock-paintings are relics of their later occupation. Lesotho was first inhabited by a small group of people of Nguni origin. Alongside the San lived the Sesotho-speaking Bafokeng. After marauding raids by the Zulus, King Moshoeshoe I gathered the remnants of the war-stricken tribes to amalgamate them into one nation, settling in the north on the Botha Bothe plateau. The search for security resulted in subsequent migration southward, and settlement at Thaba Bosiu in 1824. From this mountain fortress the nation withstood numerous attacks. The first missionaries opened the world of education for Moshoeshoe's subjects. A new enemy came with the arrival of the Boers, whose military campaign from 1865 to 1868 led Moshoeshoe to seek protection from the Queen of England. This was provided on 12 March 1868. On 4 October 1966 Lesotho was granted independence.

An excellent tarred road through the beautiful Mafika-Lisiu pass leads to the site of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. The dams here have created spectacular views, as well as homes for an increasing number of birds. Future developments in the project will allow visitors to enjoy numerous activities such as sailing, wind-surfing, pony-trekking, hiking and trout-fishing. The Katse Dam at Bokong is the centrepiece of the project and is the highest dam in Africa.

The Roof of Africa Scenic Route boasts some of the most spectacular views in the country. The rural villages, set high in the mountains, display traditional lifestyles, unchanged for generations. The Mokhotlong District includes Thabana Ntlenyana, the highest peak in Southern Africa. Challenging yet spectacular 4 x 4 routes weave their way through the area that is rich in montane bird life, including bald ibis, Varreaux, black eagle, Cape vulture and bearded vulture. Sani Pass is the main gateway into Lesotho from KwaZulu-Natal and is the pony-trekking centre between Molumong and Thabana Ntlenyana.

Sehlabathebe National Park is the only designated nature reserve in Lesotho and comprises 6 500 hectares at an average elevation of 2 400 m. The park is ideal for bird-watching and contains unusual rock formations and alpine flora. Game is limited to a few antelope species but the scenery is stunning.

Southwest Lesotho is a treasure-house of history, full of sites that played major roles in the creation of Lesotho's heritage. The town of Morija houses the only museum in the country, including a small conference centre, a craft centre and a 19th-century church, the oldest in the country. Matsieng is the traditional capital of Lesotho and home to the royal family. Malentsunyane Falls, though a fraction of the width of the Victoria Falls, is the highest single-drop waterfall in Southern Africa. The falls can be visited by pony-trekking from Malealea, Molimo Nthuse or nearby Semonkong Lodge. Malealea is situated in secluded woodland surrounded by attractive countryside and is an ideal base for trekking and exploring a number of attractions in the area.

Mohale's Hoek provides a scenic corridor for motorists between Maseru and Quthing. Metlejoeng interconnecting caves were inhabited by cannibals early in the 19th century and can be explored by visitors. Maphutseng has some of the oldest buildings and the trackway of both herbivore and carnivore dinosaurs. The Quthing district has the cave house as Masitise built by Ellenberger, a French missionary. Just outside the town of Moyeni lies a protected dinosaur-footprints centre where these may be viewed. Further on there is Sebapala Valley – a spectacular high mountain valley and the location of a wildlife conservation project designed by the local population to protect the bearded vulture. Lake Letsie is a lake and wetland area near Ongeluk's Nek and an important wildlife habitat idyllic for picnics, hiking and pony-trekking.

For many years ponies were the only means of transport through the mountainous terrain, resulting in a strong tradition of horse-riding and breeding. The Basotho pony's origin can be traced back to a mixture of stunted thoroughbreds, the influence of horses from Java, the introduction of Arab stallions and later a cross-breed with Commemara ponies. Single- or multi-day trails through spectacular beauty can be enjoyed on these sure-footed and well-tempered Basotho ponies. Pony treks into the mountains can be undertaken from Molimo Nthuse, Malealea Lodge, Semonkong Lodge and Khohlontso Pony-trekking. Most handicrafts produced in Lesotho are used in everyday life. The Basotho hat is worn throughout the country and the clay pots or jugs are used to store water or home-brewed beer. Mats and baskets are used for their traditional purposes. The people of Lesotho are also masters of weaving, jewellery design and pottery.

Climate: Because of its altitude, Lesotho remains cooler throughout the year than other regions at the same latitude. Most of the rain falls are summer thunderstorms. Maseru and surrounding lowlands often reach 30°C (86°F) in summer. Winters can be cold with the lowlands getting down to −7°C (19°F) and the highlands to −18°C (−0°F) at times. Snow is common in the highlands between May and September; the higher peaks can experience snowfalls year-round.

Currency: Lesotho is part of the Rand Monetary Area. The currency, the Loti (plural Maloti), is interchangeable with the South African Rand, but only the notes are considered legal tender throughout Lesotho. Although South African Rands are accepted currency in Lesotho, Maloti are not accepted in South Africa; so do ensure to change your Maloti back to South African Rand before leaving the country. The commercial banks deal in foreign exchange and travellers’ cheques, while the major shops, hotels and service outlets accept international credit cards. One Loti = One Rand.

Electricity: 220/240 volt AC, the plugs are three pin, but adaptors for two pin plugs are widely available.

Gratuities / Tipping: As in most countries, tipping in Lesotho is a welcome gesture. You will find that a 10% tip in appreciation of pleasant, friendly and efficient service will be much appreciated.

Language: The main language, Sesotho (or Sotho), is also the first official and administrative language, and it is what Basotho speak on an ordinary basis. English is the other official and administrative language.

Visas / Travel Documents: All visitors to Lesotho require a valid passport or travel document. Visitors from the United Kingdom and most European countries, including African states, do not require visas for up to 14 days. Do not proceed to Lesotho without establishing your visa status.

Border Post Times:

• Ladybrand - Maseru: Open 24 hours
• Ficksburg - Maputsoe: Open 24 hours
• Fouriesburg - Caledonspoort: 06h00 - 22h00
• Sterkspruit - Tele: 08h00 - 22h00
• Wepener - Van Rooyen's: 06h00 - 20h00
• Matatiele - Qacha's Nek: 08h00 - 20h00
• Matatiele - Ramatseliso's: 08h00 - 18h00
• Gum Tree - Peka Bridge: 08h00 - 16h00
• Boesmanskop - Sephapho's: 08h00 - 16h00
• Zastron - Makhaleng Bridge: 08h00 - 16h00
• Himeville - Sani Pass: 08h00 - 16h00

Public Holidays:

• 1 January - New Year's Day
• 11 March - Moshoeshoe's Day
• Variable - Good Friday
• Variable - Easter Monday
• 1 May - Worker's Day
• Variable - Ascension Day
• 25 May - Heroes' Day
• 17 July - Kings Birthday
• 04 October - Independence Day
• 25 December - Christmas Day
• 26 December - Boxing Day

Capital: 
Maseru
Population: 
2,067,000
Area: 
30,355 km²
Language: 
English, Sesotho
Currency: 
Loti - LSL / Rand - ZAR
Major Airports: 
Maseru
Other: 
Left-hand Driving, Summer Time: CAT (UCT+2)
Starting from R 1,400.00 per unit | SC
Maliba River Lodge

Maliba River Lodge is based within the Ts'ehlanyane National Park, and offers self-catering retreats set in a pristine wilderness valley deep in the North of Lesotho's...

Starting from R 980.00 p/p sharing | R 1,160.00 single | BB
Mohale Lodge

Mohale Lodge is perfectly positioned for guests wanting to enjoy the beauty of the magnificent landscapes and skyscapes of the surrounding Maluti Mountains and Mohale...

Starting from R 1,255.00 p/p sharing | BB
AVANI Lesotho Hotel

AVANI Lesotho Hotel - The 4-star hotel is situated on a hillside overlooking Maseru, the capital of Lesotho. Regarded as one of the best places to stay in Lesotho, this...

Starting from R 1,130.00 p/p sharing | R 1,710.00 single | FB
Maliba Riverside Huts

Maliba Riverside Huts - The river huts are cozy round traditional Rondavels ideal for 2 people. They are en-suite with comfortable Queen size beds and are located next...

Starting from R 1,862.50 per room | BB
AVANI Maseru Hotel

AVANI Maseru Hotel is perfectly situated alongside the Caledon River in the centre of Maseru. It’s sometimes difficult to accept that you’re in the middle of a bustling...

Starting from R 599.00 p/p sharing | R 899.00 single | BB
Katse Lodge

Katse Lodge is perfectly positioned atop a ridge offering panoramic views of the famous Katse Dam. The lodge is an ideal starting point for travellers wishing to explore...

Starting from R 1,820.00 p/p sharing | R 2,720.00 single | FB
Maliba Mountain Lodge

Maliba Mountain Lodge - At Maliba Mountain Lodge visitors to Lesotho can enjoy spectacular scenery seen at its best from the back of a Basotho pony as it takes you...