Lesotho is a country located in Southern Africa, and is often referred to as the Kingdom in the Sky due to its altitude — it has the highest lowest point in the world (1400m) and is the only country in the world to be entirely above 1000m! Lesotho is completely surrounded by South Africa and has many attractions to offer which make it an adventurous holiday destination.
When it comes to unique adventures Lesotho has to offer, look no further than the Kome Caves – the staggering cave houses once built by the Basotho people with a purpose to from the cannibals. For the nature lovers, visit Semonkong Falls known as the falls that drop 200m in a single plunge! There is really no prettier experience than swimming in a pond below these waterfalls during summer, while during winter, the pond freezes making a natural ice rink – which is probably the most perfect sight to see in this country. Another impressive feature of Lesotho – real dinosaur footprints that can be seen around the country: the most accessible areas are near Moyeni & Morija.
Warnings & Dangers in Lesotho
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
Lesotho is generally considered a safe country to travel to. However, even though it has served as a safe haven and a sanctuary from all the troubles that are hitting the rest of Africa pretty hard - Lesotho also has its issues with crime, both petty and violent, illnesses and poverty.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : HIGH
Expect rugged terrains when driving in Lesotho. But this is not the biggest problem when it comes to transport in Lesotho. It is essential to remember that car thefts are common here, as are smash-and-grabs. Lesotho's drivers are usually driving in a reckless and erratic way, and other means of transport are unreliable and slow.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
Pickpockets do operate in Lesotho, especially on Lesotho's crowded buses and other types of public transportation as well so make sure you're holding your bags and belongings tightly by your side while travelling.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Many natural disasters have been known to hit Lesotho, including floods, drought, frost, strong winds, and heavy snowfall. These have caused many human and livestock deaths and cause substantial material damage, damage to properties and loss of crops.
MUGGING RISK : HIGH
Violence is a particular problem in Lesotho. Robberies and muggings are common and while guns aren't that commonly used, knives are, and if you find yourself in such a situation, hand over everything they want immediately, as they will have no problem using violence against you if you resist.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
Although Lesotho has experienced no terrorism attacks, they shouldn't be ruled out, so it is best to remain vigilant at all times, and aware of your surroundings.
SCAMS RISK : HIGH
As in any country, there is the risk of getting scammed. Expect that people will try to extort some money from you whenever they can as this is a poverty ridden country. You might get overcharged by everyone: street vendors, taxi and bus drivers and accommodation owners. Double check every information and pay or negotiate everything in advance.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM
Lesotho isn't the safest destination for a solo female traveler. You should by all means avoid going anywhere alone after dark, and strive to have some company even during the day. Follow basic common sense and avoid walking alone at night and in poorly lit and secluded areas.
So... How Safe Is Lesotho Really?
Lesotho is, generally, considered far safer than its neighbor – South Africa. Lesotho has had a reputation of a safe haven – a sanctuary from all the political turmoil that has hit other countries of Africa. And while it has maintained its independence, it’s fighting its own battles – with poverty, illness and crime. Its urban parts are more and more dangerous though the rural areas are so beautiful and filled with gorgeous sights and things to do that there’s little reason to hang around the cities.
Now, the aforementioned crime in urban areas is probably the biggest concern for visitors. The crime rate in Lesotho’s capital Maseru is considered to be crime critical by the US department of state. This applies to the nearby towns of Maputsoe and Hlotse, too. Don’t spend much time on the streets after dark and never stray off well-lit and busy streets. Be particularly cautious along the stretch between Maseru’s hub of hotels, as well as in the business district as they are notorious for robberies.
When it comes to muggings and robberies, mostly knives are used, but gun crime is on the rise, especially in Maseru. If you are targeted don’t put up any resistance and hand over your belongings immediately as potential robbers will probably not hesitate in using violence. Always ride with your car windows up.
- Visas - Nationals from Ireland, the UK and the USA do not need a visa to enter Lesotho, while many other countries do need to acquire one. Make sure your passport is valid for at least three months following departure, and has at least two blank pages. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
- Currency - There are two valid currencies in Lesotho: South African rand and Lesotho loti. ATMs are widespread throughout Lesotho, but international cards are rarely accepted anywhere outside of the capital.
- Weather - Climate in Lesotho is temperate, characterized by hot summers and cold winters. Maseru and the lowlands surrounding it can reach as high as 30 °C during summer, while winters can be cold with the lowlands' temperature dropping as low as −7 °C and in the highlands it goes down to −20 °C at times.
- Airports - Moshoeshoe I International Airport is an airport in Maseru, the capital city of Lesotho. It is located in the town of Mazenod, about 18 km southeast of downtown Maseru.
- Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Lesotho, since it covers not only the costs of medical problems, but also theft and loss of valuables.