Lesotho :: Lesotho
Category: Places :: Country
TOP ATTRACTION: Afriski Mountain Resort
TOP ATTRACTION: Baroana Paintings
TOP ATTRACTION: Waterfall Botsoela
TOP ATTRACTION: Gates Of Paradise Pass
TOP ATTRACTION: Sani Pass Pub (Highest Pub In Africa)
TOP ATTRACTION: Katse Dam
TOP ATTRACTION: Kome Cave Dwellings
TOP ATTRACTION: Leribe Craft Centre
TOP ATTRACTION: Liphofung Cave
TOP ATTRACTION: Maeder House Art Gallery & Morija Art Centre
TOP ATTRACTION: Mafika Lisiu Pass
TOP ATTRACTION: Maletsunyane Falls
TOP ATTRACTION: Masitise Cave House Museum
TOP ATTRACTION: Matebeng Pass
TOP ATTRACTION: Matsieng Royal Village
TOP ATTRACTION: Moteng Pass
TOP ATTRACTION: Sehlabathebe National Park
TOP ATTRACTION: Teyateyaneng Handcrafts
TOP ATTRACTION: Thaba Bosiu Cultural Village
TOP ATTRACTION: Tsehlanyane National Park
TOP ATTRACTION: Tsoelikanyane Waterfall
Nicknamed ‘Kingdom in the Sky’ this small mountainous country is known for its natural beauty and high passes. The entire country sits above 1 000 m and in many areas hardy ponies are the only mode of transport for the friendly Basotho people. Lofty mountains and spectacular waterfalls make Lesotho a nature lover’s destination.
Lesotho offers wonderful hiking, pony trekking, skiing & snowboarding opportunities and the more adventurous can abseil down the Maletsunyane Waterfall. This 205 m line is noted in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest commercially operated single-drop abseil in the world.
Lesotho is also a paradise to adventurous overlanders who love to travel off the beaten track. Sani Pass is said to be one of the steepest passes in the world and therefore a bucket-list pass amongst overlanders. At the top of the pass is a waterhole for weary travellers - the highest pub in Africa!
Katse Dam is the centre piece of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project which supplies hydro-power for Lesotho and water for South Africa. This spectacular dam with its 185 m high curving wall is well worth a visit.
One of the most important cultural and historical sites in Lesotho is the Thaba Bosiu Cultural Village. Here, King Moshoeshoe established a mountaintop fortress in 1824 to keep his people safe during the Difaqane, a series of wars between 1815 and 1840. This is also the site of royal graves and rock paintings.
Although the tourism sector is not highly sophisticated, this is a very hospitable destination and travellers who know the country keep returning to its magnificent splendour. For some reason Lesotho is an underrated travel destination, even though it is easily accessible from South Africa.
Lesotho loti (plural: maloti), the South African rand is also accepted.
DRIVING IN LESOTHO:
Drive on the left-hand side of the road. Many of the country’s old gravel roads have been tarred in recent years, making travel times much shorter than they used to be. However, given the speed limit of 50 km/h near the multitude of small settlements, travel time is still slow.
Lesotho’s mountainous terrain makes driving on secondary roads hazardous. Unpaved roads in the interior (often narrow, twisty and steep) are poorly maintained and will deteriorate badly in winter. For travel in the interior, especially in wet or snowy weather, a high clearance or 4WD vehicle is recommended and even then frequent road closures at high altitude can be expected.
The roads away from the capital are generally quiet with the biggest hazards coming from wandering animals. Driving after dark is dangerous due to the absence of street lighting and the presence of livestock on the roads.
Extensive snow falls are possible in winter but may occur in any month on the high mountains. In winter, antifreeze in the engine coolant is a wise precaution for all cars with water-cooled engines.
In summer heavy thunderstorms sometimes bring flash floods therefore you should rather stick to main roads with bridged river and stream crossings.
If you plan on travelling on remote tracks, the use of snow chains can mean the difference between being stranded for the night or getting back to base. Chains are also useful in mud and snow, and for crossing swift-running streams with sandy beds.
Visitors should inquire at the Lesotho Tourism Information Centre (tel. +266 28 357 207 or email [email protected]) about the condition of roads leading to the various points of interest.
When you plan your route, keep in mind that driving in Lesotho generally takes much longer than expected and driving can be erratic with all the people and animals on the road. Also, be sensible and don’t leave valuables within sight when you park and leave your vehicle.
You can expect many police road blocks but as long as you are polite, police officers are friendly. Take care to come to a complete standstill at any STOP sign. Even if police officers encourage you to drive towards them at a road block, you must first stop at the STOP sign and then you may proceed towards the officer, otherwise you will be fined. Make sure you have your passport and vehicle documentation with you at all times as traffic officers will expect to see it if they stop you.
Note, you are legally required to have two emergency triangles in your vehicle and it is illegal to speak on a cell phone without a hands-free device while driving. The speed limit in urban areas is 50 km/h and 80 km/h on all other roads. However, slower speeds are recommended as there are many pedestrians, cyclists, horsemen and stray animals on the roads.
Sotho (Sesotho) & English.
GMT+2 Central Africa time.
Nationals of the following 17 countries and jurisdictions do not require a visa to enter Lesotho for visits up to 14 days: Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
No visas are required for nationals of the following countries for visits up to 30 days: Austria, Australia, Botswana, Canada, Fiji, Ghana and South Africa.
Nationals of the following 40 countries and jurisdictions can visit Lesotho visa-free for up to 90 days: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Brunei, Dominica, Gambia, Grenada, Guyana, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kiribati, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Namibia, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu, Zambia, Tanzania and Tonga.
Any other passport holders need to apply in advance for a visa from their nearest consulate or online for an eVisa at www.evisalesotho.com.
There is no border control on the Lesotho side at Ongeluksnek and Monantsa border posts and when entering or exiting at these two, you will only pass through the South African border control. This means that when entering Lesotho from Ongeluksnek or Monantsa, you will be stamped out from South Africa but not stamped into Lesotho. Likewise, when entering South Africa from these points you will not be stamped out of Lesotho but stamped in at South Africa. In the past, this has created some problems when being stopped by police in Lesotho, however, after deliberations between immigration officials and the Lesotho Tourism Board, it is now acceptable to enter or exit Lesotho via Ongeluksnek and Monantsa in this manner.
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