🌎Currency: Lesotho loti (LSL)
🌎Time Zone: +2 GMT
🌎Phone Code: +266
🌎Best time to visit: Dec to Mar (Summer)
🌎Must eat: Braai (BBQ)
🌎Don't miss: Sani-Pass Tour (from South Africa)
Lesotho is one of the poorest countries in the world, and sadly it's to no surprise that it remains well unknown by the travel community. To access Lesotho you can only fly direct from Johannesburg (South Africa) with a couple of flights operating daily to Moshoeshoe International Airport in Lesotho (cod MSU). Making a connection in Johannesburg is a must if you are flying into the country. However most people when they visit Lesotho, they use the Sani Pass, which is a road connecting South Africa to Lesotho on the southern side of the country. It is mostly used as a tourist tour spot and serves as well as a vital link to the communities which life in the high mountains. (see below).
If you are visiting in the capital, Maseru, you cant expect exactly any form of public transport. From the airport there are only taxis to start with (cabs) and once you arrive you will see that even going from one side of the city to another you will also need to hire a cab from door to door.
Attention! Safety and security in Lesotho are very low, specially for visitors. Although in comparison to South Africa crime levels aren't so high, there is still a lot of petty crime related to theft, bribery and corruption. Visitors are encouraged not to wonder on the streets alone, even in day light, and specially when the sun sets. Should always ask the locals at Hotels if the areas are safe to go out or not.
If you encounter any threats, it's advised always to stay visible on main streets, walk away from any conflict and stay alert of your possessions. Never expose your mobile phone, camera, digital equipment etc and it's recommended to under-dress. Don't wear (expose) any jewellery or items of value on the street. Also, if you are alone make sure nobody follows you when walking around the city and frequently cross the street to avoid any followers. Don't take much money with you and only one credit card, not a wallet.
Because of its altitude, Lesotho is cooler throughout the year than other regions at the same latitude. Most of the rain falls as summer thunderstorms. Maseru, the capital and surrounding lowlands often reach 30 °C in the Summer. (December to March). it's also the best time to explore the country and make the tours from neighbouring countries around Nov to March. Winters (June to September) can be cold with the lowlands getting down to −7 °C and the higher areas to even −18 °C at times. Snow is common in the mountains between May and September.
Food limitations are quite severe in the country, due to the high altitudes and limited resources to buy them. There is a lot of farming where towns and villages have their own crops and animals which they feed and eat. The main hotels in Maseru serve international food, but there are also some interesting places to dine in the main towns which can offer African dishes with a unique twist. Hotels and restaurants in Lesotho cater for all nationalities. , but food has to be imported from South Africa mainly.
Specialities include, Braai (a southern African barbecue). Cooking styles include French, Italian, continental and Chinese.
We encourage you to visit Lesotho, a unique experience to travel to, specially by it's proximity to South Africa. When you stay in the city of Durban there are many tour agencies which offer this package to visit Lesotho and even stay there a few days on the Hotel which is situated upon the mountains. Most tourists however choose to do the one day tour which lasts for around 12-13 hours from the moment you are picked up from your accommodation in Durban to the moment you return back to the Hotel. You start the tour usually by 6.30am. Remember, don't forget your passports!
The Tour is called, The Sani Pass, which is also a high mountain pass at an elevation of 2,876m, located in the western end of Kwa Zulu-Natal province of South Africa on the road between Underberg and Mokhotlong, Lesotho. It is a 33km gravel route that connects Kwazulu-Natal and Lesotho. It is a notoriously dangerous road, which requires the use of a 4x4 vehicle. There are a series of winding twists, hairpins, plunging drops and mind-blowing scenery.
It’s one of the famous hairpinned roads in the world. Sani Pass pass road was built in 1950’s and remains a challenging drive in 4x4 vehicles with all the drama, scenery, bad weather and treacherous conditions expected of a pass with this altitude. The road from on the South African side is in the process of upgrade and refurbishment, with a wider road, a bridge and safety protections. However as you drive up the mountain the terrain is very raw, and attention must be paid if it's wet or snowy. That's why it's only advised to go there by tour, which use the 4x4. (Although there are numerous other vehicles trying to reach the mountain top, despite the damage to the suspension system if the car is not suitable). The road over the pass (After entering Lesotho) is already in the process of upgrade. It will be totally tarred in 2019 by the Chinese, who have been commissioned to construct this road.
Once you have had your passports stamped to enter Lesotho, the tours either stop at the restaurant/pub for toilet and for food or for some tourists to get of and stay at the Hotel. The 4x4 can then take you around the refurbished roads to the highest point of Lesotho at 3240m. There are excellent photo opportunities as well as, meeting some local sheppard who will pose for a picture in return for some loose change or food. It's also typical to visit the local huts and houses which form the little village area on the side road. These communities survive mainly on donations from the tour guides, and tourists who come to visit. It's recommended to buy some basic food on your way from Durban, (oil, flour, sugar, biscuits, fruit, potatoes the most typical), although anything you have is greatly appreciated by the local people, from clothes, sweets for children to hygiene products or cosmetics. When you visit the huts, sometimes they will offer you bread in exchange which is freshly baked and you can buy also some handcraft items which are made in Lesotho by the local people.
The total time spent actually in Lesotho itself is quick, only 2 hours or less. Tour vehicles make their way back to Duran around 3pm and reach Durban around 7-8pm. it's important you bring plenty of drinking water for the long trip, as well as water proof gear, comfortable walking shoes and sun-cream for sunny days. The prices are high for this tour, around €170 per person. But this includes all entry fees, transport, experienced tour guides and information. The trip is recommended during the Summer time (November to March) for better weather conditions, other times you will experience snow and freezing winds. Book the trip at (www.zulusafaris.com)