Lesotho: Facts and Independent Travel Tips
Like many visitors to Lesotho, I merely popped in for a few days as part of a trip through South Africa. However, on arrival, I found a beautiful and fascinating country that is unlike anywhere else I’ve been. Despite its small size, a few days barely scratched the surface, and I’m already planning a return trip!
Here are some of my favourite facts about Lesotho, as well as some travel tips for those planning their own trip.
Lesotho has a unique national dress- a colourful Basotho blanket, usually worn with rubber boots and a balaclava.
Lesotho is one of three kingdoms in Africa (the others are Swaziland and Morocco).
Lesotho is one of only three enclaves in the world, that is, it is completely surrounded by another country (South Africa). The others are San Marino and Vatican city, which are both enclaved by Italy.
Like many parts of South Africa, the people of Lesotho commonly live in circular rondavel houses, except here these are called mokhoros.
Rates of disease and malnutrition are high in Lesotho, though the government is making massive strides to provide adequate healthcare to all its citizens. Lesotho also has the third highest prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS in the world, at a shocking 22.9%.
Lesotho gets surprisingly cold. Temperatures can reach -18 degrees C, with serious frost and hail (this explains the national dress being a blanket!).
A popular entry route into Lesotho is through the Sani Pass in the Drakensberg mountain range- a treacherous but beautiful route boasting stunning views and the highest pub in Africa. Read about our journey through the Sani Pass here.
At least 99.7% of the people in Lesotho are ethnically Sotho. (The remainder are Europeans, Asians, and other groups).
The currency in Lesotho is the Maloti, which is pegged to the South African Rand at 1:1. The rand is widely accepted here, though the maloti will not be accepted in South Africa.
Although Lesotho’s laid-back vibe may make visitors feel perfectly safe, the urban areas are dangerous for tourists, particularly those travelling alone, at night, or along certain streets. Stay safe and get a taxi, and whatever you do, don’t make our mistake of arriving late at night in Maseru without a plan, being led astray down a dark alley with all our belongings, and having to be rescued by off-duty police officers. (Click here for some safe travel tips).
The easiest way for visitors to see the country is to rent a car. If you rent a car in South Africa, you will incur an extra fee to take the car across the border, however, if you rent a car in Lesotho, the rental itself will be more expensive, so shop around.
To see some a photo gallery of this awesome little country, check out Ailish in Wonderland’s next post: Lesotho in Pictures
Do you have any other travel tips or facts about Lesotho? Share them in the comments!