Travel Consideration: Lesotho

Contributed By RealAdventures

Lesotho is a developing country in southern Africa. Facilities for tourists are limited. The capital city is Maseru.

A passport is required, but no visa is needed. For more information concerning entry requirements, travelers may contact the Embassy of the Kingdom of Lesotho, 2511 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 797-5533. Overseas inquiries may be made at the nearest embassy or consulate of Lesotho.

Despite suffering significant civil disorder and riot conditions in September 1998, social peace and stability have returned to Lesotho. The regional military task force invited by the government to restore order withdrew combat elements in April 1999. Although the situation has stabilized, travelers should be alert for the potential for politically based unrest, particularly in the capital of Maseru. U.S. citizens should avoid political gatherings and street demonstrations and maintain security awareness at all times. The process to resolve political differences is underway, and new national elections are expected sometime in 2000. Commercial activity and the availability of consumable goods have returned to relative normal levels considering the damages and loss caused by arson and looting in 1998. Limited quality restaurant options are available, but with an inadequate number of venues.

Deteriorating economic conditions in the country, aggravated by the return of large numbers of unemployed miners from South Africa, have caused an increase in armed robberies, break-ins and car-jackings. This occurs primarily in the capital city of Maseru, but can occur elsewhere as well. Victims have included foreign diplomats and members of foreign aid missions. Traveling alone or at night is particularly dangerous.

Medical facilities are minimal. Many medicines are unavailable. Doctors and hospitals often require immediate cash payment for health care services

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions which differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Lesotho is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor

Road travel is difficult, especially during bad weather. A four-wheel drive vehicle is essential on dirt roads outside Maseru. Due to lack of maintenance, some city roads are impassable without a four-wheel drive vehicle and other roads may have limited access to other vehicular traffic.

For specific information concerning Lesotho driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the Lesotho National Tourist Organization offices.

U.S. citizens living in or visiting Lesotho are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy and obtain updated information on travel and security in Lesotho. The U.S. Embassy is located at 254 Kingsway, Maseru West; the mailing address is P.O. Box 333, Maseru 100, Lesotho. The telephone number is (266) 312-666.

As there is no direct commercial air service by local carriers at present, or economic authority to operate such service between the U.S. and Lesotho, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Lesotho's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Lesotho's air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at tel. 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA Internet home page at The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at tel. 618-229-4801.

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