Last updated: ET
Still valid: ET
Latest updates: An editorial change was made.
LESOTHO - Exercise a high degree of caution
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Lesotho. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to crime.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Exercise a high degree of caution and maintain a high level of personal security awareness at all times and in all places in Lesotho.
There were reports of an attempted coup in Maseru on August 30, 2014. The security situation remains unpredictable and could change rapidly. There is no visible police presence at night. After dark, avoid travelling and remain in your hotel or place of residence. Avoid gatherings and demonstrations, monitor news reports and follow the advice of local authorities.
Petty crime, such as pickpocketing, purse snatching and mugging, is prevalent and increases at night and on weekends. Violent crime has increased, particularly in the capital, Maseru, between local hotels and the business district. Foreigners are often targeted.
Armed robbery, carjacking and residential break-ins occur, especially in Maseru and other large towns, including Maputsoe and Leribe. Foreigners, especially tourists, members of foreign missions and other expatriate professionals have experienced such incidents.
Avoid walking alone, even during daylight hours. Walking or driving after dark is extremely risky.Do not resist assailants if attacked or robbed and avoid eye contact if possible.
Demonstrations and general strikes occur and have the potential to suddenly turn violent. They can lead to significant disruptions to traffic and public transportation. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.
Traffic drives on the left. Local driving habits pose a risk in Maseru. Livestock, pedestrians, vehicles moving without lights and other hazards are frequently encountered on the roads. Ensure windows are closed and doors locked at all times. Offering rides to hitchhikers is dangerous. Remain vigilant when stopping at scenic points or rest stations. There are few gas stations outside of cities and large towns. There are no road side assistance services operating in Lesotho. You should park in well-lit areas.
All Lesotho-South Africa border crossings and eight of Lesotho’s 10 district capitals are linked by good roads. It can take a very long time to get through border crossings. Rural communities are linked by secondary gravel roads that are in bad condition, poorly lit and best suited to four-wheel drive vehicles. Many rural areas, particularly in the mountainous two thirds of the country, can be reached only by basic dirt roads or on horseback.
Avoid using minibus taxis; they are poorly maintained and often involved in accidents.
The Government of Canada does not assess foreign domestic airlines’ compliance with international aviation safety standards. See Foreign domestic airlines for more information.
General safety information
You should carry identification documents at all times.
Remain vigilant at all times and ensure that personal belongings and travel documents are secure.
Tourist facilities are developing in Lesotho but remain very limited. Check the level of security provided at the hotel or accommodation you are contemplating before making reservations.
Car rentals are available in Maseru. Cars rented in South Africa may be brought into Lesotho with a letter of authorization from the rental company. Some rental companies do not issue letters of authorization.
It is the sole prerogative of every country or territory to determine who is allowed to enter or exit. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry or exit requirements. The following information has been obtained from the authorities of Lesotho and is subject to change at any time. The country- or territory-specific entry/exit requirements are provided on this page for information purposes only. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, information contained here is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada assumes no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided. It is your responsibility to check with the High Commission for the Kingdom of Lesotho and its consulates for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
To visit Lesotho, Canadians must present a passport, which must be valid for a minimum of three months from the date of entry. Before you leave, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Temporary passport holders may be subject to different entry requirements. Check with diplomatic representatives for up-to-date information.
Canadians do not require a visa for stays up to 14 days. Stays can be extended for 30 days beyond the initial 14 days, to make a maximum total of 44 days without a visa. Stays beyond 44 days require that the visitor apply for a temporary residence permit. The extension and issuance of residence permits is only done at the immigration office.
Visitor visa: Not required for stays up to 14 days, with possible extension of additional 30 days
Temporary residence permit: Required for stays beyond 44 days
Work permit: Required
Study permit: Required
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
Consult the South Africa Travel Advice page if you are transiting by road through South Africa with children under the age of 18.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
- Measles: Global Update - July 28, 2016 00:00 EDT
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world. Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
Yellow Fever Vaccination
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
|* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Southern Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Southern Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among pediatric travellers, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers at high risk visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care provider about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in Southern Africa, certain insects carry and spread diseases like African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, chikungunya, malaria, Rift Valley fever, and West Nile virus.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is no risk of malaria in this country.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in Southern Africa, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
Medical services and facilities
Medical facilities are poor outside Maseru and medicines are scarce. Ambulance service is unreliable or non-existent. Cash payment for medical care is usually required. Good medical services are available in Bloemfontein, South Africa, 140 km from Maseru. Medical evacuation to South Africa is usually necessary in the event of an accident or serious sickness. Patients generally have to arrange their own transport, unless it is specifically covered by their insurance policy.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
Laws & culture
You are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
An International Driving Permit is required.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Lesotho. If local authorities consider you a Lesothan citizen, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services, thereby preventing Canadian consular officials from providing you with those services. You should always travel using your valid Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times to minimize this risk. You may also need to carry and present a Lesothan passport for legal reasons, for example to enter and exit the country (see Entry/exit requirements to determine passport requirements). Citizenship is determined solely by national laws, and the decision to recognize dual citizenship rests completely with the country in which you are located when seeking consular assistance. See Travelling as a dual citizen for more information.
The currency is the loti (plural maloti: LSL); however, the South African rand (ZAR) can also be used. Major credit cards and traveller’s cheques, in U.S. dollars, are accepted only at major tourist establishments and banks. Currency is readily available through automated banking machines (ABMs).
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
Violent thunderstorms occur in summer (November to February) and result in several deaths yearly. You should keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly. Weather conditions change rapidly in mountainous regions. Carry a blanket or warm clothes and a flashlight in case of snowfall or vehicle breakdown in mountain areas, where the weather can become cold quickly and unexpectedly, even in summer months.
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 800 220 46 / 223 171 63
- medical assistance: 589 705 88
- firefighters: 800 220 46
Pretoria - High Commission of Canada
For emergency assistance after hours, call the Canadian High Commission to South Africa, in Pretoria. Listen to the full message and follow the instructions. You may also make a collect call to the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at +1 613 996 8885.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad. In the event of a large-scale emergency, every effort will be made to provide assistance. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
See Large-scale emergencies abroad for more information.
- Date modified: