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LESOTHO - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Lesotho due to crime.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Petty crime, such as pickpocketing, purse snatching and mugging, is prevalent. It increases at night and on weekends. Violent crime occurs, particularly in Maseru between local hotels and the business district. Foreigners are often targeted.
Armed robbery, carjacking and residential break-ins occur, especially in large towns including:
Foreign tourists and expatriates have experienced such incidents.
There is no visible police presence at night.
Walking or driving after dark is extremely risky. Avoid walking alone, even during daylight hours.
Do not resist assailants if attacked or robbed. Avoid eye contact with the assailant, if possible.
Ensure that your personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times.
Demonstrations may occur. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place.
- Follow the instructions of local authorities.
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations.
Local driving habits pose a risk in Maseru. Livestock, pedestrians, vehicles moving without lights and other hazards are occur frequently.
There are few gas stations outside of cities and large towns. There are no road side assistance services operating in Lesotho.
- Always close and lock windows and doors
- Do not offer rides to hitchhikers, who may be dangerous
- Be vigilant when stopping at scenic points or rest stations
- You should park in well-lit areas
All Lesotho–South Africa border crossings and 8 of Lesotho’s 10 district capitals are linked by good roads.
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 mountainous areas, can be reached only by basic dirt roads or on horseback.
Renting a car
If you rent a car in South Africa, you may bring it into Lesotho with a letter of authorization from the rental company. Be sure to check with the rental company because some rental companies do not issue letters of authorization.
Avoid using minibus taxis; they are poorly maintained and often involved in accidents.
General safety information
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.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the authorities of Lesotho. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 3 months beyond the date you enter Lesotho.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.
Canadians do not require a visa for stays up to 14 days.
If you want to stay longer than 14 days but less than 44 days, you can apply for an extension with the Lesotho immigration authorities. You must apply for an extension before the end of the initial 14 days.
To stay beyond 44 days, you must 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
Learn about travel with children.
Consult the South Africa Travel Advice if you are transiting by road through South Africa with children under the age of 18.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
- There are no updates at this time.
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health professional 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 - Country Entry Requirements
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.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
- There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada. It is important for travellers to contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to ensure that the vaccine is available.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* 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.
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 visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care professional 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 currently a risk of chikungunya in this country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
- There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
- Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.
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 professional.
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. You will usually need to pay cash for medical care.
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.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
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 must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
You should carry identification documents at all times.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Lesotho.
If local authorities consider you a citizen of Lesotho, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services. This will prevent us from providing you with those services.
Traffic drives on the left.
You must carry an International Driving Permit.
The currency is the loti (plural maloti: LSL). The South African rand (ZAR), however, can also be used.
Major credit cards are accepted only at major tourist establishments and banks. Currency is readily available through ATMs.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
Violent thunderstorms occur in the summer (November to February) and result in several deaths yearly. You should be aware 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. Even in the summer, it can become cold unexpectedly.
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 consular assistance, call the High Commission of Canada in South Africa, in Pretoria and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
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