Lesotho travel advice

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Risk level

Lesotho - Exercise a high degree of caution

Exercise a high degree of caution in Lesotho due to crime.

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Safety and security

Crime

Petty crime

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, occurs and is prevalent in urban areas.

  • Be cautious when out in public places, especially at night
  • Ensure that your belongings, including your passport, are secure at all times
  • Keep valuables with you in your carry-on when travelling and ensure it is secure at all times
  • Stay in hotels or accommodations offering good security measures

Violent crime

Violent crime, such as armed robbery and residential break-ins, occurs and often targets foreigners. Hotspots include:

  • popular restaurants
  • local hotels
  • the business district
  • poorly lit or unlit roads

Crime is most prevalent in urban areas such as:

  • Maseru
  • Leribe
  • Maputsoe

However, incidents have occurred in remote mountainous areas as well.

Carjacking also occurs.

  • Don’t drive after dark
  • Always lock windows and doors
  • Don’t offer rides to hitchhikers
  • Be vigilant when stopping at scenic points or rest stations
  • Park in well-lit areas
  • There is no visible police presence at night. Remain vigilant at all times
  • Exercise increased caution in urban centres
  • Don’t walk alone, especially at night
  • If attacked or robbed, do not resist

Road safety

Road conditions and road safety can vary greatly throughout the country.

The roads in the capital, Maseru, are adequate, as well as the roads leading to the airport and industrial areas. The roads leading to the Lesotho–South Africa border crossings and most of Lesotho’s district capitals are also in good condition. Aggressive and unpredictable local driving habits pose a risk in Maseru.  

The roads linking rural communities are gravel and poorly maintained.  They are poorly lit, and wandering livestock pose a risk to drivers. Some of these rural communities, mainly those in the mountainous areas, are only connected by dirt roads.  You may need a four-wheel drive vehicle in those areas. You must also have such a vehicle to enter and depart Lesotho through the Sani Pass on the eastern border. 

Tourist facilities are limited in Lesotho. There are few gas stations outside of cities and large towns, and no roadside assistance services operating throughout the country.

Weather conditions can change rapidly in mountainous regions. Even in the summer, it can become cold unexpectedly.

  • Plan your travel accordingly
  • Always carry a cell phone and charger
  • Carry a blanket, warm clothes and a flashlight in case of snowfall or vehicle breakdown in mountain areas
  • Contact the Lesotho Mounted Police Service in case of road emergencies

Public transportation

Bus and taxis

Although public bus and taxi services exist, poor vehicle maintenance, overcrowding and lack of driver training make them unsafe. Accidents occur regularly. 

The best way to travel is by private car.

Renting a car

Car rental services are available in Maseru. If you rent a car in South Africa, you may bring it into Lesotho with a letter of authorization from the rental company. 

  • Check with the rental company to make sure they issue letters of authorization

Demonstrations

Demonstrations take place from time to time. 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

Mass gatherings (large-scale events)

Hiking and camping

Although hiking is a popular activity in Lesotho, there are no set hiking trails.

Given the country’s high altitude, mountaintop campsites will expose you to extreme weather, such as thunderstorms. Unpredictable rainfall can lead to flash floods in the valleys and flooding around rivers. Choose your campsite wisely. There is no reliable mountain rescue service in Lesotho.

If you intend to hike: 

  • never do so alone and always hire an experienced guide from a reputable company
  • buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
  • ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
  • ensure that you’re properly equipped and well informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
  • inform a family member or friend of your itinerary, including when you expect to be back to camp
  • know the symptoms of acute altitude sickness, which can be fatal

Women’s Safety

Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse.

Advice for women travellers

Air travel

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

Information about foreign domestic airlines

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Entry and exit requirements

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 the Foreign Representatives in Canada.

Passport

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 at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Lesotho.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

Passport with “X” gender identifier

While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

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 foreign representative for your destination.

Useful links

Visas

Tourist visa: not required for stays up to 30 days
Temporary residence permit: required for stays longer than 44 days
Work permit: required
Study permit: required

If you want to stay longer than 30 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.

Health screening

Due to the ongoing outbreak of Ebola virus disease in neighbouring countries, you may be subject to a quick thermal scanner screening and a health questionnaire at the airport upon arrival or departure.

Children and travel

Learn more about travelling with children.

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

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Health

Relevant Travel Health Notices

This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.

Routine vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccinations, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.

Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

Pre-travel vaccines and medications

You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary. 

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.

Risk

  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

  • Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.

Recommendation

  • Vaccination is not recommended.

* 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.

About Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada

Hepatitis A

There is a risk of hepatitis A in this destination. It is a disease of the liver. People can get hepatitis A if they ingest contaminated food or water, eat foods prepared by an infectious person, or if they have close physical contact (such as oral-anal sex) with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.

 

Practise safe food and water precautions and wash your hands often. Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to areas where hepatitis A is present.

Measles

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.

Hepatitis B

 Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus.  Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.

COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.

Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.

Influenza

 The best way to protect yourself from seasonal influenza (flu) is to get vaccinated every year. Get the flu shot at least 2 weeks before travelling.  

 The flu occurs worldwide. 

  •  In the Northern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs from November to   April.
  •  In the Southern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs between April and   October.
  •  In the tropics, there is flu activity year round. 

The flu vaccine available in one hemisphere may only offer partial protection against the flu in the other hemisphere.

The flu virus spreads from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Clean your hands often and wear a mask if you have a fever or respiratory symptoms.

Rabies


In this destination, rabies is carried by dogs and some wildlife, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal. While travelling, take precautions, including keeping your distance from animals (including free-roaming dogs), and closely supervising children.

If you are bitten or scratched by an animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional. Rabies treatment is often available in this destination. 

Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who are at high risk of exposure (e.g., occupational risk such as veterinarians and wildlife workers, children, adventure travellers and spelunkers, and others in close contact with animals). 

Safe food and water precautions

Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.

  • Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
  • Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
  • Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs. 

Travellers' diarrhea

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

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.

Travellers visiting regions with a risk of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.  

Insect bite prevention

Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:

  • Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
  • Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
  • Minimize exposure to insects
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed

To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.

Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.

Chikungunya

There is a risk of chikungunya in this country.  The risk may vary between regions of a 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.

Animal precautions

Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.

Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.

Person-to-person infections

Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette, which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:

  •  washing your hands often
  • avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
  • avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness 

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV, and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.  

Tuberculosis

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.

HIV

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.

Medical services and facilities

Good health care is limited in availability.

Outside of Maseru, healthcare is inadequate. Ambulance service is unreliable or non-existent. You will usually need to pay cash for medical care.

You may need medical evacuation to South Africa in the event of an accident or serious illness. The closest facilities are in Bloemfontein, South Africa, 140 km from Maseru. Should an evacuation be necessary, you may have to arrange your own transport, unless it’s specifically covered by your insurance policy.

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Travel health and safety

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.

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Laws and 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.

Drugs

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect heavy fines or long prison sentences.

Drugs, alcohol and travel

2SLGBTQI+ travellers

Lesotho law doesn’t criminalize sexual acts or relationships between individuals of the same sex. However, Lesotho doesn’t recognise same-sex marriages or civil unions.

2SLGBTQI+ travellers could be discriminated based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or sex characteristics.

Travel and your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics

Identification

Local authorities may ask to check your identity at any time.

  • Carry identification documents at all times
  • Keep a certified photocopy of your passport in a safe place, in case it is lost or confiscated

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Lesotho.

If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Lesotho, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.

Travellers with dual citizenship

International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. It does not apply between Canada and Lesotho.

If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Lesotho by an abducting parent:

  • act as quickly as you can
  • consult a lawyer in Canada and in Lesotho to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
  • report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre.

If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.

Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.

Useful links

Driving

Traffic drives on the left.

You must carry an international driving permit.

International Driving Permit

Money

The currency of Lesotho is the loti (LSL). The South African rand (ZAR) is also accepted.

Major credit cards are accepted, but only at major tourist establishments and banks. 

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Natural disasters and climate

Severe weather

Lesotho is subject to severe weather. In the mountains, the weather can change quickly and unexpected rainfall can cause flash flooding and river swelling.

Extreme cold and snow

During winter months (June to August), expect extreme cold and heavy snowfall in the mountains. This could lead to road and mountain pass closures.  

Thunderstorms

Violent thunderstorms occur in the summer (November to February) and result in several deaths yearly.

  • Plan accordingly
  • Monitor local media and weather forecasts
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities

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Need help?

Local services

Emergency services

In case of emergency, dial:

  • police: +266 5888 1024; +266 2232 2099
  • medical assistance: +266 2831 9539
  • firefighters: 1-800 10999 (toll free); +266 5886 8090; +266 6358 0347

Consular assistance

Pretoria - High Commission of Canada
Street Address1103 Arcadia Street, Hatfield, Pretoria, 0083, South AfricaPostal AddressPrivate Bag X13, Hatfield, Pretoria, 0028, South AfricaTelephone+27 12 422 3000Emailpret-consul@international.gc.caInternethttps://www.Canada.ca/Canada-And-South-AfricaFacebookHigh Commission of Canada in South AfricaTwitterCanada in SAConsular district

South Africa, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius, Namibia

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.

Disclaimer

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, expressed 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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