Lesotho is a small and mountainous country, surrounded on all sides by neighboring South Africa. Most trips to Lesotho are completed without any special problems. The greatest risk is related to crime and transport safety. Infrastructure, road networks and mobile coverage may be restricted outside the capital Maseru.
Most trips to Lesotho are completed without any special problems. The greatest risk is related to crime and transport security. Infrastructure, road networks and mobile coverage may be restricted outside the capital Maseru.
Norway is represented by an honorary consulate general in Maseru. Responsible Norwegian Embassy for Lesotho is Pretoria in South Africa.
Lesotho is characterized by periods of political instability and subsequent political demonstrations. It is recommended that travelers obtain information on the current political situation in Lesotho prior to entry and are aware of developments even after arrival. Avoid public demonstrations. The risk of terrorist incidents in Lesotho is considered small.
Violence may occur in connection with political demonstrations. In some cases, there have been clashes between protesters and police. Some border crossings to South Africa have previously been closed as a result of protests from local transport workers against legislation related to border crossings between neighboring countries.
Visitors are rarely exposed to violent crime, but general caution should be exercised. An increase in the number of robberies and thefts is reported in urban areas in Lesotho, including in Maseru, Maputsoe and Leribe. Visitors can be particularly vulnerable and extra caution should be exercised during the holiday season. The risk of armed robberies and hijackings is highest in Maseru. Avoid driving after dark. It is recommended to drive with the doors locked, the windows closed and valuables not visible in the front of the car. Some robberies of foreigners have also been reported outside of densely populated areas. Scams from ATM withdrawals and pocket theft may occur.
- Countryaah: Maseru is the capital of Lesotho. Check to find information of population, geography, history, and economy about the capital city.
Taking simple precautions can significantly reduce the risk. Visitors should inform themselves locally about the security situation. After dark, it may be advantageous not to move on foot, especially in Maseru. Areas with limited street lighting pose a particular risk in the evening. If one is subjected to attempted robbery, one should remain calm and not resist.
Possession of drugs is considered a serious crime and can result in severe penalties.
The main road from South Africa to Maseru holds reasonably good standards. The road network outside urban areas is of a lower standard. Limited lighting in the evening and grazing areas without a fence at the roadside pose a particular risk, and one should avoid driving after dark.
Outside of Maseru, travelers should use a car adapted to local conditions. When driving in mountainous areas and Sani Pass, one should use a solid four-wheel drive. Since there will be limited access to outside assistance in several areas, travelers with a car should consider having first aid kits, functioning communication equipment and extra fuel. There is left-hand traffic in Lesotho.
Gay practice is prohibited in Lesotho.
The lowest point in Lesotho is 1400 meters above sea level. In the high-lying area there are often minus degrees and occasional snow in the winter season, May-September. In the low lying areas, the winter is dry and mild, but the nights are often cold.
Summer is hot, with a lot of rainfall. Temperatures rarely get very high. Failing rainfall can lead to periods of drought and food shortages. During the summer months between November and February, strong storms can occur, which can also trigger landslides.
Norwegian citizens residing in Lesotho are encouraged to register at http://www.reiseregistrering.no/. Norwegian citizens are encouraged to have valid travel insurance.
Local emergency numbers: Fire Department 115, police 112/58881010, ambulance 121.
Access to public ambulance services is limited. Travelers should consider using private deals.
In crisis and emergency, the embassy in Pretoria can be contacted on tel: +27 12 364 3700.
Outside the embassy’s opening hours (08: 00-16: 00), the UD’s 24-hour operating center can be contacted on tel. +47 23 95 00 00 or by e-mail: [email protected]
Please note that entry regulations may change. The Foreign Service is not responsible if the following information on entry regulations or visa requirements is changed at short notice. It is the responsibility of the traveler to ensure that travel documents are valid for entry and to familiarize themselves with the current entry rules for each country.
Norwegian citizens do not need a visa for travel to Lesotho which lasts less than 14 days.
An extension of this period can be applied for on arrival. For longer stays in Lesotho, you may consider applying for a temporary residence permit.
The vast majority of travelers to Lesotho come via South Africa and must therefore ensure that they comply with South African regulations related to visas and travel documentation (see separate article on South Africa). Roads between South Africa and the border crossing at Maseru are of a good standard, but other border crossings should have a suitable car.
Although there is freedom of visa for Norwegian citizens for shorter stays in Lesotho, only passports that are approved as valid identification documents. The passport must be valid for at least six months after the visit is completed.
There are regular flights to Johannesburg-Maseru.
In South Africa, there is no requirement for a visa for Norwegian citizens. However, the passport must be valid for at least six months after the visit is completed and must contain at least one blank page for each entry or exit in South Africa. If you have a visa, you should also check the last date of departure indicated on the stamp you receive on arrival in South Africa.
Minors traveling alone to South Africa must present a birth certificate. According to guardians with a Norwegian passport, this is not needed. See New requirements for children traveling through South African ports of entry.
If you come from another African country, you may be required to prove that you have yellow fever vaccine. It is the traveler’s responsibility to ensure that the travel documents are valid.
Coronavirus (covid-19): Norwegian travelers should keep abreast of the development of the coronavirus. Feel free to follow local authorities’ advice, guidance and instructions on how to deal with the situation.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not create travel advice because of the risk of infection. It is the Norwegian Institute of Public Health that provides health professional travel advice, cf. the link to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health’s website regarding the coronavirus.
The quality of the local health service is varied and is consistently below the Norwegian standard. The proportion of the adult population living with HIV/ AIDS is very high. In 2018, the proportion was estimated at 25 percent, which is one of the highest in the world.
Reference is made to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health for official health professional travel advice and health professional guidance to Norwegians when traveling abroad.
It is recommended to use South African health services where possible.
Tap water can be drunk at regular tourist spots. It is not necessary to take special precautions with regard to food.
For recommendations on relevant vaccines for travel to Lesotho, refer to the website of the Institute of Public Health.
Proof that you have taken yellow fever vaccine may be required upon entry from other African countries.
There is limited access to a variety of medicines in large parts of Lesotho. Especially when traveling outside Maseru, one should consider taking their own medication.
When importing medicines into Lesotho, one can contact the local authorities for clarification of the current regulations.
According to allcitycodes, the area code for calls from Norway is +266. The telephone network is relatively stable in the capital Maseru. The mobile network is unavailable in parts of Lesotho.
Time difference to Norway: Lesotho is one hour ahead of Norway, but when it is summer time in Norway there is no time difference.
The mains is 220 volts and the sockets are of type M. Remember the adapter.
Parts of the country are without mobile coverage. Internet access is limited outside Maseru.
National telephone code: +266. Internet domain:.ls
Local currency is Lesotho Loti. South African rand can also be used as a means of payment in large parts of Lesotho, but this does not apply the other way around.
There are ATMs in Maseru. Not all ATMs take international cards. Credit cards are only accepted at international hotels, Shoprite, car rental companies etc.
Normal opening hours are between approx. 08.30 – 15.30.
National holidays are January 1, March 11 (Moshweshwe Day), Good Friday, Easter Day, May 1, May 29 (Ascension Day), July 17 (King’s Birthday), October 4 (Independence Day), Christmas Day, 2nd Christmas Day.
Tipping at around ten percent of the bill is common for satisfactory service at restaurants. Hotel tips are not uncommon.
English and Sesotho are official languages.
Hand greeting is common when meeting others.
It is an advantage to ask those who apply before taking pictures. Pictures of military installations should be avoided.