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Lesotho Overview

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Introducing Lesotho


Lesotho (le-soo-too) is called Southern Africaís ëkingdom in the skyí for good reason. This stunningly beautiful, mountainous country is nestled island-like in the middle of South Africa and it is a fascinating travel detour from its larger neighbour. The country offers superb mountain scenery, a proud traditional people, endless hiking trails, and the chance to explore remote areas on Basotho ponies.
The ëlowlandí areas (all of which are still above 1000m) offer some craft shopping and dinosaur footsteps, while the highlands in the northeast and centre feature towering peaks (over 3000m) and verdant valleys. Escape the rest of the world in Eastern Lesotho's remote Sehlabathebe National Park, or hang out in the pleasant capital Maseru, where a slow pace and friendly locals ensure a memorable stay.
Lesotho came into being during the early 19th century, when both the difaqane (forced migration) and Boer incursions into the hinterlands were at their height. Under the leadership of the legendary king Moshoeshoe the Great, the Basotho people sought sanctuary and strategic advantage amid the forbidding terrain of the Drakensberg and Maluti Ranges. The small nation they forged continues to be an intriguing anomaly in a sea of modernity.
Getting around is reasonably easy ñ ordinary hire cars will get you most places; public transport is extensive, albeit slow. Hiking or pony trekking from village to village are the best ways of exploring.
Taken from: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/lesotho [30.03.2012]

Climate & when to go


Lesothoís climate is a mixture of temperate and sub-tropical influences, with surprising extremes of temperature ranging from winter minimum temperatures, which can drop below freezing around July, up to summer maximums of over 32∞C. The best time to visit is in late October to November, when summer temperatures are yet to arrive but visibility is high after the rains. April to early May is another good time.
Taken from: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/lesotho [30.03.2012]


Money


The unit of currency is the maloti (M), which is made up of 100 liesente. The maloti is fixed at the value of the South African rand; rands are accepted everywhere but maloti are not accepted back in South Africa. The only foreign-exchange banks (Bank of Lesotho, Nedbank and Standard Bank) are in Maseru.

Getting there


All Lesothoís borders are with South Africa. Crossings are at Maseru Bridge and Ficksburg Bridge (both open 24 hours); Makhaleng Bridge (open 8am to 6pm weekdays, 8am to 4pm on weekends); and Sani Pass (open 8am to 4pm), but these often have long queues; Peka Bridge (8am to 4pm) and Van Rooyenís Gate (8am to 10pm) are less crowded.

Air
Lesothoís Moshoeshoe International Airport is 21km from Maseru.

Visas for Internationals


Citizens of most Western European countries, the USA and most Commonwealth countries are granted a free entry permit at the border. The standard stay permitted is two weeks, although if you ask for longer you may be lucky.
For extensions, visit the Department of Immigration & Passport Services (2232 3771, 2232 1110; PO Box 363, Maseru 100) in Maseru.
Citizens of other countries must pay for single-entry visa (around $4.50) or multiple-entry visa (around $7). Pretoria is the place to obtain visas for other African countries.

 

 

 

 

 


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