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Holidays in Lesotho

Understanding Lesotho

History

Originally the Sotho-Tswana people lived in what is now Free State in neighbouring South Africa They were a farming people, and when the Zulus started attacking villages and the Voortrekkers started encroaching on their land, they fled up into the Lesotho mountains Here, continuous attacks from the Zulus forced local tribes to join together for protection, and by 1824, King Moeshoeshoe had established himself as king and Thaba Bosiu as his mountain fortress

In 1903, Moeshoeshoe allied himself with the British Cape Colony government in a bid to protect the Basotho from the Boer's rapidly increasing presence in the area Much fighting followed, forcing Moeshoeshoe to go straight to the imperial government of the British, and in 1868, Basotholand as it was then called became a protectorate of the British Empire It was granted independence from the British Empire on October 4th 1966

People

The Kingdom of Lesotho was formed through the pursuit of peace, and this peaceful nature still exists in the Basotho They are a friendly and welcoming people and do not have the aggressive history some of the peoples of neighbouring countries have People are especially grateful to Brits, and the older generation will come up to a Brit and tell them how much they thank them for saving them from apartheid!

Climate

Lesotho has 300 days of sunshine The rainy season extends from October to April in which Lesotho gets 70mm of rainfall, mostly during severe thunderstorms Extensive snow falls are possible in winter but may occur in any month on the high mountains Nightime temperatures go below freezing in winter May — September- and houses do not feature central heating, so bring a jacket

Festivals

  • Independence Day 4th October celebrates the day that Lesotho achieved independence from the British Empire
  • Moshoeshoe Day 14th March celebrates the life of the founding father of the country In Maseru, the procession goes from the Palace all the way to the Sotho Stadium, and involves many people dressed up in Lesotho's vibrant and colourful traditional dress — usually comprising blankets and sticks and if you're lucky, the cat hat! Women involved in the parade will be carrying huge bundles of sticks, as they traditionally would do, whilst the men will either be doing traditional dances, riding horses, or herding bulls along the road! At the stadium, after the procession has arrived, there are military and police parades, which aren't nearly so enjoyable

Talking in Lesotho

The official languages are Sesotho and English

Most people in the larger towns or tourist attractions speak English to a reasonable standard and a few words of Afrikaans; however, outside these areas, these languages will not be understood

What to see in Lesotho

  • Semonkong Falls — these falls near Semonkong drop 200m in single plunge! In summer, you can swim in the pond below while in winter the pond freezes over and an ice enclosure develops around the falls
  • Katse Dam — an impressive dam towering 185m in a narrow valley
  • Dinosaur footprints — well-preserved footprints of these terrible lizzards exist around the country, the most accessible are near Moyeni & Morija
  • Rock art — found in many places throughout the country, the most impressive found within Liphofung Cave

What to do in Lesotho

  • Pony-Trekking especially at either Malealea, Semonkong, or at the Basotho Pony-Trekking Centre — whether your a seasoned pro at horse riding or a complete novice, pony-trekking is an extremely enjoyable way to see the Lesotho countryside! These organized tours give you access to parts of the country which you wouldn't see from your car The exceptionally sure-footed Basotho Pony can take you through far-off villages and atop daunting mountains
  • Hiking in the Highlands Contact the Department of Tourism 5, who will find you a guide, and then fly into a completely cut off village and hike your way out, staying in remote villages over night You can also purchase 1:25,000 topographical maps for about 25LSL from the office of Lands, Surveys, and Physical Planning in downtown Maseru and do this yourself recommended only for experienced hikers
  • Skiing — hit the slopes at Oxbow during the winter!
  • '''Enduro Motorcycle Tours''' http://wildwill2webscom/ Motorcycle Tours – Guided enduro, off-road and dirt bike tours, day rides and trainings Enduro bike rental or bring your own bike and experience some of the rural parts of the region Man, machine and nature = adventure
  • GoVertical Mountaineering +27 82 6973237 http://wwwgotrekkingcoza Guided trekking and hiking expeditions

Buying stuff in Lesotho

Lesotho's currency, the Loti LSL plural Maloti, is fixed at a 1:1 ratio with the South African Rand ZAR South African currency is accepted everywhere — there is no need to change money However you will get Maloti in change unless you ask which is very difficult to unload in South Africa

There are ATMs at banks in most towns, although you will not find them elsewhere Most banks will change travellers cheques for you, but it can be a very, very lengthy process if they are in any other currency apart from ZAR Credit cards will be accepted in Shoprite and the main hotels, but not elsewhere Your cashcard from home may work in some Maseru cash machines FNB or Standard Bank but best to get cash out in South Africa beforehand

Restaurants outside of Maseru and most in Maseru will probably not accept credit card as a means of payment

There are several Western style supermarkets in Maseru, which are good for stocking up on supplies in before heading elsewhere in the country

If you're after locally made goods and crafts, your best bet is to give Maseru a miss, and head to TY or Hlotse, where the markets are far better and cheaper You can buy traditional Basotho hats, sticks, rugs and various other curios

Food and eating in Lesotho

There are many Western style restaurants in Maseru For a more traditional meal, why not befriend some locals and see what they cook you?!

Drinking in Lesotho

Maluti beer is superb

  • Sani Top Chalet Maluti beer: R15Features the highest pub in Africa

Accommodation in Lesotho

Lesotho hosts dozens of hotels, lodges and guesthouses A full list can be found of the Lesotho Tourism Development Corporations 6 The list below are the most tourism oriented and are pleasant places to stay Other accommodation tends to be more functional and are OK to rest overnight and have a simple meal, but are unlikely to offer good service, nor any recreational activities

  • Several hotels in Maseru
  • Semonkong Lodge situated on the Maletsunyane river and just one hour's walk from Maletsunyane Falls, offers accommodations, good food, horse treks, abseiling at the Falls
  • Malealea has a lodge and pony trekking centre which offers good accommodation, foot or horse treks and 4x4 excursions
  • Oxbow Lesotho has the New Oxbow Lodge 7
  • Katse has the Orion Katse Lodge 8
  • Mohale has the Orion Mohale Lodge 9
  • Afriski http://wwwafriskinet/accommodationhtml Stay in an imported alpine ski lodge
  • Letloepe Lodge http://wwwalternativeroutenet/letloepehtm Probably the nicest place in Qacha's Nek
  • Maliba Mountain Lodge http://wwwmaliba-lodgecom/ New luxury lodge based in the Tsehlanyane National Park Excellent food and service Luxury chalets, shared houses, and campsites available Hiking and pony-trekking available
  • Ramabanta lodge http://wwwtradingpostcoza/ On the way to Semonkong — nice lodge, with camping facilities
  • Sani Top Chalet http://wwwsanitopchaletcoza/ Located at the top of the Sani pass, popular with South African day-trippers
  • Trading Post Lodge http://wwwtradingpostcoza/ Small lodge in the university town of Roma
  • In rural areas, Catholic and Protestant missions will often rent rooms to travellers

Cities in Lesotho

hlotse  mafeteng  maseru  mokhotlong  quthing  teyateyaneng  thaba-tseka  

What do you think about Lesotho?

How expensive is Lesotho?
(1 ZAR = 0.08 USD)
Meal in inexpensive restaurant147.5 ZAR
3-course meal in restaurant (for 2)243.32 ZAR
McDonalds meal50.6 ZAR
Local beer (0.5 draft)33.12 ZAR
Foreign beer (0.33 bottle) 44.1 ZAR
Cappuccino21.83 ZAR
Pepsi/Coke (0.33 bottle)15.69 ZAR
Water (0.33 bottle)8.5 ZAR
Milk (1l)17.46 ZAR
Fresh bread (500g)11.09 ZAR
White Rice (1kg)18.2 ZAR
Eggs (12) 17.5 ZAR
Local Cheese (1kg) 70.98 ZAR
Chicken Breast (1kg) 37.31 ZAR
Apples (1kg) 17.21 ZAR
Oranges (1kg) 22.67 ZAR
Tomato (1kg) 17.58 ZAR
Potato (1kg) 11.01 ZAR
Lettuce (1 head) 14.7 ZAR
Water (1.5l)19.29 ZAR
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) 44.36 ZAR
Domestic Beer (0.5 bottle)17.78 ZAR
Foreign beer (0.33 bottle) 18.29 ZAR
Cigarettes31.04 ZAR
One way local bus ticket6.91 ZAR
Monthly pass for bus366.6 ZAR
Taxi start5.4 ZAR
Gasoline (1 liter) 14.9 ZAR
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 297 ZAR
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