Lesotho Travel Information
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Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. The three-prong, round pin South African plug is used.
English is the official language, but Sesotho, Xhosa and Zulu are widely spoken.
Lesotho's high altitude and crisp mountain air does not present many health problems for travellers, although its high elevation leaves the possibility of altitude sickness for recently arrived visitors. A yellow fever certificate is required from travellers coming from an infected area. HIV/AIDS is prevalent. Water should not be drunk unless it is boiled or filtered. There is a lack of good medical facilities, and medical attention is often sought in neighbouring South Africa. Visitors should carry a personal supply of medicine as supplies are limited. Lesotho's Flying Doctor service provides emergency medical services to remote parts of the country. Medical insurance is essential and should include emergency air evacuation coverage, especially if planning to spend time in remote mountainous regions.
All service staff, including tour guides and game rangers, are customarily tipped between 10 and 15%, which they rely on to boost their low wages.
Safety in Lesotho is not generally a serious issue but there has been an increase in opportunistic crime and gun-related crimes, due to a high unemployment rate in the cities. Most incidents occur in Maseru, but visitors should also be alert elsewhere to theft, car hijackings and muggings. Muggers often target foreigners and foreign vehicles have been involved in recent hijackings near Malealea Lodge south of Maseru. Avoid walking around with valuables or else keep them out of sight, and do not walk alone in isolated areas or in Maseru after dark. Driving through rural areas after dark is also not recommended. Sporadic demonstrations are possible and should be avoided if possible.
Photographs of government buildings, the airport or the palace should not be taken: it is always best to ask if unsure. It is customary to ask permission from the local village Headman or Chief before camping, and to inform the Headman or Chief if spending any time within his village. Homosexuality is illegal.
Business in Lesotho tends to follow usual business practices: be punctual, exchange business cards and show respect for your hosts, but anticipate a generally relaxed atmosphere. Suits and ties are the norm, though a lightweight material is best. Business hours are usually from 8.30am to 12.30pm and 2pm to 4.30pm Mondays to Fridays, and 8am to 1pm on Saturdays.
The international dialling code for Lesotho is +266. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0027 for South Africa). There are no city/area codes required. Telephone and fax services are available in all main towns and at major hotels. Internet cafes are available in Maseru. A GSM 900 mobile network is limited to the main urban areas and has limited active roaming agreements with other mobile phone operators; visitors should check with their local networks to see if they have roaming agreements with the operators in Lesotho.
Travellers to Lesotho do not have to pay duty on 400 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250g tobacco; 2 litres wine and 1 litre of alcohol; 250ml eau de toilette and 50ml perfume; other gifts to the value of L500. No liquor may be imported by South African nationals.
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