Central Highlands

THE CENTRAL HIGHLANDS .
Spectacular lakes and landscapes

Katse Dam
Molimo Nthus
The Mountain Passes
Ha Baroana Rock Paintings

This awe-inspiring region has been opened up to tourists by the development of the massive Highland Water Project that will create both new water and electricity supplies for Lesotho and much of the nearby regions of Southern Africa. New roads into the mountains have established better access, and the new dams are creating spectacular lakes that provide stunning new vistas and are home to increasing numbers of birds. Soon we will have new accommodation in the region, and new opportunities for water-sports such as sailing and windsurfing. Even today this is a great area for pony trekking, hiking and trout fishing.
The best border crossings to reach this area are at the Maseru Bridge, Ficksburg or Caledonspoort. The main Mountain Road from Maseru takes you east via Molimo Nthuse to Mantsonyane and Thaba-Tseka, while from Hlotse the main Highlands Water Project road takes you past Pitseng and Ha Lejone to the Katse Dam Wall and Bokong.
Ha Baroana Rock Paintings
Some 5.5 km along a gravel road north of the main Mountain Road, and 39 km east of Maseru, is a vantage point over the Liphiring Stream facing an overhanging rock called Ha Baroana – the home of the bushmen. Here the San have left us a magnificent gallery of paintings of animals such as leopard, lion and eland, as well as blue crane and guineafowl.
There are also fine paintings of bushman life – hunting, dancing, and people in huts. From the main vantage-point, a trail zigzags down past the curator’s huts to the stream, which visitors have to cross to gain access to the paintings.
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l>The road to Molimo Nthuse takes you over a series of major mountain passes before reaching Thaba-Tseka, each offering superb vistas of mountain peaks, steep gorges, tumbling streams and broad valleys. Bearded Vultures and other unusual montane birds can often be seen from the pass summits. This is one of the most attractive tourist routes in Lesotho.
Matika Lisiu Pass
The top of this particular pass has a spectacular vantage-point from the car park facing down a dramatic deep valley towards Pitseng, and fine views in the other direction across the high plateau towards Ha Lejone.
This area is renowned for seeing Bearded Vulture, and several other unusual montane birds are often in evidence, including Orange-breasted Rockjumper, as well as an attractive marmot-like rodent (Otomys sloggetti) called locally an Ice Rat, which is endemic and found only at altitudes above 2000m.
Malibamatso Bridge across
the Katse Dam, near Ha Lejone
There is a fine vantage-point towards the elegant new Bridge which crosses the northern end of Lake Katse and the Intake Tower, and across the Lake itself. The Lake is full and is very impressive. It will be a major centre for watersports in the future, and will have a range of comfortable accommodation in the area for tourists. Please ask the Lesotho Tourist Board for the latest news.
The area is also a wonderful place for bird watchers, and is notable for the numbers of small montane birds — thrushes and buntings, principally — which are present.
Ha Seshote
The road to the Katse Dam rises and turns away from the lake for some distance beyond the Malibamatso Bridge before returning to the lake at the Katse Dam near Bokong. The area is important for bird-watching enthusiasts as it maintains a significant number of Bald Ibis, which often follow farmers as they cultivate their fields.
Katse Dam and Dam Wall
This centrepiece of the whole Highlands Water project, is a fine piece of engineering, retaining what is a dam second in size in Africa only to the Lake Volta Akosombo Dam in Ghana.
The surrounding scenery is magnificent, and the construction work in this area will be completed soon. However, this does not detract from the magnificent panoramas, and is often of great interest to visitors.
The current lodge is primarily reserved for the engineers who are working on the dam. However, it will be converted to tourist use in a year to two, and should then be of a similar size (about 15 rooms) and standard to Mmelesi Lodge at Thaba-Bosiu. The view from the front of the lodge is spectacular, and is even better when the water levels are at their highest.
This area of the Katse Lake will also be devoted to water sports, motorboats ply across the lake rather picturesquely, carrying villagers from one side of the lake to the other, and boating for recreation has already been introduced.
For visitors, there is an interpretative centre, which features a model of the whole project and all its phases, with a commentary in English.
Nearby accommodation
Katse Dam Lodge
Marakabei Lodge

Backpackers Info
Accommodation

The Farmer Training Centre: This one in Thaba Tseka offers accommodation at M25/night. It is located in the street above the post office and banks.
Maluti Guest: A new enterprise, they offer accommodation in two rondavels in a Basotho village 2km from the main road. Their tariff includes all meals and also the services of an English speaking guide, making it a rare opportunity to fully experience Basotho culture. They charge M85 per person for the first night and M65 for successive nights thereafter. They can also arrange horse riding.

Transport
A number of buses travel this route, leaving during the morning from both ends. The journey takes 6-8 hours and costs M30. The road carries a reasonable amount of traffic, so hitching is an option. Lesotho Air and Mission Aviation fly between Maseru and Thaba Tseka. Phone them to check on details.

Options from Thaba Tseki
The first option is to go north from Thaba Tseka to Katse Dam. The second option is to travel east, following the road into the Senqu valley, across the river at Koma Koma bridge, and up again to Makunyapane, (also known as Taung). From here, continue north-east, through the villages of Linakeng and Linakaneng, over the Menoaneng Pass at 3030m and down via Molomung Lodge to Mokhotlong or Sani Pass, (see “The northern route”).

From Thaba Tseka, buses and taxis go to Makunyapane and on as far as Linakaneng. From here, you’ll have to hitch over the pass as far as the village of Janteu, from where buses run past Molumung Lodge and on to Mokhotlong. The road over the pass has been upgraded so there should be a reasonable amount of traffic.

The third option branches south at Makunyapane. A four wheel drive track heads south down the Senqu valley, passing the St. Theresa Mission, Mashai store to reach Sehonghong (see pg 28).
There is no public transport on this route past Makunyapane and traftic is sparse. Patience is required. From Sehonghong are road options to Sehlabathebe or the flight to Qachas Nek.
Thabeng Air operate between Thaba Tseka and Qachas Nek. Phone them to check availability (see pg 30).
Driving in Lesotho
Major new road building is taking place at the time of publication, and it is well worth checking with the Lesotho Tourist Board what new roads are open before planning any tour into the mountains, or through remote parts of the Country.
See Motoring page

GUIDE TO LESOTHO
Lesotho Information&Enquiries
mailto:malealea@mweb.co.zaSign the Guestbook View the Guestbook
Website created and hosted by Africa Insites
Last updated: 15 May 2005

EASTERN LESOTHO
The Roof of Africa

Mokhotlong District
Thaba-Tseka District
Sehlaba-Thebe National Park
Sani Pass
Qacha’s Nek
Picture Gallery of this area
Not for nothing is this part of Lesotho called the Roof of Africa. The Drakensberg Mountains soar into the clouds, and Thabana-Ntlenyana is the highest peak of Southern Africa. Dramatic mountainscapes offer some of the most spectacular scenery in Lesotho, while the tiny villages, all but cut off from vehicular traffic, display traditional lifestyles unchanged for generations.
This tourist route is called the Roof of Africa Scenic Route. The greater part of the Lesotho part of the circuit is in Mokhotlong District, where the top of the Drakensberg Ridge is found. This includes Thabana-Ntlenyana, which at 3482m is the highest peak in Southern Africa. Sani Pass, Thaba-Tseka, Katse and Hlotse form an alternative section of the Roof of Africa Scenic Route where 4x4s are most suited.
On request for small groups, a specialist operator can offer an exciting soft adventure programme involving canoeing down the headwaters of the Orange River (the Senqu River in Sesotho) as far as a point close to the town of Mokhotlong and then pony-trekking to the Sani Pass.Most people arrive in Eastern Lesotho from South Africa via the spectacular Sani Pass, but the route from Caledonspoort is easier, and the main road can be reached from the Monontsa Pass with a 4×4.
From Oxbow, the road climbs to the high part of the journey, going over high alpine country. The road passes Letseng-la-terai, a large diamond mine, now abandoned. From well over 3000m, the road drops down eventually to the village level. Mapholaneng is the largest village along the route, and while the bus is stopped, local women come and sell delicious flat breads. The journey to Mokhotlong is just on 200km, and the brand new tar road has jusi been opened, making the journey much quicker and easier.
Mokhotlong District
Mokhotlong is the main centre of a vast mountainous area in the east of the country. Until the 1950’s, it had no road connection with the outside world, and all goods came up from Natal on pack animals over the Sani Pass. Now it has three different road connections, yet it still retains something of the isolated outpost’s atmosphere. Far more people come to do their shopping on horseback than by vehicle. Basotho in striking blankets hitch their horses outside and enter a modern, computerised bank to do their banking. The Sunshine Bar has a TV satellite dish. Sheep and goats are sheared by hand in sheds around the district.
There are joint plans with South Africa to improve the circuit on both sides of the border from Butha-Buthe and then along the Drakensberg Ridge from Mont-aux-Sources south to the Sani Pass.
Besides two small hotels at Mokhotlong, there is limited accommodation between Oxbow and Sani Pass, but plenty of excellent sites at which to camp.
‘Mokhotlong’ in Sesotho means ‘The Place of the Bald Ibis’ (mokhotlo), and the area is rich in high montane birdlife, including Bald Ibis, Verreaux’ Black Eagle, Cape Vulture and Bearded Vulture.
Nearby accommodation
Senqu Hotel
Mokhotlong Hotel
Backpackers Info

Accommodation
Farmer Training Centre: In Mokhotlong they offers accommodation at M25/night. They have rooms with 3 beds in each. Linen is supplied. Cold water ablutions are also available. The FTC is right through the town, past the Mokhotlong Hotel.

Molumong Lodge: This is situated about 15km from Mokhotlong on the Thaba Tseka Road. The lodge is run by Mike Campbell who lives in Kwazulu Natal, but Gilbert or Julius are always around to help you. The lodge is an old colonial trading post homestead, high on the mountainside affording great views. Viewing an electrical storm from the large lounge windows is an unforgettable experience. Accommodation costs M30/night with your own sleeping bag for dormitories and R50lnight in double rooms (including bedding) and the lodge includes a fully equipped kitchen. Basic supplies are available. A bottle store is close by. There is no signpost to the lodge from the road, but it is a large red-roofed building with “Molumong” painted in large white letters on the roof. Confusingly, it is not in Molumong village, but in upper Rafalotsane village. Many hikes are possible in the area, and horses can be hired from local villagers
Transport
One bus a day runs each way between Mokhotlong and Butha Buthe and one bus between Mokhotlong and Maseru. From Mokhotlong, the buses leave from opposite PEP Stores in the main street. They arrive in Butha Buthe in time to catch taxis to Johannesburg if required The journey costs M34 between Mokhotlong and Maseru, M27 as far as Butha Buthe. Since the opening of the new tar road, minibus taxis now also run the route. They charge M42 from Maseru and M30 from Butha Buthe.
Mission Aviation fly between Maseru and Mokhotlong
Thabeng Air fly between Mokhotlong and Qachas Nek for M120. If operating, they leave Qachas Nek in the morning and return from Mokhotlong around midday. To check if they are operating, ask at the airstrip or phone them on (0373) 7373038 or 7374289.
There is a fair amount of traffic on the road, but with the length of the journey it is best to start hitching in the morning. Mokhotlong is about 5km off the main road, it is worth trying to reach this junction no matter which direction you’re heading.
To Molumong Lodge, there are 3 buses a day from Mokhotlong town centre (and return). They go as far as Janteu village at the base of Menoaneng pass.
Thaba-Tseka District
This recently created District includes the new town of Thaba-Tseka, which came into being following the construction of the new road from Molimo Nthuse, which joins the Hlotse to Katse road beyond Katse at Thaba-Tseka.
This is a new and exciting area just opening up to tourism. Once the two roads are fully tarred, the most attractive circuit will be Maseru – Hlotse – Katse Dam – Thaba-Tseka – Molimo Nthuse – Maseru. However, the Katse Dam to ThabaTseka section is untarred as yet .
There are pony-trekking facilities already at Thaba-Tseka, with a stud farm south of the town, and these are to be linked with those at Molimo Nthuse and Semonkong.
Mokhotlong to Sani Pass

This is a spectacular route, winding and climbing up. the Sehonghong River Valley to the Kotesipola (or Black Mountain) Pass at 3240m, then down to the Sani Flats and Sani Top village. The highest mountain in Southern Africa (south of Kilimanjaro) is a 15 km hike from Sani Top. Called Thabana Ntlenyana, this high hill on the mountain plateau is at 3482m.
Sani Pass
The Lesotho border post is at Sani Top, then the road drops down the torturous zig-zags of the Sani Pass as the road descends from the mountain plateau down the Drakensberg mountains and into the South African province of KwaZulu Natal. The Sani Pass was originally a bridle trail for pack animals and was opened up to vehicle transport in the 1950’s.
The hair-raising pioneering of this route was done by Mokhotlong Motor Transport, a company still operating tours from its base at the bottom of the pass. In the early days, there were several bends where 3 point turns were needed to get around. Today, the road is better, although it is still only open to four wheel drive vehicles ascending. Although the descent can be made an ordinary vehicle, it is not recommended. The South African border post is 8km from the top of the pass, and one reaches Sani Lodge a further 16k on the right. A further 19km brings one to the town of Underberg.
The Sani Pass is the gateway to Lesotho’s Roof of Africa circuit that links the spectacular scenery of the Drakensberg with the attractions of Northern Lesotho, as well as South Africa’s Golden Gate National Park via Caledonspoort or Monontsa Pass.
Nearby accommodation
Sani Top Chalet
Hotels in Mokhotlong
Picture Gallery of this area

Backpackers Info
Accommodation

The Sani Top Chalet: This is located at Sani Top, right on the edge of the escarpment overlooking the pass itself. The views are superb from this, the highest pub in Africa. Accommodation in the backpackers’ section is self-catering. Meals are available in the more up market section of the Chalet. Horses can sometimes be hired locally, ask at the chalet to arrange it. Hikes include those to Thabana Ntlenyana and, 6km to the south, to Hodgson’s Peaks where a superb view south to Sehlabathebe and down into Kwazulu Natal rewards your effort. The weather at Sani Top can be extreme, particularly in winter. One can stop off for a meal or a hot drink even if not staying at the chalet.
Sani Lodge: A back packer’s hostel, situated at 1580m. The new location affords superb views of the mountains. The lodge has a cosy common room with an open fireplace, hot showers and lots of information on activities and tours in the area. Many excellent day walks start at the lodge including waterfalls, mountain pools to swim in, superb views and very good Bushman paintings. The ideal base to plan and launch a trip if coming from Durban.
The Wild West: also offers budget accommodation. It is located at Ha Makhakhe, 10km on the South African side of the border post.

Transport

Taba Tours run tours twice a week from Sani Lodge to Mokhotlong or Molumong Lodge. They will take you one way for R60 (RI 10 return). Phone Sandy on (033) 7021228 or ask at Sani Lodge. Drivers are good about giving lifts. Most traders in Mokhotlong do their shopping in South Africa, so during the week there is plenty of traffic. Weekends can be slow. In Mokhotlong it may be worth going to some of the stores the day before you plan to make the journey, to see if you can organise a ride. (Ha Makhakhe store and Gany’s supermarket are two worth trying in this regard).

Durban connections: Sani Pass Carriers, a transport company based in Underberg, offers a door to door service between the Durban hostels and Sani Lodge on Mondays. Wednesdays and Fridays. This costs R80, (R150 return). Every weekday they run between Underberg and Pietermaritzburg for R60. The service leaves Underberg around 9a.m., arrives in Durban (or PMB) in the middle of the day. You leave Durban around 3p.m., or Pietermaritzburg at 4p.m. and arrive at Sani Lodge in the evening. Phone (033) 7011017 or 7011030. Silvawood Tours offer a similar service, leaving Durban in the morning and leaving Sani Lodge around lunch time. They charge R60 one way from Durban and R45 from Pietermaritzburg. Phone 082 5796514. Interstate buses connect Underberg with Pietermaritzburg and Kokstad (see pg 28Y

Minibus taxis operate between Underberg and Pietermaritzburg. The journey costs R16. From Pietermaritzburg there is plenty of transport to and from Durban and there are buses to Johannesburg. The Baz Bus and the early Johannesburg to Durban bus reaches Pietermaritzburg in time to connect with the Sani Pass Carriers service to the Sani Lodge.
Picture Gallery of this area

Sehlaba-Thebe National Park
This is the only designated national park in Lesotho, and comprises 6500 hectares at an average elevation of 240cm. It is both important and extremely interesting to those whose special interests are bird-watching or alpine flora (in fact, it forms the centrepiece of the proposed Drakensberg/Maluti Alpine Park Project). There are some hardy mountain buck to be seen, as well as small mammals, a wealth of birdlife, and a diverse Cape alpine flora. Of particular interest is a small minnow-like fish (Oreodaimon quathlambae) which was thought to be extinct, but has been rediscovered in the upper reaches of the Tsoelikana River.
Nearby accommodation
Sehlaba-Thebe Lodge
See Southern Lesotho for more info
Qacha’s Nek
The most practical entry point from the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. It has an airstrip which is an important centre for charter flights into the highlands. The charter company is actually based in South Africa at Matatiele 24 km to the south.
Nearby accommodation
Hotel Nthatuoa
Picture Gallery of this area

GUIDE TO LESOTHO
Lesotho Information&Enquiries
mailto:malealea@mweb.co.zaSign the Guestbook View the Guestbook
Website created and hosted by Africa Insites
Last updated: 15 May 2005

GETTING TO LESOTHO
BY AIR BY ROAD ROAD DISTANCES BORDER HOURS
ACCESS FOR BACKPACKERS
Getting to Lesotho is so easy. Many visitors arrive by air, but many more come by road. As Lesotho is surrounded by the Republic of South Africa, our road networks are linked, and air services to Maseru connect with international services flying in to Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. Johannesburg International Airport is the hub of air traffic to all of Southern Africa, including Lesotho.
When flying to Maseru, PLEASE MAKE SURE YOUR LUGGAGE IN ON THE AEROPLANE.
More often than not the luggage is dumped and arrives on the next flight or even a day later. The lodges out of Maseru have to spend endless trips collecting your luggage and this will be charged to clients account.
SAA do not compensate in anyway for “Dumped Luggage.” and do not transport it to the lodges out of Maseru. (Hiking holidays can be spoilt due to boots in lost luggage!)
Maseru is just over an hour’s flight from Johannesburg, or four-and-a-half hours’ drive on good tarred roads, primarily highways.
Getting to Lesotho by air
From Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban SA Airlink, an associate of SAA, has flights to Maseru using 29-seater BAe Jetstream 41 aircraft.
From other parts of Africa There are regional links from almost all other African countries to Johannesburg, and some links to Durban and Cape Town.
From Europe There are daily links from most European countries to Johannesburg with European long-haul carriers and South African Airways, as well as direct links to Durban from London and to Cape Town from London, Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Munich, Copenhagen, Zurich and Vienna.
From the Middle East, Asia and Australia The best routes are via Johannesburg from Tel Aviv, Dubai, Mumbai (Bombay), Bangkok, Hong Kong, Osaka, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Perth and Sydney.
From the Americas SAA and American Airlines together operate 7 flights a week from New York to Johannesburg. Other services link with Miami, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires. There are also excellent connecting flights from North America through Europe.
Other Services In addition, there are South African light aircraft/air taxi companies who can provide charter services both to Lesotho and within a domestic network of 30 local airstrips. Most of these services are in the East and South of Lesotho.
Getting to Lesotho by Road
Lesotho’s road network has greatly improved recently. Main North 1 provides excellent access to most areas in the north — all the road from Maseru to Butha-Buthe and on to Mokhotlong is now tarred. The new tarred road to Katse has opened much of the area of the Highlands Water Project, with the road to Molimo Nthuse and up to Mohale dam site now fully tarred. Main South 1 is a good tarred road to Moyeni, Mount Moorosi and on to Qhoali. However, roads in the south and east of Lesotho can still be difficult in poor weather, and some need 4x4s at all times.
Vehicles will be permitted entry to Lesotho on presentation of the following documents:
– – Valid driving licence of the driver with certified English translation, or an international driving licence.
– – Appropriate insurance certificates.
Drivers of rental cars based in South Africa must have a certificate from the rental company permitting the temporary exportation of the vehicle.
All goods and luggage brought into Lesotho are subject to customs control and baggage may be subject to examination. Visitors from Botswana, Swaziland, Namibia and South Africa are not allowed to bring liquor into Lesotho. Domestic pets are subject to quarantine requirements.
Road Distances

Maseru is connected by road to a number of South African cities, as well as other regions. The following are the shortest tarred routes:
FROM
ROUTE
DISTANCE
Bloemfontein
Thaba Nchu – Maseru
140 km
Cape Town
Worcester – Beaufort West – Colesberg – Bloemfontein – Maseru
1166 km
Port Elizabeth
Grahamstown – Fort Beau fort – Whittlesea – Queenstown – Aliwal North – Wepener – Maseru
720 km
Durban
Pietermaritzburg – Ladysmith – Harrismith – Bethlehem Fouriesburg – Ficksburg – Ladybrand – Maseru (Also tarred road from Harrismith to Fouriesburg via Golden Gate Park, somewhat shorter but with many curves).
548 km
Johannesburg
Heilbron – Petrus Steyn – Lindley – Arlington – Senekal – Marquard – Clocolan – Ladybrand – Maseru
420 km
Gaborone
(Botswana)
Zeerust – Lichtenburg – Klerksdorp – Kraonstad – Ventersburg – Winburg – Clocolan – Ladybrand – Maseru
630 km
Mbabane (Swaziland)
Oshoek – Chrissiesmeer – Ermelo – Standerton – Vrede – Warden – Bethlehem – Fouriesburg – Ficksburg – Ladybrand – Maseru
635 kin
Backpackers Access
From Johannesburg: Transtate buses run from Johannesburg to Maseru. Minibus taxis run from Johannesburg to Butha Buthe, Ficksburg/Maputsoe and Maseru.

From Durban /Pietermaritzburg via Sani Pass): Sani Pass Carriers and Silvawood Tours run backpackers’ bus services door to door from Durban and Pietermaritzburg toSani Lodge. The Interstate bus runs from Pietermaritzburg to Underberg as do minibus taxis.

From Kokstad (N2): The Interstate bus and minibus taxis operate between Kokstad and Matatiele, and minibus taxis operate between Matatiele and Qachas Nek.

From East London: Minibus taxis go in stages via Queenstown and Sterkspruit to the border at Telle Bridge near Quthing.

From Bloemfontein: Naval Hill Backpackers in Bloemfontein is the best base from which to reach western Lesotho. Long distance minibus taxis are generally safe from a security point of view and relatively cheap.
Hitch hiking is always an option.
BORDER POST OPERATING HOURS
Border Posts
Operating Hours
Closest Towns in
South Africa
Maputsoe (Ficksburg Bridge)
0600 – 2200hours
Ficksburg, Free State
Maseru Bridge
open 24 hours
Ladybrand, Free State
Caledonspoort (near Butha-Buthe)
0600-2200 hours
Fouriesburg, Free State
Van Rooyen’s Gate (near Mafeteng)
0600-2200 hours
Wepener, Free State
Makhaleng Bridge (near Mohale’s Hoek)
0800-1800 hours
Zastron, Free State
Tele Bridge (near Moyeni)
0800-1800 hours
Sterkspruit, Eastern Cape
Qacha’s Nek Gate
0800-1800 hours
Matiele, KwaZulu Natal
Sani Pass
0800 -1600 hours
Himeville, Kwazulu Natal
Peka Bridge
0800 -1600 hours
Gumtree, Free State
Sephapos Gate
0800 -1600 hours
Zastron, Free State
Ramatseliso’s Gate
0800 -1600 hours
Matatiele, KwaZulu Natal
Mononts’a Pass
0800 -1600 hours
Witsieshoek, Free State

GUIDE TO LESOTHO
Lesotho Information&Enquiries
mailto:malealea@mweb.co.zaSign the Guestbook View the Guestbook
Website created and hosted by Africa Insites
Last updated: 15 May 2005

MASERU

Sightseeing
Night Life
Accommodation
Access
Business Hours
Backpackers Info

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The Capital of Lesotho, Maseru is generally the first stop for most visitors. The City is being reconstructed after some of the shopping areas were burnt in 1998 and several other developments are taking place.
Maseru is the major gateway for travellers coming by air, and for drivers coming from Johannesburg and Bloemfontein, but it is also a pleasant base from which tourists can explore the Western and Northern attractions of Lesotho.
Maseru is a young but growing city. The site was first occupied as an administrative post by the British in 1869, and grew slowly from then. Many old buildings from early in the century can still be seen. Recent years have seen a greater degree of growth and modernisation and central Maseru is becoming dilapidated.

Maseru is a place to explore briefly, a place to stock up on supplies and deal with bureaucratic necessities – otherwise it is unlikely to detain the traveller for long. The main road is called Kingsway, and runs from the South African border through the town centre and ends at the traffic circle where the main north and south roads head off. Taxis run all the time along this route.
The road on the right just before it (facing away from the border), Orpen Road, leads down to the Maseru Sun Cabanas. Across the road from the Hat are the offices of Lesotho Airways and a few doors up, the Lesotho Tourist Board. They have information on various aspects of the country as well as some beautiful posters at good prices. A little further up on the right side of the road is the OK Bazaars supermarket, then the Lancer’s Inn Hotel and bakery and then the Post Office. Opposite the post office is the Department of Immigration.

The map office at the Department of Land, Surveys and Physical Planning is well worth a visit. They sell an excellent 1:250000 Relief map of Lesotho for M30. This map has been updated recently, and is the best map of Lesotho available. The satellite image map is also interesting. There are tourist maps of Semongkong and Sehlabathebe. And of course, for hikers the 1:50 000 topographic maps are a must. They are a little pricey, but in order to have a safe hike, money well spent. The office is in Lerotholi Road. Two roads up from the post office turn left, then right and immediately left into Lerotholi Road. The office is 5Om from this junction on the right.

SIGHTSEEING
The Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Victories is an imposing colonial style structure on the main entry into the City, and well worth a visit. Just away from the City centre, the Papal Pavilion is a memento of the Pope’s visit to our Kingdom.
In recent years, promotion of the use of local stone (Maluti sandstone) for modern buildings has resulted in some very pleasing new buildings that blend well with the dramatic Lesotho scenery.
The weaving centres, such as Thorkild Hand Weaving and Moteng Weavers, provide great opportunities for visitors to buy high-quality and well-designed traditional Lesotho products.
Lancer’s Gap, on the road north from Maseru, offers fine views of the City and the Caledon Valley, and is the site of a famous battle in 1852 when Basotho warriors under Moshoeshoe l’s son Molapo defeated the 12th Royal Lancers under Lt. General Sir George Cathcart who were on a punitive expedition.
AROUND MASERU
It is even more in the surrounding countryside than in the City itself that the visitor will find so much of interest to make a memorable visit to Lesotho. Maseru, with its fine hotels, is an ideal base from which to explore the western regions of Lesotho, with their history and culture, craft centres, and with a countryside that changes with the seasons.
In the springtime, billowing clouds of peach blossom in the nearby orchards provide a wonderful opportunity to explore our famous Peach Blossom route, either by car or on pony.
Roma Our National University is sited in a very scenic valley at Roma, 35km from the capital, and is an interesting point for a short excursion from Maseru. This has always been an educational centre, and is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Mission that was founded in 1862.
Thaba Bosiu is not far from Maseru and is a well worthwhile excursion. Buses and taxis run to the tourist office at the base of the mountain from the southern bus rank in Maseru. Guides are available at the tourist office. The senior guide is a direct descendant of Moshoeshoe the Great and has a wealth of knowledge and stories about the place. He makes history come alive. It is not too stiff a climb to the top, where ruins of Moshoeshoe’s village remain, and the royal graveyard, is also located on the summit. Views are lovely, and just nearby is Qiloane, a strangely formed mountain, the shape of which is supposed to have inspired the old Basotho hat building in Maseru.
Morija is a small town about 40 km south of Maseru. It is well worth a stay, but can also be visited as a day trip from Maseru. The only museum in Lesotho is located here. The museum has a lovely tea garden overlooking the surrounding hills and pony trekking day trips can also be done from here.
See Day Trips from Maseru
NIGHT LIFE
Lesotho may not have Vegas-style nightlife, but when the sun goes down the fun does not stop. In Maseru there are two casinos, and gamblers can enjoy blackjack and roulette, as well as slots.
In Maseru and other towns in Lesotho, visitors will find a wide range of excellent restaurants. Fine dining experiences range from Chinese and Indian to Continental and tasty Southern Africa fare. In the warmer months, many people will also enjoy a braai — the Southern Africa barbecue.
In Maseru, visitors will find a cinema, and most hotels provide television that feature Lesotho Television, South African channels and satellite links. And don’t forget that our friendly bars are welcoming and informal. A drink with friends under the starlit sky in summer, or round a cosy log fire in the winter, is a great way to finish off the day.
ACCOMMODATION
There are six hotels in Maseru.
The top hotels are the Lesotho Sun, Maseru Sun and the Victoria Hotel.
Three less expensive options are the Khali Hotel, Lakeside Hotel and Lancers Inn.

ACCESS
By air: Through Maseru International Airport, 40km away from the City centre.
By road: A network of modern tarred roads feeds the Capital’ from different border posts, and other towns.
By rail: Maseru has rail links with other commercial centres in South Africa
Internal flights: Mission Aviation fly once or twice a week from Maseru to Mokhotlong, Thaba Tseka and Katse .
Phone them in Maseru on 314790 310347 to check on seat availability.
ROAD DISTANCES

Maseru is connected by road to a number of South African cities, as well as other regions. The following are the shortest tarred routes:
Bloemfontein – Thaba Nchu – Maseru (140 km)
Cape Town – Worcester – Beau fort West – Colesberg – Bloemfontein – Maseru (1166 km)
Port Elizabeth – Grahamstown – Fort Beau fort – Whittlesea – Queenstown – Aliwal North – Wepener – Maseru (720 km)
Durban – Pietermaritzburg – Ladysmith – Harrismith – Bethlehem Fouriesburg – Ficksburg – Ladybrand – Maseru (548 km) (Also tarred road from Harrismith to Fouriesburg via Golden Gate Park, somewhat shorter but with many curves)
Johannesburg -Heilbron – Petrus Steyn – Lindley – Arlington – Senekal – Marquard – Clocolan – Ladybrand – Maseru (420 km)
Gaborone (Botswana) – Zeerust – Lichtenburg – Klerksdorp – Kraonstad – Ventersburg – Winburg – Clocolan – Ladybrand – Maseru (630 kin)
Mbabane (Swaziland) – Oshoek – Chrissiesmeer – Ermelo – Standerton – Vrede – Warden – Bethlehem – Fouriesburg – Ficksburg – Ladybrand – Maseru (635 kin)
BACKPACKERS INFORMATION
Accommodation
The Anglican Training Centre: Follow directions above to map office, but continue up Lerotholi Road until the first road crossing. This is Assissi Road, turn left here and go up the hill. You’ll soon see the sign on the left. Find the senior sister to request accommodation and persevere – they have 72 beds! Tariffs are cheap in 2, 4 or 5 bedded rooms. Rooms and ablutions are clean, the place quiet and the people friendly – Meals are available.

Lesotho Work Camps Association: This is an association for voluntary work by Basotho in rural areas. They are situated behind the Catholic cathedral which is at the traffic circle. Go down Main North road, and at a garage on the right, you’ll see a dirt road which also serves as a taxi rank. Go down here and you’ll soon come to the LWCA. They offer dormitory accommodation at M20/person. There are hot water ablutions and a small kitchen. The place is slightly grotty and not in the best area, but is cheap.

Transport
Getting to Maseru from South Africa:
Buses: Transtate run services to/from Johannesburg. There is no need to book. Buses from Johannesburg leave from the back (western side) of Johannesburg station on Mondays. Wednesdays and Fridays at 8 a.m. arriving in Maseru around 3 p.m. There are also 3 buses leaving on Friday evenings between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. From Maseru, buses leave from the border post on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays at 12 noon, arriving in Johannesburg at 5.30 p.m. The cost is R41.00.

Minibus taxis: They leave from Johannesburg station direct to Maseru, and the return trip leaves from the Maseru border. The journey takes about 5 hours and costs about R55. They leave from Bloemfontein station, some go direct but it may be quicker to go to Botshabelo and change there. The return journey leaves from the South African side of Maseru border; again it may be quicker via Botshabelo.

Internal transport: Just off Main North road, opposite Lesotho High School on the left side of the road if heading out of town is the bus/taxi rank for al transport going north (i.e. Maputsoe, Hlotse, Butha Buthe). On the right hand side of Main South Road heading out of town is the bus/taxi rank for transport going to central regions (Thaba Bosiu, Thaba Tseka, Molimo Nthuse, Semongkong) and the south (Quthing, Morija, Motsekuoa, etc.)
BUSINESS HOURS
Shops Monday to Friday 0800 – 1100
Saturday 0800 – 1200
Sunday (certain shops in Maseru town centre only) 0800 – 1300
Government Offices Monday to Friday 0800 – 1245 1400 – 1630
Banks Monday to Friday (exc. Wednesday) 0830 – 1530
Wednesday 0830 – 1300
Saturday 0830 – 1100