lesotho fact file lesotho embassy Website: www.lesotholondon.org.uk in uk Address: 7 Chesham Place, Belgravia, London, SW1 8HN Telephone: +44(0)20 7235 5686 Facsimile: +44(0)20 72355023 british embassy There is no UK embassy in Lesotho. In case of an emergency, contact the British Embassy in in lesotho South Africa. british embassy in Address: 255 Hill Street, Arcadia, 0002, Pretoria, South Africa south africa Telephone: +27(12) 4217500 area 30,355 square kilometres population Estimated at 2 million capital Maseru language Sesotho, English tipping Tipping, between 10% and 15% is the norm bank opening hours Mon-Fri 0900-1530hrs. Sat 0900-1100hrs post office hours Mon-Fri 0900-1630hrs office opening hours Mon-Fri 0830-1700hrs shops opening hours Big shopping centres Mon-Sun 0900-1800hrs time (+/- GMT) GMT+1 in summer and GMT+2 winter electricity 220-240V same as South African plugs public holidays New Year-01 Jan, Moshoeshoe’s Day-11 March, Hero’s Day-04 April, King’s Birthday-17 July 2007, Independence Day-04 October ,Christmas Day-25 December, Boxing Day-26 December telephone It is possible to dial direct to Europe and North America form public phones. Mobile phones are used in most cities, however once you leave the cities the reception is difficult to find. You should check with your UK network operator before traveling. Charity Challenge also has an emergency Satellite Phone available on all expeditions at a cost of £3 per minute. The sat phone is for emergencies only and battery life is limited by the cold temperatures. photograph Film, cameras and accessories are readily available in larger towns. As a courtesy always ask before taking someone’s photograph, do not however, pay for it. postal Lesotho has one government run postal service and a couple of private postal services. Overseas mail takes approximately 10-14 days to reach its destination. currency Loti (plural Maloti). The Loti is pegged to the South African Rand (ZAR). August 2007: 1 GBP = 14 Loti or 14 ZAR credit cards A couple of ATM's in Lesotho have the facility to accept international ATM cards but are unreliable (First National Bank and Standard Bank). Credit cards are not widely accepted. You should take travellers' cheques or South African Rand in cash, which circulates as an official currency in Lesotho along with the Maloti. travellers cheque Travellers’ cheques can be exchanged at most banks as well as dedicated Bureau de Change. passport A full passport is required. Please note that anyone traveling to Lesotho must have two consecutive blank pages in their passport which lie side by side when the passport is open (i.e. a left and a right hand page). Passengers traveling to Lesotho with passports which do not comply with these requirements, will either be stopped from boarding the aircraft or risk deportation on arrival in Lesotho. British nationals visiting Lesotho on holiday for less than 3 months do not require visas. Overstaying without the proper authority is a serious matter. Overstayers are likely to be arrested on departure and detained before appearing in court. A substantial fine may be imposed. gifts and souvenirs Keep receipts of all gifts purchased. duty free 400 cigarettes, 50 Cigars and 250g Tobacco, 1l spirits, 2l of still wine 50ml of perfume and gifts to the value of ZAR 500 (which for August 2007 is the equivalent of £35) vaccination Recommended vaccinations include diphtheria; tetanus; poliomyelitis; hepatitis A; typhoid. It is and health also recommended that you take advice from your GP regarding advised: tuberculosis; hepatitis B; rabies and cholera. Although if you do plan to extend your visit to South Africa, please check their regulations before you travel. hospitals/pharmacies We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling, including cover for medical evacuation by air. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake. Lesotho has only very basic medical facilities. Expatriates use the medical facilities in Bloemfontein, South Africa; a one and a half-hour drive (140kms) from Maseru. Medical facilities in rural areas can be basic. In remote areas air evacuation is sometimes the only option for medical emergencies. water Don't drink the local water without boiling it, using chemical disinfection or a reliable filter. On the trek all drinking water should always be treated first with purification tablets or a suitable filter. climate SUMMER: November – January WINTER: May – July The lowest valley in the country is still over 1 000m above sea level and the highest peak is 3 842m, so the range in temperatures can vary immensely. Snow falls mainly in winter, but can occur at all times of year. Winters are bitterly cold but clear with stunning days. Summer is the rainy season with most of the annual rainfall falling between October to April. The days are hot and sunny with lowland temperatures up to and over 30ºC.The temperature drops gradually as you climb higher. Clouds gather for afternoon rains and burst into spectacular thunderstorms. These fill the rivers, and the enormous waterfalls become even more spectacular. Several people are killed by lightning each year so take care! Regardless of the time of year, the mountain weather can change in minutes from warm sunshine to biting wind and thrashing rain. Mists descend quickly and the temperature can drop dramatically. geography Lesotho is a small mountainous country situated towards the east of the Republic of South Africa and entirely encircled by it. There are two main mountain ranges: the Drakensburg, which has the highest mountain in southern Africa, and the Maluti. The capital, Maseru, is situated in the lowlands in the west of the country where most of the arable land and 70% of the population are concentrated: only 13% of the country is cultivable and population pressure here is acute. do’s & don’ts • Do take normal big city precautions; do not flaunt cameras, high-tech electrical goods and jewellery. • Don’t get involved in the sex industry, it is unregulated and HIV is widespread. • Don’t get involved in drugs: The penalties are fines, possible deportation and/or mandatory prison sentences. • Don’t carry anything through Customs for anyone else. • Valuables: keep your passport, money and personal belongings in a secure place, preferably a safety deposit box or hotel safe. Always lock hotel/apartment rooms, including balcony doors. Keep a written record of your bankcard numbers and a photocopy of your passports details page. Enter next of kin details into the back of your passport. • Personal Safety: use common sense and be vigilant at all times. Crime exists and is on the increase. As in most tourist areas avoid unlit areas, including unfamiliar areas after dark. • Do not stop to assist distressed motorists, report the incident to the nearest police station or authorities.