You can now access much of Lesotho in a 2WD car, but it is still not possible to do a complete circuit without a 4WD, due to rough gravel roads in the east between Mokhotlong and Qacha's Nek. Bus and shared-taxi networks cover the country; taxis do not normally operate to a schedule but leave only when full.
There are no internal flights within Lesotho.
You'd need to bring your own into the country, and given the terrain you'll need legs of steel.
There are no options to get around this mountain kingdom by boat.
Buses and shared taxis A good network of buses, minibus shared taxis (known locally as just ‘taxis’), sprinters and private or shared-car taxis (known as 'four-plus-ones') covers most of the country. Minibus taxis serve the major towns and many smaller spots. Buses (cheaper and slower) and sprinters (faster and more expensive) serve the major towns. There are no classes and service is decidedly no-frills.
Departures Most departures are in the morning (generally, the longer the journey, the earlier the departure).
Northern Lesotho Heading northeast from Maseru by shared taxi, you usually have to change at Maputsoe. The transfer sometimes happens en route into Maputsoe if your vehicle meets another taxi.
Tickets On larger local buses, although you’ll be quoted long-distance fares, it’s best to just buy a ticket to the next major town. Most passengers will likely get off there, leaving you stuck waiting for the vehicle to fill up again while other buses and shared taxis leave. Buying tickets in stages is only slightly more expensive than buying a direct ticket. It’s not necessary (or possible) to reserve a seat in advance.
Car & Motorcycle
It usually works out cheaper to rent a vehicle in South Africa and drive it over the border. You’ll need a permission letter from the rental company to cross the border; some companies charge a fee (around R500) for this.
Lesotho has rental operations in Maseru and Moshoeshoe I International Airport.
- Driving in Lesotho can be challenging, with steep terrain, hairpin turns and inclement weather.
- Roads are being built and upgraded, many financed by Chinese mining corporations and the Highlands Water Project.
- During roadworks, previously passable gravel and tar roads become impassable to 2WD cars.
- A tarred road, passable in a 2WD, runs clockwise from Qacha's Nek to Mokhotlong, with possible onward access to Sani Top.
- Stretches of tar and good gravel also give 2WD access to Semonkong (from both the north and south), Thaba-Tseka (from the north and west) and Ts’ehlanyane National Park.
- Apart from issues caused by roadworks, sealed roads in the highlands are generally good, but very steep in places.
- Rain will slow you down, and ice and snow in winter can make driving dangerous.
- If you’re driving an automatic, you’ll rely heavily on your brakes to negotiate steep downhill corners.
- Away from main roads, there are places where even a 4WD will struggle, such as the road north from Sehlabathebe National Park.
- Rough roads and river floodings after summer storms are the biggest problems.
- People and animals on the road can also be a hazard.
- There are sometimes police or army roadblocks.
- Driving is on the left-hand side of the road.
- Seatbelts are mandatory for the driver and front-seat passengers.
- The main local idiosyncrasy is the ‘four-way stop’ (crossroad), found even on major roads. All vehicles are required to stop, with those arriving first the first to go (even if they’re on a minor cross street).
- There are numerous police roadblocks in Lesotho; halt at the first stop sign and wait to be waved forward. Most police officers will quickly check your papers or just wave you on.
- 80km/h on main roads; 50km/h in villages.
Main routes are numbered, beginning with A1 (Main North Rd). Side roads branching off from these have ‘B’ route numbers.
Hitchhiking and picking up hitchhikers is inadvisable, though common.
There are no train services within Lesotho.