Safety and security
Lesotho's national general elections in February 2015 and the subsequent formation of a coalition government seem to have calmed the previously volatile political situation that followed an attempted coup in August 2014. However, you should remain alert. There are occasionally spontaneous political demonstrations in Maseru and it's advisable to avoid demonstrations, rallies and large public gatherings as a precaution.
Although the threat from terrorism in Lesotho is low, there is still a global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by tourists and expatriates.
Crime remains relatively low in Lesotho but you should take sensible precautions:
- Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
- Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
- Avoid showing large sums of money in public and don’t use ATMs after dark, especially if you’re alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business.
- Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, and arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible.
- Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafés, train and bus stations.
- Do not walk around Maseru after dark and avoid driving in rural areas at night.
- Keep doors locked, windows shut and valuables out of sight when driving in urban centres, especially Maseru.
Muggers in central Maseru sometimes target foreign nationals. We advise you to avoid walking alone in isolated areas or after dark and driving in rural areas at night. Only carry essentials with you and keep valuables out of sight.
Theft from vehicles
When driving in urban centres, especially Maseru, keep doors locked, windows shut and valuables out of sight. Park in well-lit areas and don’t pick up strangers. Take care at the approaches to main border crossings, particularly at night. Armed car hijacking is also increasing.
There have been recent incidences of armed attacks on pedestrians. If you have no alternative but to walk around Maseru, avoid taking the same route repeatedly and be vigilant. If you are attacked, or your car is hijacked, don’t resist.
There is a public transport/taxi service in Lesotho but safety cannot be guaranteed. We recommend you take telephone taxis. Always confirm the fare in advance and never take a lift from a stranger.
If you’re a victim of a crime while in Lesotho, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at our Irish Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa if you need help.
If you’re planning to drive in Lesotho, you should be extremely careful as road safety standards are poor.
If you want to drive:
- Bring your international driving license and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance – after three months, you must get a local driving licence
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught
- Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights
- Watch out for animals roaming on the roads, especially at night
- Local mini-bus taxis are often poorly maintained and uninsured, and ignore road safety rules
If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).
Tue, 19 Apr 2016 09:15:55 BST