Lesotho Fact Sheet

OFFICIAL NAMEKingdom of Lesotho
SHORT FORMLesotho (formerly known as Basutoland)
ADMINISTRATIVE DISTRICTSBerea, Butha-Buthe, Leribe, Mafeteng, Maseru, Mohale’sHoek, Mokhotlong, Qacha’s Nek, Quthing, Thaba Tseka
NATIONAL MOTTOKhotso, Pula, Nala (Peace, Rain and Prosperity)
AREA30,355 sq.km (11,718 sq.mi.) about the size of Belgium
LOCATIONSituated between latitudes 28º and 31º South and Longitudes 27º and 30º East
TOPOGRAPHYHighveld, plateau and mountains
ALTITUDERanges from 1388 to 3 400 metres above sea level
TIME ZONECentral African Time = GMT+2
CLIMATETemperate; hot summers (about 32 Cº/ Fº 90) and cool to cold winter-snowfall in the highlands (about –7 Cº/ Fº20)
POPULATION2.2million (2004 estimates)
NATIONALITYMosotho (singular) Basotho (plural)
RELIGIONSPredominantly Christian comprised of Roman Catholic, Anglican, Evangelical, and other denominations. Indigenous believes are still widely practiced.
TYPE OF GOVERNMENTParliamentary Constitutional Monarchy
HEAD OF STATEHis Majesty King Letsie III
HEAD OF GOVERNMENTThe Right Honourable the Prime Minister, Mr Pakalitha Mosisili
LEGISLATIVEBicameral parliament, Senate (33 members) National Assembly (120 members)
ELECTION MODELMixed Member Proportional
JUDICIALCustomary Courts, Magistrate’s Court, High Court, and Court of Appeal
SUFFRAGE18 years
MAIN EXPORTSLabour and water to the Republic of South Africa, textiles, footwear, to the United States, European Union and Canada, wool and mohair products
MAIN IMPORTSAutomobiles, Machinery, Building Material, Fuel, Medicine, corn and other foodstuffs
AGRICULTUREMostly subsistence farming; corn, wheat, sorghum, barley, beans, peas, potatoes, pumpkins, vegetables, fruit trees,
LIVESTOCKCattle, sheep, goats, (wool and mohair) horses and donkeys
CURRENCYLoti (singular), Maloti (Plural) the currency is pegged at par with the South African Rand (ZAR).
VOLTAGE220 – 240 volts
DIALLING CODEInternational access code +266


Distance Table

The Moshoeshoe I International Airport in Maseru connects Lesotho to the world through daily one hour flights to Johannesburg, South Africa, The Highest quality asphalt roads connect Lesotho and the capital Maseru to various main centres in the southern African region:

Maseru to Durban (South Africa)600 km
Maseru to East London (South Africa)583 km
Maseru to Port Elizabeth (South Africa)738 km
Maseru to Cape Town1 165 km
Maseru to Johannesburg455 km
Maseru to Gaborone (Botswana)630 km
Maseru to Mbabane (Swaziland)635 km

Customs Regulations

All goods brought into Lesotho are subject to customs control and baggage may be subject to examination. Visitors from the Southern African Customs Union (Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland) are not permitted to bring liquor into Lesotho. The following items are quantities to a total value not exceeding M500.00 per person are allowed under rebate duty: one litre each of wine, spirits or any other alcoholic beverage, 400 cigarettes or 50 cigars, 300ml perfume. Domestic pets, livestock, seeds, bulbs, plants and trees may not be imported without payment of customs duty and are subject to quarantine restrictions. Permits may be obtained from:

The Principal Secretary Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security P.O. Box 24 Maseru 100 LESOTHO

Currency and Banking

Lesotho’s standard unit of currency is the loti (plural Maloti, symbol M), which is equivalent to the South African rand and is divided into 100 lisente (singular sente, symbol s). Notes comprise M200, M100, M50, M20 and M10, coins comprise M5, M2, 50s, 20s, 10s and 5s. Travellers; cheques and most credit cards may be used in Lesotho. There are no restrictions on the amount of money tourists may bring into the country. Lesotho’s three commercial banks, comprising Standard Lesotho Bank, Nedbank and First National Bank, offer currency exchange services in their main Maseru branches. Banks are open Mondays to Fridays from 08;30am to 03:30pm and on Saturdays from 08:30am to 12:00noon. Most retail stores are open Mondays to Fridays from 08:00am to 06:00pm as well as on Saturdays and Sundays from 09:00am to 01:00pm.