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Lesotho is a constitutional monarchy with a democratically elected lower house of parliament. The upper house, the Senate, is comprised of appointed hereditary chiefs and politicians. A Prime Minister is the head of the government. Geographically, Lesotho is an extremely mountainous developing nation completely surrounded by the country of South Africa. The capital, Maseru, is at 5,000 feet (1,500M) above sea level, and the mountains reach to 11,400 feet (3,500M). Facilities for tourism are limited. A limited number of restaurants are available in Maseru. Read the Department of State Background Notes on Lesotho for additional information.


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Image of Lesotho
Country Name: Lesotho
Continent: Africa
Capital City: Maseru
Boundary Countries:

South Africa

Recommended Hospitals in Capital:

Maseru:  Maseru Private Hospital, Queen Elizabeth II Hospital

Main Cities:

Maseru, Leribe, Qacha's Nek, Quthing, Mohales Hoek, Mafeteng, Thaba-Tseka, Teyateyaneng, Mokhotlong

Country Size: 30,355 sq km
Population: 2,125,262



Sesotho (southern Sotho), English (official), Zulu, Xhosa

Currency: Lesotho Loti (LSL); South African Rand (ZAR)
Predominant Religions:

Christian 80%, indigenous beliefs 20%

National Holidays: Independence Day, 4 October (1966)
Economic Status:

Small, landlocked, and mountainous, Lesotho relies on remittances from miners employed in South Africa and customs duties from the Southern Africa Customs Union for the majority of government revenue. The extreme inequality in the distribution of income remains a major drawback.


Lesotho Defense Force (LDF): Army and Air Wing

US Presence:
U.S. Embassy in Maseru
P.O. Box 333
Maseru 100 Lesotho
Tel: +266 22 312 666
Document Requirements:

A passport is required, but no visa is needed for U.S. citizens visiting for 180 days or less. Vaccination for yellow fever is a common requirement and travelers should carry their international vaccination cards with them. For more information concerning entry requirements, travelers may contact the Embassy of the Kingdom of Lesotho, 2511 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008, telephone (202) 797-5533. Visit the Embassy of Lesotho’s website for the most current visa information. Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our web site. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information sheet. Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors to and foreign residents of Lesotho. Lesotho border guards have the discretion to deny entry to visitors with HIV/AIDS. Please verify this information with the Embassy of Lesotho before you travel.

Major Airports:

Airports:  28, Airports w/paved runways:  3

Maseru – Moshoeshoe International Airport (MSU/FXMM)
Maseru Airport, Lesotho, PO Box 629, Maseru, 100, LESOTHO
Tel: +266 (0)22 350777
Fax: +266 (0)22 310188
Customs, hours: 05:00 – 16:00 UTC
Tel: +266 (0)2235 0777

Servicing Airlines:
Risks and Precautions:

U.S. citizens should avoid political gatherings and street demonstrations and maintain security awareness at all times.

U.S. citizens should remain vigilant about their surroundings at all times. Lesotho has a high level of crime and foreigners are frequently targeted, robbed and sometimes killed. Police have reported the presence of a number of armed gangs. Lesotho’s high unemployment rate, aggravated by the return of large numbers of unemployed miners from South Africa, and the ongoing effects of social upheaval due to high HIV/AIDS rates of infection, have contributed to an increasing number of armed robberies, break-ins, and incidents of carjacking. These types of crimes occur primarily in the capital city of Maseru, but can occur elsewhere in Lesotho. Crime scenes have included popular restaurants, and other locations foreigners are known to frequent. Victims have included foreign diplomats and members of foreign aid missions. U.S. citizens are advised to avoid large groups and demonstrations, and not to walk in the city even during daylight. Personal crime is more likely to occur at night, but there have been numerous recent incidents in the middle of the day. Traveling alone or at night is particularly dangerous.

Mortality Statistics:

Infant MR total:  79.85 deaths/1,000 live births

Life expectancy at birth:  TOTAL 39.97 years (male 40.73/female 39.18)

Immunization Indicators:

Required:  None

Recommended:  Hep A & B, Rabies, Typhoid
Boosters:  MMR, DPT, poliovirus

Infectious Disease Concerns:

Dengue, filariasis, leishmaniasis, onchocerciasis (river blindness), African tick bite fever, a rickettsial infection, and African trypanosomiasis (African sleeping sickness) are other diseases carried by insects that also occur in Southern African countries, mostly in rural areas. Schistosomiasis is found in fresh water in Southern African countries. Polio reappeared in 2006 in Namibia. Imported cases in neighboring countries have occasionally occurred.

Many countries in this region have high incidence rates of tuberculosis and high HIV prevalence rates.

Overall Quality of Medical Services:

Medical facilities in Lesotho are limited. Good medical service is available in Bloemfontein, South Africa, 90 miles west of Maseru. There is no reliable ambulance service in Lesotho.

Providers in Network:
Direct Payment: 0
Referrals: 4
View Network Providers
Recent Medical Threats/ Concerns/Warnings:

Lesotho has a very high HIV/AIDS prevalense rate, currently estimated at over thirty percent of the adult population.

Communications Info:

Country Calling Code:  +266

Internet Country Code:  .is


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