Maseru, Lesotho - Stein Travel
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For a modern capital city, Maseru is quite a strange place, as tourists visiting Lesotho will soon find out. Way off the beaten tourist track, the main commercial and administrative centre of 'The Kingdom of the Sky' is a sleepy, dilapidated city with a distinct small-town feel. Most mid-range and budget accommodation is basic, shopping opportunities are few, and the restaurant scene isn't exactly sophisticated.

Maseru is, however, sited in one of the most beautiful regions in the whole of Africa - in the foothills of the prehistoric-looking Maluti Mountains, with a view of the jagged peaks of South Africa's Drakensberg mountain range extending to the east. Despite being situated in a slight valley (an area known as Hlabeng-Sa-Likhama), Maseru is still 5,200 feet (1,600m) above sea-leavel - a fact which, though contributing to harsh weather in winter - makes for impossibly beautiful, clear and crisp skies, and great mountain air.

Although there is not much to see and do in Maseru, outdoor enthusiasts will soon come to view Lesotho as a giant playground of sorts. A country full of walking and hiking trails, leading tourists up into the mountains and past rural villages and hamlets where life goes on in blissful disregard for modernity, there are also some great outdoor activities for tourists to try their hands at in Lesotho. Activities diverse as pony trekking, fishing, birding, abseiling, skiing and even paragliding are available - and these are well organised, and easy to get involved in (just enquire at any upmarket hotel in Maseru).

For well-heeled travellers looking to do Lesotho in style, the country also has a small but up-market selection of four and five-star hotels, game lodges (such as Maliba Mountain Lodge) and even a hotel/casino complex in the form of the Maseru Sun International Hotel.

With a famously friendly local population, a slow pace of life and outstanding natural scenery, Maseru can be a gentle introduction to the African continent for foreign tourists - and is a must-see place for those looking to try some outdoor activities while on holiday in southern Africa.

Information & Facts


Maseru has a subtropical highland climate. This translates to two distinct seasons, warm summers (September to March, hottest in January) characterised by beautiful, refreshing electric afternoon thunderstorms; and cold, dry winters (April to August, coldest in June). Maseru's temperatures generally range from between 79°F (26°C) and 54°F (12°C) in summer, and 61°F (16°C) and 27°F (0°C) in the winter - though sub-zero temperatures are common in June and July.


English is the official language, but Sesotho, Xhosa and Zulu are widely spoken.


The official currency is the Loti (LSL) or plural Maloti, which is divided into 100 lisente. It has the same value as the South African Rand, and rands are accepted as legal currency. Banks and exchange bureaus are found in Maseru and in most main towns. Most major hotels, shops, restaurants and travel agencies accept credit cards; though it is best to check with credit and debit card companies as to their acceptance before leaving home. Travellers cheques can be cashed at banks in Maseru. Local ATMs in Lesotho have the facility to accept international ATM cards but are unreliable.


Maseru isn't full of great shopping opportunities but does, however, boast some unique local art and craft products that make for great souvenirs. Hand-woven mohair blankets and tapestries are probably the country's most famous export - but tourists will also find hand-made traditional music instruments, clay pottery, wire and tin figurines (these are wonderful trinkets), and beaded jewellery.


Maseru isn't blessed with many tourist sights - rather, it should be thought of a good base from which to explore its surrounding rural areas, where Lesotho's culture can be experienced in true fashion. However, while you're in Maseru, be sure to check out the Royal Palace, the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Victories and the St. John's Anglican Church, all of which are impressive buildings.

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