Table of Contents
Supermarkets & Food
Embassies and Consulates
Maseru is the capital of and largest city in Lesotho. It is situated on the north western border with South Africa. Although there isn’t a huge deal to see in Maseru, it is well worth stopping here upon entry into Lesotho to stock up before venturing further in (where there are very, very few Western shops).
Maseru Bridge Border Post is a drop off point for most South African national coach services, from where you can catch a taxi into Maseru.
Vaal-Maseru Bus Services ☎ +27 (0)18 462-1000, (http://www.vaalmaseru.co.za)
Local bus from Bloemfontein
Being the transport hub of Lesotho, anywhere in Lesotho that’s connected by road to here will have a Minibus taxi service to Maseru. For more information on taxis, see here.
Moshoeshoe Airport is located 18km from Maseru. South African Airways operates a couple of daily flights from Maseru to Johannesburg, which typically cost around M2200. Luggage is lost very regularly and there is no lost luggage reporting system. You should arrange taxi pick-up in advance as there are no taxis at the airport. Taxis charge around 100. Mission Aviation flies from the smaller Moeshoeshoe I airport just off Airport Road, 2km from central Maseru. They offer charter flights to amongst other places, Mokhotlong, Thaba-Tseka and Katse and are contactable on +266 2232 5699. Flights are fairly expensive, their little planes can be cramped, but they fly to most airstrips in Lesotho.
A map of central Maseru can be found here . Google Maps now have very detailed maps of Maseru and Lesotho.
The bus stop on Moeshoeshoe Rd is the main taxi station,but private cabs are available from the price of M20. For information on catching taxis in Lesotho and Maseru, call Comfort Taxis and speak to Khosana on (+266)6274 5199. For information on catching taxis in Lesotho,Moonlight taxis are on (+266) 22312695
There is not a huge deal to see in Maseru, as the city is essentially a base for expeditions and travels deeper into Lesotho.
The Mokorotlo. One of the country’s most monumental buildings, the Mokorotlo is the traditional hut built in a modern sophisticated style, it is a virtual museum where you can learn more about the cultures and tradition of the friendly Basotho nation.
Thetsane is worth having a wander around on a weekday – two kilometers south of Maseru on Pioneer Road (past the Pope’s Podium) are a cluster of factories that churn out t-shirts and jeans for numerous US chain stores, including Kmart, Children’s Place and GAP (if you’ve ever bought an Old Navy top chances are it was stitched together here). The chaotic hustle and bustle of Thetsane contrasts sharply with the slow pace of life elsewhere in Lesotho, and its a facinating place to see what African ‘industrialisation’ looks like.
The Lehakoe Club and Gym, Moshoeshoe Road (next to the Central Bank, near the Houses of Parliament) Excellent gym by any standards, with 2 swimming pools, tennis & squash courts, steam rooms and sauna. M215 per month membership, also daily and weekly membership available.
Lesotho National Tennis Courts Kingsway bypass, functional and cheap tennis courts, tuition available.
Maseru Golf Course, play a round with some alcoholic expats.
Moeshoeshoe Day is celebrated in Maseru in early March with colourful processions through the city centre.
Go canoeing on the Caledon river The Lesotho-Durham Link offer canoeing trips (phone in advance to see what they can offer, +266 22325166). Around M200 for an afternoon.
Join the Hash The Maseru Hash House Harriers is a good way of meeting expats, get some exercise, and see some more off-the-beaten-path parts of Maseru. . It is quite tame, with the traditional drinking games kept to a minimum.
Hike up the Hill behind the Lesotho Sun. Behind the hotel is a rocky hill (where they are now building the new Chinese funded parliament building – Lesotho supports the One China policy). Should take about 30 minutes to climb but is well worth the effort – go before sunset and take your camera!
Trips from Maseru (http://static.scribd.com/docs/4dhmtvpxbpvt.pdf)
Supermarkets & Food
Pick’n’Pay, Pioneer Shopping Centre, Pioneer Road – Very well-stocked South African supermarket and liquor store.
OK Shoprite, Kingsway (LNDC Centre, behind the Vodacom shop) – Good stocking up place before you head to the mountains
OK Shoprite, Moeshoeshoe Rd – again a good stock up place.
Fruit & Veg City, Kingsway (Cathedral end) better fruit and veg than shoprite, also has a very random ‘Italian deli’ section selling very expensive pasta and italian wine.
Bensons Quality Fresh Meats, Main North road – very good (South African run) butchers. Original owners have sold this business to run Pick’n’Pay. They deliver too. +266 22321479
Basotho Hat, Kingsway – a government run craft store which stocks locally made crafts. Large variety of beautiful hand-made jewelry of copper and ceramics, dresses, wire pushtoys. Worth poking your head in just to enjoy the unusual architecture.
Chinese tailors, Kingsway, opposite Fruit & Veg – good tailors who can duplicate a suit for M1000ish (they take the measurements from an existing suit rather than measure you)
Lesotho Cellphone Services, 10 Lioli Rd. Industrial Area – a cheaper place to purchase white goods and electrical items than the furniture shops along Kingsway
For electronics On Kingsways, also just opposite Fruit & Veg there is a large and surprisingly well-furnished shop selling computers and accessories, mobile phones and accessories, cables, etc., at decent prices.
White Box Food, not a restaurant, but a good budget eating option – on Kingsway at lunchtime lots of food vendors are cooking up chicken, pork, rice and papa and serving it to the office workers in town for around M12-M15 a box – very tasty and very filling
M’editerranea Pizza, (just off Pioneer Rd, near OK supermarket) – good fresh pizza, by far the best coffee in town, great atmospheric music.
Mimmo’s Italian Deli, United Nations Rd – nice decor, variable food, including very garlicy pizzas and pasta dishes. Service is pretty bad but this is Lesotho.
Nando’s, Moeshoeshoe Rd – good chicken, Portuguese style
KFC, Kingsway – chicken
New Asia, Kingsway (behind Victoria Hotel) – good chinese restaurant – access from the carpark behind Victoria Hotel
Peace Restaurant, Moeshoeshoe Rd (just down from Nando’s) – at the back of a Chinese grocery shop the Peace Restaurant offers an authentic chinese eating experience – good food, plastic chairs, chinese karaoke on Friday and Saturday nights! You can almost believe you are in China
Good Times Cafe, LNDC Centre, Kingsway (above the Vodacom shop) – the only nightspot in Maseru also serves up adequate South African fare – OK for lunch if you have 1,5 hours or more. Tends to be empty in the evenings except for a few expats. Big screen for live football.
Solomon’s Ground, below the post office at the corner of Constitution Road, this restaurant offers decent Italian food and on Thursdays offers an Ethiopian buffet.
Lancer’s Inn, Kingsway – good food but slow service.
Lesotho Sun, Nightingale Rd – a chinese restaurant, and a grill restaurant, both quite average for the price (expensive) but if you are after a nice steak then it’s more convienient than a trip to Ladybrand. There’s a gluttonous all you can eat buffet on Sundays at lunchtime with loads of food. Doors open at 12.30 but it soon packs out as post-church middle-class Basotho families stuff themselves. Get there early if you want to get your nose in the trough! M120 per person.
Maseru Sun Cabanas, runs the same Sunday lunch buffet food-fest as the Lesotho Sun. I disagree with this post – Cabanas “buffet” grill is much better than at the Lesotho Sun (even though they are both part of the Sun International Group) and has a much wider choice. Top tip – there is usually bread and butter pudding on the desert table which is better than your mum OR Gran ever made. Weird eh?
Regal Restaurant, Kingsway (part of the Basotho Hat complex) – the only non-hotel, non-chinese restaurant that offers a pleasant dining experience – good (British-style) indian food, appealing interior and good service. Expensive though and service is average at best.
Ocean Basket, South African chain serving seafood and sushi.
Good Times Cafe LNDC Centre, Kingsway (above the Vodacom shop) – the only non-hotel bar in Maseru likely to appeal to the tourist – can be very lively at weekends especially after pay-day (at end of the month) with live music and many of Lesotho’s young and rich in attendance – but can be quiet on weeknights.
Lesotho Sun – Pool bar – Great for sundowners. Buy-1-get-1-free on Fridays 5pm-7pm (very popular)
UN Club – the opening times are a little unpredictable, but worth a try for the more adventurous – its next to the Sparrows bar / gas station behind Lancers Inn (GPS / Google Earth coordinates 29°18’57.63″S 27°28’48.57″E)
Local bar in the suburbs – want to get off the tourist trail and see some suburban Maseru life? try this bar – safe and friendly (and cheap), with a pleasant beer garden out back used for hosting the occasional wedding reception. About 2 km southeast of the cathedral traffic circle, just off main south (GPS / Google Earth coordinates 29°19’40.17″S 27°30’24.83″E)
Many backpacker types pass through Maseru en route to Semonkong Lodge or Malealea in the mountains, or head to Ladybrand in South Africa. However do not discount Maseru as a budget overnight destination – there are affordable accomodation options, the best of which is probably the Lesotho-Durham link.
Lesotho – Durham Link off the Agric / Old Airport Road, on the northern edge of the lake, ☎ +266 22325166, (http://www.durham-lesotholink.org.uk/) Price: M100 per person (dormitory)
The following budget accommodations were built as training centres although they do cater for travellers if you ask in advance!
Anglican Training Centre Corner Assisi Rd and Lancers Rd, ☎ +266 2232 2046,
Lesotho Work Camps Association Kingsway (behind the Catholic cathedral on the roundabout at the top of Kingsway) Price: M20 per person per night
Mohokare Guest House 260 Kofi Annan, New Europa, ☎ +266 2231 4442, fax: +266 2231 4445, (http://www.mohokare.co.ls) Price: Single- R400, Double-R550
Boikhutsong Bed & Breakfast 623 Tjobolo, Hillsview, ☎ +266 63059190,
Foothills Guest House 121 Maluti Road, Maseru West., ☎ +266 58706566, Price: Double from M450.00, single from M295.00
Lakeside Hotel ☎ 22313646, Price: Double room from M274.00, Single from M183.00
Mpilo Lodge Maluti Road, Maseru West, ☎ 22317800, Price: Doubles from M500.00, singles from M350.00
Victoria Hotel Kingsway, ☎ 22313687, Price: Double room from M600.00, Single from M540.00
Lancer Kingsway, ☎ 22312114, fax: 22310223, Price: Double rooms from M845.00, singles from M745.00
Lesotho Sun (20min uphill walk from the centre.) ☎ 22313111, (http://www.southernsun.com) Price: Double rooms from M862, singles from M762.00.
Maseru Sun Cabanas Old Europa, ☎ 22312434, Price: Double rooms from M862, singles from M762.00
Queen Proteas New Parliament Drive (At the east end of the Kingsway bypass, near the turn off for the new Parliament building) ☎ +266-22315215, 58079472, Price: Double rooms from M450
In Maseru, there are several internet cafes, although fairly cheap (usually 0.20-0.50 ZAR per min) they are pretty slow at best. The main internet cafes are:
999 Internet, Kingsway (opposite the Post Office). The best value in Maseru
Leo Internet, (near the Basotho Hat)
The Lesotho Sun, very expensive.
Cellphones are available for hire from various shops in Maseru. If visiting Lesotho (or anywhere in Southern Africa) then bring an unlocked cellphone with you and buy pay-as-you-go simcards in each country you stay – a good way of staying connected. Most towns in Lesotho have cellphone coverage.
There is a large Post Office on Kingsway. Post is unreliable and can take up to a month to reach its destination, but usually more likely to take a fortnight. Sending a letter by airmail will cost you approx 2.40LSL.
Embassies and Consulates
Canada 3 Orpen Rd
Old Europa Maseru, ☎ +266 22 315365, fax: +266 22 315366, (http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/southafrica-afriquedusud/offices-bureaux/contact_lesotho_contactez.aspx?lang=eng)
United States 254 Kingsway Ave, ☎ +266 2231-2666 ext 4124, (http://maseru.usembassy.gov/)
Leribe – town in the north of the Country
Semonkong – pony trekking in the Highlands and to the impressive falls
Malealea – pony trekking in the Highlands from the large lodge
Thaba Bosiu – historic mountain fortress of the Masotho
In South Africa:
Ladybrand – the closest town across the border. A nice place to escape to if you are living in Lesotho and are craving Western-ness!
Bloemfontein – the nearest cinema (again, will only be useful to know this if you are living in Lesotho!)