Lesotho Safari - Complete Travel Guide
Lesotho is a gorgeous mountainous country, rich in culture and filled with wonders. From waterfalls to dinosaur footprints, this small country has an abundance of sights to see. If you’re looking for your next best adventure, this is the place to go – mountain climbing, abseiling, fantastic hiking and biking trails, and of course, the famous Basotho pony treks. While the journey to the top of a waterfall or mountain will get your heart racing, the view will leave you breathless with its mesmerizing beauty.
Best Time To Go
March – May; September – November
Average Safari Cost
$75 - $150 pp/day
Numerous waterfalls, excellent hiking and biking trails, pony trekking, Bushmen Rock Art, dinosaur footprints, Sangoma visits, mountain climbing and abseiling, botanical gardens, rock pools, canoeing, fishing and boating, Lancers Gap, Maletsunyane Falls, Valley of The Pools and more.
Why Go on a Lesotho Safari
Lesotho is not your typical safari destination – there are no big game drives, not much wildlife and definitely no Big Five.
What it does have, however, are excellent hiking and biking trails, with mesmerising vistas and a 206m high waterfall, the Maletsunyane Falls, that is perfect for abseiling. With a range of activities suited to adventure-lovers, Lesotho provides a great escape from our busy lives.
Mountain climbing at Lancers Gap to the top and abseiling down Maletsunyane Falls, coupled with a leisurely visit of nearby villages, being entertain by local bands and choirs will give you completely different outlook on Africa.
How about hiking through the mountains, or to the top of a waterfall? You could also take a 4x4 drive through Semonkong (which translates to “Place of Smoke”) or go mountain biking (or quad biking) on the mountain trails. Pony trekking is particularly popular in Lesotho, and the trails can take you through the mountains or to the top of a waterfall.
Don’t forget to visit the Bushman Rock Art, dinosaur footprints and explore caves to see the indigenous peoples’ lifestyle, before visiting with the local Sangoma for a consultation.
There are numerous rock pools, waterfalls and gorges. In Ts’ehlanyane Nature Reserve alone, there is a valley called The Valley of The Pools, which as over 16 deep swimming holes. Fishing, boating on Mohale Dam, canoeing and swimming throughout your visit will ensure that there is never a dull moment.
There is also Katse Botanical Garden, as well as the Afri-Ski skiing resort, which is open from May to September (winter).
Lesotho is overflowing with fun-filled activities and adventures just waiting for you. However, your visit does not have to be all excitement. You could choose a leisurely museum or cultural tour as well. Or you could spend time in the remote, peaceful parks and reserves, which are particularly empty from January to May, offering privacy and beautiful scenery, in the perfect wilderness setting.
Pros And Cons
- Excellent hiking, biking and horseback riding trails
- Spectacular vistas
- Rich local culture
- Mild to moderate temperatures with little precipitation
- Very affordable safaris
- This is a nature viewing destination with not much wildlife to view
- Can get busy from September to November
Best Time To Go
Start your Namibia Adventure
Tailor-Made South African Safari
We constantly strive to improve our award winning safari packages each year. I believe this is the best safari package we have ever offered, providing great quality at an affordable price. We start this safari at our safari base, the exclusive Rukiya Safari Lodge located on the banks of the Blyde River in the Wild Rivers private Nature Reserve. Rukiya is not only our safari base but is also a key location for our leopard research program. Following four days at Rukiya with our team, you will visit three other game reserves to ensure you can enjoy a variety of different lodge styles and reserves to give you a comprehensive safari experience. This safari provides a perfect balance between big five game viewing and a chance to gain a better understanding or be involved with wildlife conservation. As well as opportunities to explore in the company of wildlife conservationists. Of-course there is also time for some R&R to sit back, relax and enjoy the African bush. We recommend our safari itinerary shown below, as we’ve developed and honed it over many years in keeping with our company ethos and moreover feedback from safari guests. It covers all the elements that we feel should be included in an African safari, and has received many five star guest reviews”.
South Africa Rainbow Route - SAa17
The Rainbow Route is an overview tour of South Africa including neighbouring Kingdom of Swaziland. The tour covers many highlights with a strong focus on the national parks. This diverse country is explored over great distances that may involve long days on the road, generally followed by a full day to experience the area. The fully accommodated tour offers a great value for money way to explore South Africa.
Wildlife And Birds
This is not a big game viewing country, and the parks and reserves are mostly focused on small game, birds and conservation. There is a large predator population, which consists mostly of big cats, the brown hyena and the black-backed jackal. You can also expect troops of baboons, Burchell’s zebra (which is a mountain zebra), as well the common eland and the black wildebeest.
Rarely Seen Animals:
- Cheetah, African wildcat, serval, Cape genet, aardwolf, black-backed jackal, striped polecat, speckle-throated otter, African clawless otter
Infrequently Seen Animals:
- Caracal, brown hyena, leopard, Cape porcupine, Southern African hedgehog, Egyptian fruit bat
Frequently Seen Animals:
- Baboon, Burchell’s zebra, hartebeest, wildebeest (black), klipspringer, eland, duiker (blue), mountain reedbuck, Cape hyrax
Lesotho is a great bird watching destination, with roughly 600 bird species. The high plateaus offer great opportunities view and photograph magnificent bird species such as the Bearded Vulture, as well as Alpine endemics like the Drakensberg Rock-jumper.
- Black Harrier, Blue Bustard, Blue Crane, Cape Vulture, Denham’s Bustard, Egyptian Vulture, Eurasian Curlew, Eurasian Peregrine Falcon, Lesser Flamingo, Lesser Kestrel, Maccoa Duck, Southern Bald Ibis, Wattled Crane, Yellow-breasted Pipit
Endemic and Nearendemic birds:
- Bearded Vulture, Alpine Swift, Lanner Flacon, Ground Woodpecker, Grey-winged Francolin, Malachite Sunbird, White-necked Raven, Rock Kestrel, Black Stork, Half-collared Kingfisher, Orange-breasted Rock-jumper, Pale-crowned Cisticola, Sicklewing Chat, Bush Blackcap, Barrat’s Warbler, Southern Grey Tit, Black-headed Canary, Broad-tailed Warbler, Horus Swift, Lammergeier, Buff-streaked Chat, Rock Pipit, Gurney’s Sugarbird, Cape Eagle Owl, Drakensberg Prinia, Bald Ibis, Yelllow Warbler, Cape Rock Thrush, Layard’s Tit-warbler, Fairy Fly-catcher, Sharp-billed Honeyguide, Drakensberg Siskin, Mountain Pipit, Sentinel Rock-thrush, Drakensberg Rock-jumper
Getting There And Safety
Your safety is of utmost importance to us, and we want to help with that as much as possible. Please take the time to view the information below, to assist you on your journey.
Getting to Lesotho is easy from almost anywhere in South Africa – although Johannesburg and Durban are your best bets. You can travel to Lesotho by plane or by car. If you are coming from abroad (UK or USA), you will likely arrive in Johannesburg, and travel to Lesotho from there. It is up to you whether you take a 1-hour flight or a 4-and-a-half-hour drive to the small country.
Foreign nationals from the USA, the UK and Ireland do not a visa.
The following foreign nationals can stay in Lesotho for 14 days without a visa: Germany, France, Denmark, Finland, Canada, Belgium, Australia, Austria, Czech Republic, Italy, Iceland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Luxembourg, Spain, Portugal, Norway and Switzerland.
The following foreign nationals need a visa for Lesotho: Greece, Romania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Slovenia, Croatia and Lithuania.
Any foreign national not listed above should contact the Lesotho embassy for visa requirements.
A single-entry tourist or business visa cost $150 and a multiple entry visa costs $250.
Single entry visas are valid for 3 months.
It takes 3 working days for a visa application to process.
For more information on visas to Lesotho please see Wiki.
There are a few safety concerns in Lesotho:
- Women are advised against traveling solo.
- Avoid wearing valuable and expensive items on display, particularly in Maseru. Avoid travelling alone at night as well – muggings are common here.
- The main daytime risks are pickpocketing and bag-snatching – be vigilant.
- The occasional political unrest with generally only affect the capital. Should this be an issue, you should avoid crowds and stay off the streets as far as possible.
- When hiking, if you are without a guide, you may end up being harassed for money in remote areas by shepherds. There is also a slight risk of being mugged.
- It is advised that women do not hike alone, as rape is a problem in the country.
- Do not camp on high ground or out in the open during an electrical storm (lightning strikes are a real thing).
- When hiking and pony trekking, ensure that you have a waterproof backpack with essential in case of an emergency – waterproof gear, warmer clothing, basic first-aid kit, water and snacks, and anything else you think you may need.
Going on a safari in Africa comes with obvious risks. We recommend you get travel insurance for all travel in Lesotho. Make sure your insurance has full medical coverage, emergency air evacuation, repatriation and the standard travel insurance for cancellations, delays and luggage cover.
Check World Nomads’ travel insurance calculator to see the cost of your safari trip cover.
- Passport and ID documentation
- Rechargeable batteries (with charger and spare batteries) for your camera
- Waterproof backpack
- Sleeping bag and a pad that compresses well
- Good, durable, waterproof shoes
- Rain jacket
- General clothing appropriate for the season
- Trail shoes
- Swimwear (lots of waterfalls and rock pools!)
- Personal hygiene items – any personal medication, toiletries, spectacles, towels, hand sanitizers, etc.
The following information is not meant to replace a medical opinion. Consult with your healthcare provider before leaving your home country.
There is no concern for malaria in Lesotho. Mosquitoes can still pose an annoyance, however, sleeping with a netting over your bed should help with this.
Please confirm our list of vaccinations with your healthcare provider or travel clinic.
Possible vaccination requirements for Lesotho:
- Influenza (recommended for all travellers over 6 months old. It is particularly important to children, persons over 65, pregnant women, and those with chronic health conditions)
Check your local travel health authority for more information:
Caution should always be taken when travelling to a foreign country. The tap water in Lesotho is generally safe to drink. However, if the water looks cloudy or in any way strange, then it may be best to stick to drinking water.
Did you know, many of Lesotho’s citizen are forced to walk miles for clean drinking water each day. The lodges or hotels that you will be staying at are sure to have running water, but it is good to think of those in this small country that do not have such easy access to clean water.