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Lesotho National Anthem
Lesotho, land of our Fathers,
You are the most beautiful country of all.
You give us birth,
In you we are reared
And you are dear to us.
Lord, we ask You to protect Lesotho.
Keep us free from conflict and tribulations.
Oh, land of mine,
Land of our Fathers,
May you have peace.
Lesotho has 300 or more days a year of sunshine. When it rains, it usually rains from 700 to 800 mm at a time, and the rain mostly occurs from October to April. The temperatures are relatively mild, but there is snow in the highlands during the winter.
Light clothing such as T-shirts and short pants are adequate during the summer, but raincoats are a necessity. You will need a jacket for when it turns cool after sunset from spring to autumn. During the winter, or on excursions to the Maluti Mountains at any time of year, be sure to be prepared by bringing warm clothing such as socks, windbreaker, or jacket.
Travel to Lesotho via Air
There are no direct flights to Lesotho from Japan, so travel must be via a third country. You can go through Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, or Amsterdam, then change flights in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Flying from Narita to Hong Kong, for example, takes 4 1/2 hours, and from Hong Kong to Johannesburg is 13 hours. Another approach would be simply to choose your favorite air carrier.
Travel to Lesotho via Land
Most people who visit Lesotho enter the country by land routes. There are 11 border checkpoints where the formalities for entering Lesotho from the Republic of South Africa are handled. Some of the roads in the Mokhotlong and Qacha's Nek districts are particularly steep, and four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended for use there.
Customs Procedures
All goods brought into Lesotho are subject to customs control. Hand luggage may also be inspected. Customs declarations must be submitted on arrival. Please take care, since submission of false or incomplete declarations is treated as a violation of law that is subject to confiscation or other penalties.
Duty Free
The following items within the range of quantities indicated and amounting to no more than M500.00 in total are allowed duty free per person.
* Two liters of wine, one liter of spirits or other alcohol* 200 cigarettes, 250 g of pipe tobacco, 20 cigars, 50 mL of perfume
Items exceeding these quantities will be subject to a uniform 20% import duty.
Visitors from Botswana, Namibia, the Republic of South Africa, and Swaziland are forbidden to bring in any alcohol.
Prohibited and Restricted Goods
Counterfeit coins or notes; swords, cutlasses, bayonets, daggers, knives with cutting edges of 30 cm or less in length (excluding knives for domestic use, agricultural use, or use in the meat industry) and other such dangerous weapons; profanity; pamphlets, posters, and other such works and articles that are provocative and immoral or indecent in nature.
Customs officials and police officers treat the search for drugs as a top priority. Drug smuggling calls for severe legal penalties.
Please take care if importing pets, livestock, seeds, plant bulbs, plants, trees, and so on, which require payment of customs duty and consumption tax. Quarantine restrictions are also imposed.
Import licenses are issued by the First Secretariat of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.
The official languages of Lesotho are Sesotho and English. Both languages are taught in all schools, and classroom instruction is in English from the 3rd year of primary school. Most of the people of Lesotho therefore speak English. (The people of Lesotho are referred to in the plural as Basotho and in the singular as Mosotho.)
The Sesotho language
How are you?
U phela joang?
Yes, thank you.
Ke phela hantle
Thank you.
Kea leboha
Tsamaea hantle
My name is _____.
Lebitso la ka ke
What is your name?
Lebitso la hau u mang?
Lesotho has engaged in road improvement over the past several years, and a splendid network of roads has been developed as a result. Roads connecting to the northern trunk road (the Main North 1) have been paved as part of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. This trunk road has also linked up with improved roads at Caledonspoort and Ficksburg on the South African side, realizing access to the Northern Highlands region. As another result of the ongoing road improvement program, the capital city Maseru and the Qacha's Nek district are connected by the paved southern trunk road (the Main South 1).
Border exit fee: Depending on vehicle weight, M5.00, M15.00, or M25.00
*1 M (maloti) = approximately 13 yen
(As of March 2008)
Driver's Licenses
Driver's licenses issued in most countries can be used in Lesotho for a six-month period. (This is limited to licenses that are either in English or accompanied by official translations into English.) International driver's licenses are also valid.
The capital city Maseru has hotels ranging from a five-star hotel with a casino and other international hotels to lodgings for backpackers. Every hotel offers easy access to shopping and restaurants.
The woven rush folk crafts, Basotho hats that symbolize Lesotho, woven mohair tapestries, and unglazed pots and dishes are famous.
Food and Drink
Although there are not many large, international restaurants, the local cuisine (Lesotho oxtail with steamed bread), T-bone steaks, and chicken dishes are recommended.
There are also numerous local beers, including Maluti beer, a pure beer containing no preservatives, and ginger beer. Mineral water with its source in the Maluti Mountains is a hard water with delicious flavor.
Drinking Water
You may drink the tap water without any problems, but the mineral water is recommended for drinking.
Cost of Living
The cost of living is about a quarter to one fifth of the level in Japan.
As in South Africa, tips of about 10% are customary for hotel and restaurant service, while tips of about 5M are appropriate for bellboys and porters.
Time Difference with Japan
The time is 7 hours earlier than Japan, and there is no time difference with South Africa.
There are three major commercial banks in Lesotho (First National Bank, Nedbank, and Standard Lesotho Bank). Currency exchange services are provided at their main branches in Maseru and at their ATMs in Saswitch.
Business hours:
* Monday-Friday: 08:30 to 15:30
* Saturday: 08:30 to 12:00 noon
Post Offices
Hours of operation:
Monday-Friday: 08:00 to 16:30
Saturday: 08:00 to 12:00 noon
Other Business Hours
Most shops are open from 08:00 in the morning to 18:00 in the afternoon Monday to Friday, and from 08:00 to 13:00 on Saturday and Sunday.
Government Offices
08:00 to 12:45
14:00 to 16:30
Tourist Information Office/Basotho Shield Tourist Information Center
Monday-Friday: 08:00 to 17:00 
Saturday: 08:30 to 16:30
To place a call from Lesotho to Japan
Dial 81 (the country code for Japan), the area code in Japan (leaving off the initial numeral 0), and the number of the party you are calling.
To place a call from Japan to Lesotho
Dial 266 (the Lesotho country code) and the number of the party you are calling.
The electric power supplied for consumer use is 220 V AC.
The standard unit of currency in Lesotho is the loti (of which the plural form is maloti). It has the same value as the rand of the Republic of South Africa, and the rand circulates in Lesotho the same way the loti does. Maloti are not used in South Africa, so they should be exchanged for rands before leaving Lesotho. 1M (maloti) = approx. 13 yen, and 1 loti = 100 sente. You can also use traveler's checks and credit cards. There is no limit on how much foreign currency can be brought into the country. It can only be exchanged, however, in the capital city of Maseru.
(As of March 2008)
Contact Information
Queen Elizabeth II Hospital
Maseru Private Hospital
Leribe Hospital
Paray Hospital (Thaba Tseka district)
Mohale Dam Private Hospital
Katse Dam Private Hospital
Mission Aviation Fellowship
South African Air Link
Maseru Tourist Information Office