Maseru is the capital of and largest city in Lesotho and is very close to 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-style shops).
Get in edit
By car edit
You can get into Maseru by car through the entry point from South Africa.
By bus edit
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, ☏ . Sometimes runs a Johannesburg to Maseru service. It's best to call them for up-to-date information.
- Local bus from Bloemfontein. At 06:00 daily a coach leaves from Bloemfontein's main bus station direct to the Maseru Bridge border in about 2 hours. If you miss this then numerous Toyota Hiaces will drop you halfway, where you can pick up a second Hiace to Maseru - this option takes from 3 to 5 hours depending on how long it takes for the Hiace to fill.
- Intercape. Drop off at Ladybrand, from where it's a 20-minute minibus journey to Maseru.
By taxi edit
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.
By plane edit
Moshoeshoe Airport is located 18 km from Maseru. South African Airways operates a couple of daily flights from Maseru to Johannesburg, which typically cost around M2,200. 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 ML100.
Mission Aviation flies from the smaller Moeshoeshoe I airport just off Airport Road, 2 km 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.
Get around edit
Google Maps now have very detailed maps of Maseru and Lesotho.
By taxi edit
The bus stop on Moeshoeshoe Rd is the main taxi station, but private cabs are available from the price of M50.
Public cabs travelling around the city cost M6.50 and they are available in stations around town.
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 kilometres 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 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 it's a fascinating place to see what African industrialisation looks like.
- Lesotho National Museum. A museum that holds traditional sculptures and a wide range of traditional art and historical artifacts devoted to Lesotho's history.
- 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. M400 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, +266 223 25166). Around M200 for an afternoon.
- Avani Lesotho Casino, ☏ .
- Hike up the Hill behind the casino. Behind the hotel is a rocky hill (where Chinese built the 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. If you are living and working in Maseru there are numerous options for day trips and weekend getaways. This is a few years old now but have a look here.
Supermarkets and food edit
- Pick n Pay, Pioneer Shopping Centre, Pioneer Road - 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.
- 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 push toys. 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 about M1,000 (they take the measurements from an existing suit rather than measure you).
- 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 M12-15 a box - very tasty and very filling.
- 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 Chin.a
- 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.
- Oh Lah Lah French Café, Cnr Kingsway & Pioneer Rd. French café and restaurant, serves simple but delicious, reliable and cheap food like Burgers and grilled meat, packed at lunchtime, open air seating under trees, on a busy corner in central Maseru
- Lancer's Inn, Kingsway - good food but slow service.
- Mohokare Restaurant, at Avani Maseru Hotel, has regional fare and is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- 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 week nights.
- 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 - it's next to the Sparrows bar and 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)
|This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:|
|Mid-range||M200 to M800|
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 accommodation options, the best of which is probably the Lesotho-Durham link.
- Lesotho - Durham Link (Maseru Backpackers), off the Agric / Old Airport Road, on the northern edge of the lake, ☏ . 3 km from the centre of Maseru you'd need to get a taxi or a combi down the old airport road, ask to go to the Agric College as your driver may not have heard of the place. Camping is also possible at M35 per night - only recommended for the summer months (October through May). 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, ☏ . Basic amenities, M120.
- Lesotho Work Camps Association, Kingsway (behind the Catholic cathedral on the roundabout at the top of Kingsway). Hot water and a small kitchen, although not so clean as the Anglican Training Centre. M120 per person per night.
- Mohokare Guest House, 260 Kofi Annan, New Europa, ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Tranquil modern, comfortable and safe accommodation, 3km from the city centre. Its a great place to stay without being expensive. Quote 'Kavi' when booking Single- M400, Double-M550.
- Boikhutsong Bed & Breakfast, 623 Tjobolo, Hillsview, ☏ . A 6-bedroom guesthouse in the Hillsview suburb - get a taxi or it's a 30 min walk.
- Foothills Guest House, 121 Maluti Road, Maseru West., ☏ , email@example.com. A short walk from town in the leafy Maseru West suburb (where the King and most of the Government live). A good alternative to the pricey hotels in town. Double from M450, single from M295.
- Lakeside Hotel, ☏ . Several miles out of town on Main North. Double room from M274, Single from M183.
- Mpilo Lodge, Maluti Road, Maseru West, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Doubles from M500, singles from M350.
- Victoria Hotel, Kingsway, ☏ . Often the business traveller's last resort when the other hotels are full. Adequate at best. Next to the red light area and the cinema. Double room from M600, Single from M540.
- Lancer's Inn, Kingsway, ☏ , fax: , email@example.com. Right in the centre of Maseru, just off Kingsway, this is a nice colonial style hotel, reasonable rooms, and also self-catered rondavels available. Lancer's tends to be used by business travellers, although King Letsie occasionally dines in the restaurant. Double rooms from M845, singles from M745.
- Avani Maseru Hotel, 12 Orpen Rd (20min uphill walk from the centre.), ☏ . Perched up high on a hill overlooking the city. Not one of the Avani hotel chain's flagship hotels but it is the most 'luxurious' hotel in the city, with a very nice swimming pool. As Lesotho's classiest hotel it hosts endless government workshops and is where foreign dignitaries stay when visiting for regional conferences. Refurbishment has been on the drawing board for ages but is always set to commence 'next year'. There is a casino on site, gym, small cinema and business facilities. $100 USD (Mar 2022).
- City Stay Maseru, New Parliament Dr (At the east end of the Kingsway bypass, near the turn off for the new Parliament building), ☏ . Formerly Queen Protea, it's a luxury hotel a little way out-of-town hence this is a better option if you have a car. All rooms are en suite and have Wi-Fi access. Double rooms from LM450.
Internet access edit
In Maseru, there are several internet cafes, although fairly cheap (usually LSL0.20-0.50 per min) they are pretty slow at best. The main internet cafés are:
- 999 Internet, Kingsway (opposite the Post Office). The best value in Maseru
- Leo Internet, (near the Basotho Hat)
- The Lesotho Sun, very expensive.
Mobile phones edit
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 SIM cards in each country you stay - a good way of staying connected. Most towns in Lesotho have cellphone coverage.
A guarded parking can be found at the corner of Pioneer Rd and Kingsway (enter from Pioneer Rd). Hourly rates.
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 M2.40.
Embassies and consulates edit
Go next edit
- 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!)