- Normal precautions
- High degree of caution
- Avoid non-essential travel
- Do not travel
- Safety and Security
- Local Laws and Customs
- Additional Information
- Embassy Contact
General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation:
Avoid non-essential travel until further notice:
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advises against all non-essential travel overseas until further notice. This includes Great Britain but does not apply to Northern Ireland. It also includes all travel by cruise ship.
If you are currently travelling outside of Ireland:
Flight restrictions and route cancellations are happening on a daily basis worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will continue to operate. For this reason, where commercial flights are still an option, we recommend that people who wish to do so make arrangements to return to Ireland as soon as possible.
We are working with airlines to show maximum flexibility to those passengers who need to change their existing flight arrangements. Where commercial flights are no longer available, we are working side-by-side with our international partners to identify alternative options where possible.
It may not be feasible or possible for everyone who wants to travel back to Ireland to do so in the short term. We ask Irish citizens remaining abroad to make decisions that safeguard their health and well-being and that they follow local public health and safety requirements. We ask that they remain in close contact with family, friends and their local Irish Embassy or Consulate.
We know that this is a stressful situation for citizens and our embassy network is working around the clock to provide people with all the information and assistance that we can, bearing in mind the situation is unfolding across multiple countries and is not one under our control.
What to do on entering Ireland from abroad:
The Irish Health Authorities require anyone coming into Ireland, apart from Northern Ireland, to restrict their movements on arrival for 14 days. Check the Irish Health Service COVID-19 Advice Page for full information on these requirements. This includes Irish residents. Exemptions are in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff.
Where to go for more information:
We continue to make updates to our online travel advice for over 200 countries and recommend that you download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. If abroad you should register with your local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and especially their Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.
Avoid non-essential travel
Cases of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) have been reported in many countries worldwide. Please see the Health tab for further details.
There was an attempted coup in Lesotho in August 2014 and the security situation in the following months was unpredictable and tense. Notwithstanding the holding of peaceful elections in February and the formation of a new government in March 2015, the political and security situations remain tense. The killing of a former army commander in late June 2015 has further increased tension in the country.
Irish citizens resident in or visiting Lesotho are advised to limit their movements at this time and to take particular care if it is necessary for you to travel after dark or outside the capital Maseru.
You should monitor the local media for new information on any potential security risks and follow the instruction issued by the local authorities. You should also avoid all demonstrations, protests and public gatherings.
Because there is no Irish Embassy in Lesotho, we’re limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency. However, if you need assistance, you can contact the Honorary Consulate in Maseru or the Irish Embassy in Pretoria.
EU Directive on Consular Protection
Under the EU Consular Protection Directive, Irish nationals may seek assistance from the Embassy or Consulate of any other EU member state in a country where there is no Irish Embassy or permanent representation.
Our tips for safe travels
- Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities
- Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
- Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency
- Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates
- Read our Topical ‘Know Before You Go’ guide
Safety and Security
Safety and Security
Safety and security
Lesotho's national general elections in February 2015 and the subsequent formation of a coalition government seem to have calmed the previously volatile political situation that followed an attempted coup in August 2014. However, you should remain alert. There are occasionally spontaneous political demonstrations in Maseru and it's advisable to avoid demonstrations, rallies and large public gatherings as a precaution.
Although the threat from terrorism in Lesotho is low, there is still a global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by tourists and expatriates.
Crime remains relatively low in Lesotho but you should take sensible precautions:
- Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
- Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
- Avoid showing large sums of money in public and don’t use ATMs after dark, especially if you’re alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business.
- Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, and arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible.
- Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafés, train and bus stations.
- Do not walk around Maseru after dark and avoid driving in rural areas at night.
- Keep doors locked, windows shut and valuables out of sight when driving in urban centres, especially Maseru.
Muggers in central Maseru sometimes target foreign nationals. We advise you to avoid walking alone in isolated areas or after dark and driving in rural areas at night. Only carry essentials with you and keep valuables out of sight.
Theft from vehicles
When driving in urban centres, especially Maseru, keep doors locked, windows shut and valuables out of sight. Park in well-lit areas and don’t pick up strangers. Take care at the approaches to main border crossings, particularly at night. Armed car hijacking is also increasing.
There have been recent incidences of armed attacks on pedestrians. If you have no alternative but to walk around Maseru, avoid taking the same route repeatedly and be vigilant. If you are attacked, or your car is hijacked, don’t resist.
There is a public transport/taxi service in Lesotho but safety cannot be guaranteed. We recommend you take telephone taxis. Always confirm the fare in advance and never take a lift from a stranger.
If you’re a victim of a crime while in Lesotho, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at our Irish Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa if you need help.
If you’re planning to drive in Lesotho, you should be extremely careful as road safety standards are poor.
If you want to drive:
- Bring your international driving license and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance – after three months, you must get a local driving licence
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught
- Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights
- Watch out for animals roaming on the roads, especially at night
- Local mini-bus taxis are often poorly maintained and uninsured, and ignore road safety rules
If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).
Local Laws and Customs
Local Laws and Customs
Local laws and customs
Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.
Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms.
Please be aware that Lesotho lacks good medical facilities.
Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Be alert to common signs of infection: respiratory problems, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Seek medical advice if you experience these symptoms.
HSE medical advice to protect yourself from getting COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is below.
• wash your hands properly and regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub
• cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze
• put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands
• touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
Check with your doctor well in advance of travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for Lesotho.
Additional information on COVID-19 can be found via the following links:
HIV and AIDS
There is a high incidence of HIV and AIDS in Lesotho so you should exercise necessary caution if engaging in activities that expose you to possible infection.
Get travel and medical insurance
Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.
Check what vaccinations you may need for your trip at least eight weeks before you travel. We can’t advise you on vaccinations, but you can get information about vaccinations from your local GP or an International Health and Travel Centre.
Evidence of vaccination (in the form of a certificate) can be a requirement for entry to some countries.
Make sure you bring enough medication for your entire trip and for any unexpected delays. You may wish to also bring copies of your prescription in case you lose your medication.
Your passport must be valid for a minimum period of 90 days from the date of exit from Lesotho. You must have at least two spare pages to allow the immigration authorities to affix visa stamps.
It’s advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you when travelling to Lesotho and you should carry a photocopy of your passport at all times during your stay.
If your passport is lost or stolen while you’re abroad, we can help.
What we can do:
- Issue you a replacement passport that will let you finish your trip, or;
- Issue you with an emergency travel document to get you home.
We’ll do our best to help you as quickly as possible but this can take some time. Your location and circumstances may limit the help we can give you. As Ireland does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Lesotho there may be additional complications in processing and application for a new passport.
You should contact our Irish Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa to find out what you need to do to apply for a passport. They will also be able to advise you on the fees which apply.
South Africa entry requirements
If you intend to visit South Africa before or after Lesotho you should be aware that whilst South African authorities state officially that only one blank passport page is required for entry, there have been reports of some South African officials insisting on two blank pages.
You should take traveller's cheques or South African Rand in cash, which circulates as an official currency in Lesotho along with the Maloti (local currency). Maloti are not generally accepted in South Africa.
Some of ATMs in Lesotho have the facility to accept international ATM cards (First National Bank, Nedbank and Standard Bank). Credit cards are widely accepted (Visa/Master cards) in most stores and restaurants in Maseru. However, you may find places in the rural areas that do not accept these cards.
Maseru and the surrounding lowlands often reach 30⁰C in summer.
Winters can be cold with lowlands getting down to -7⁰C and the highlands could be as low as -18⁰C at times. Snow is common in the highlands between May and September. Take note of weather forecasts before travelling in the highlands during these months.
Lesotho’s varied climate brings different forms of drought, floods, heavy snowfalls and any other forms of weather-related hazards. At the moment, about three-quarters of all the country’s natural disasters are related to weather, climate and water and their extremes.
Ireland doesn’t have an Embassy or Consulate in Lesotho so we can’t verify detailed travel advice to ensure that it’s accurate, appropriate and up to date. However, we encourage you to conduct your own research and to read these links to travel advice from other foreign ministries:
- UK: Foreign and Commonwealth Office
- Canada: Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
- New Zealand: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
- Australia: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
- USA: Department of State
We do not have an Embassy in Lesotho, please contact Embassy of Ireland South Africa on +27 12 452 1000
Embassy of Ireland
Brooklyn Bridge Office Park
570 Fehrsen Street
Monday to Friday 08:30 - 13:00
Honorary Consulate Contact
Ms. Mannete Malethole Ramaili
Main South 1 Road
P.O. Box 7159
Tel: + 266 223 24182