Are there any special requirements for driving or hiring a car in Lesotho?
Lesotho is a beautiful, land-locked country almost all at high altitude. Driving is a feast for the senses but it's best to take a 4 x 4 in the rural areas for sudden rain can turn the roads into mudbaths.
Seat Belt Laws
Seat belt laws in Lesotho insist that everyone in a moving vehicle is wearing one. You will be fined if you don’t.
Drinking and Driving
The drink driving laws in Lesotho are the same as in the UK. You must have no more than 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood and there are regular police patrols throughout the year to catch motorists who break the law.
Must Have Documents
There’s quite a range of documentation required:
• Valid passport
• Original vehicle registration document
• Owner’s written authority if not the driver
• Authority from the finance company if the car is secured against a debt
The speed limits for Lesotho are as follows:
Open roads 80 km/h
Highways: 100 km/h
In Town: 50 km/h
Minimum Driving Age
You have to be at least 18 to be able to drive in Lesotho. If you're renting a car the minimum age is 21. If you’re less than 25 years’ old you’re likely to have to pay a premium for your lack of experience and age.
Safety Camera Warning Devices
Detectors for safety cameras are not illegal in Lesotho but we recommend that given the state of the roads you stick to the speed limits.
On the Spot Fines
If you are stopped by the police, do not be tempted to offer to pay a bribe. You’ll find that sometimes you are asked to pay cash when stopped. If you can safely refuse, do so as it prolongs the campaign to stamp out corruption. You should be given a ticket detailing the offence and how to pay the fine indicated.
Child Safety Rules
In Lesotho, there are no specific laws for the protection of children so it is up to you to ensure they are kept safe. We will fit internationally approved restraint systems for your hire car if you advise us in advance.
You will need to have third part insurance for driving in Lesotho and the police may expect you to be able to prove it if you are stopped and asked for documents.
Rules of the Road
Standard international driving laws apply with one or two exceptions.
• In Lesotho you’ll drive on the left
• Many roads are compacted dirt which are fine in the dry season but will require a 4 x 4 in the rainy season.
• Watch out for people stepping out into the road without looking
There are no specific regulations for towing but make sure you can see clearly and that the vehicle is securely attached.
There are no fixed speed cameras in Lesotho and mobile speed traps are rare, usually only used after a speed related accident in that area. People generally drive sensibly and in accordance with road conditions although there are plenty that take advantage of the lax police control on speed!
Using Mobile Phones when driving
Whilst many drivers can be seen on their phones whilst travelling around, it is illegal to do so without a hands free kit.
Thefts from cars is prevalent in Lesotho so you should try to park somewhere visible and at night, well lit. If possible, use attended parking lots.
You’ll find plenty of free parking but Lesotho is a country where it’s sensible to pay the small parking fees and know that your car and you will be safe. There are attended garages and lots in the main cities, elsewhere just use common sense and park as close as you can to your destination.
Enforcement of parking is rarely done and so you are unlikely to get a ticket for parking except if you seriously overstay your time in a parking garage.
There is little in the way of concessions for disabled drivers but most people are friendly and helpful and will try to find you a more convenient place to park.
Motor Way Signs
The motorways in Lesotho are called highways and are long distance routes across the country, the main one being the A3. Motorway signs are green with white writing.
Lesotho speaks two official languages; Sesotho and English. All signs are in English and everyone speaks the language too!
You won’t find many traffic lights in Lesotho and they’ll be in the main cities. The ones you do encounter follow the internationally recognised sequences and so there should be no confusion.
There are several toll roads in Lesotho, all of them being the main fast highways. Tolls are not expensive but they allow you to use faster and safer stretches of road.
The emergency number in Lesotho is 123 for the police, 122 for the fire service and 121 for the ambulance.
What to do in an emergency
If travelling away from the main roads in Lesotho you should ensure you have a means of communication, plenty of water and spare fuel. If you break down, rescue can be some time away. You should ensure that you have contact numbers of a rescue organisation with you or use the number given to you by your hire car agent in Lesotho.
In the event of an accident you will often find that if there is simply damage to the vehicles, the matter will be sorted out in cash on the spot. If someone has been injured or the damage is severe then you’ll need to exchange insurance details and call the police and medical services as appropriate. If possible, don’t move the vehicles but if they have to be moved for safety reasons, take a photograph of the scene.
As of October 2014, the average price of 95 octane unleaded petrol in Lesotho is 70p whilst diesel is 58p. Prices can vary between the towns and the smaller villages.