Lesotho Driving Advice and Car Hire Info
Driving In Lesotho
Lesotho drives on the left, with right-hand drive vehicles. Although the number of paved roads is gradually increasing, the majority of Lesotho’s 5,000 miles of roads are unpaved. The Chinese and Italians are investing heavily in the country though, so expect this to change in future years. In November 2013 I drove up the Eastern flank of the country from Sani Top via Makhotlong, and Buthe Buthe to exit the country at the Caledonspoort and much of the road was being improved at this time. In future years we may even see asphalt all the way from Makhotlong to Sani Top which would detract from the experience of driving Sani Pass and through the country. For now though, its still mostly gravel roads.
Lesotho’s mountainous terrain makes driving on secondary roads hazardous. Unpaved roads in the interior, often narrow, twisty and steep, are poorly maintained and will deteriorate badly in winter. For travel in the interior, especially in wet or snowy weather, a high clearance or 4X4 vehicle is recommended and even then expect frequent road closures at high altitude. The roads are generally quiet away from the capital with the biggest hazards coming from wandering animals which are a constant feature. Driving after dark is dangerous due to the absence of street lighting and livestock on the roads. Crime, including isolated incidents of carjacking, isn’t unheard of in Maseru. When driving in Maseru, keep doors locked, windows shut and valuables out of sight.
Driving into Lesotho from South Africa via the Sani Pass is one of the worlds great drives, but a 4×4 is required . The SA Border post will insist on this- you won’t be alloed to pass in a non 4X4, though the Lesotho border guards seem less strict. Personally I wouldn’t advise doing the downward trip in a normal car. I undertook the drive in November 2013 and it was an amazing experience with some fantastic views and challenging, but not dangerous if approached with caution, roads. See Roadtrip Tale covering this and driving in Eastern Lesotho.
Also see videos on my YouTube page-
This is a local broker website-
This company can arrange self drive safaris throughout Southern African countries including South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland & Lesotho
Lesotho Self Drive Rules
Most companies will allow the car to be driven to South Africa and Botswana but you should check this when you make your reservation . You will have more difficulty taking vehicles into angola, or Malawi but this may be possible depending on the company.