Maseru is the capital of and largest city in Lesotho. It is situated on 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 shops).
You can get into Maseru by car through the entry point from South Africa.
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, ☎ +27 (0)18 462-1000, . sometimes run a Johannesburg to Maseru service. Its best to call them for up-to-date information.
- Local bus from Bloemfontein. At 6am 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 half way, 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 its a 20 minute minibus to Maseru.
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.
Moshoeshoe Airport is located 18km from Maseru. South African Airways  operates a couple of daily flights from Maseru to Johannesburg, which typically cost around M2200. 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 100.
Mission Aviation  flies from the smaller Moeshoeshoe I airport just off Airport Road, 2km 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.
A map of central Maseru can be found here . Google Maps now have very detailed maps of Maseru and Lesotho.
The bus stop on Moeshoeshoe Rd is the main taxi station,but private cabs are available from the price of M20.
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 Basotho Hat. Probably Maseru's most iconic building, in the shape of the ubiquitous national symbol. Unmissable at the entrance to town, at the intersection of Kingsway and Mpilo Boulevard/Kingsway Bypass. Inside is a gift shop selling a (regrettably small) selection of items made in Lesotho; there are also plenty of generic 'African' carvings, baskets, and beads on offer. Unfortunately, the Mokorotlo - the traditional hut built in a modern sophisticated style which served as a virtual cultural museum, and which sat in front of the Basotho Hat - burned down some years ago.
- Thetsane is worth having a wander around on a weekday - two kilometers 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 Kmart, 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 its a facinating place to see what African 'industrialisation' looks like.
- For an impressive vista over Maseru, drive or take a minibus taxi up Lancer's Gap. After reaching the top of the plateau, turn either right or left and wander about until you find a good place to sit and relax. Especially recommended for picnics and sunset views.
- 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. M215 per month membership, also daily and weekly membership available.
- Lesotho National Tennis Courts Kingsway bypass (across from the prison), functional and cheap tennis courts, tuition available.
- Maseru Golf Course, play a round with some alcoholic expats, and the King on occasion.
- 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 22325166). Around M200 for an afternoon.
- Join the Hash The Maseru Hash House Harriers is a good way of meeting expats, get some exercise, and see some more off-the-beaten-path parts of Maseru. . It is quite tame, with the traditional drinking games kept to a minimum.
- Hike up the Hill behind the Lesotho Sun. Behind the hotel is a rocky hill (where they are now building the new Chinese funded 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 & Food
- Pick'n'Pay, Pioneer Shopping Centre, Pioneer Road - Very 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.
- Fruit & Veg City, Kingsway (Cathedral end) better fruit and veg than shoprite, also has a very random 'Italian deli' section selling very expensive pasta and Italian wine.
- Bensons Quality Fresh Meats, Main North road - very good (South African run) butchers. Original owners have sold this business to run Pick'n'Pay. They deliver too. +266 22321479
- 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 M1000ish (they take the measurements from an existing suit rather than measure you)
- Lesotho Cellphone Services, 10 Lioli Rd. Industrial Area - a cheaper place to purchase white goods and electrical items than the furniture shops along Kingsway
- For electronics On Kingsways, also just opposite Fruit & Veg there is a large and surprisingly well-furnished shop selling computers and accessories, mobile phones and accessories, cables, etc., at decent prices.
- 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 out of sidewalk stalls or the boots of their cars to the office workers in town for around M25-M30 a box - very tasty and very filling
- Mediterranea Pizza, (just off Pioneer Rd, near OK supermarket) - good fresh pizza, by far the best coffee in town, great atmospheric music.
- Mimmo's Italian Deli, United Nations Rd (New Europa) - nice decor, variable food, including very garlicy pizzas and pasta dishes. Service is pretty bad but this is Lesotho.
- Galito's, Moeshoeshoe Rd (Industrial Area) - there used to be a Nando's here; the name has changed but the product is much the same. Good chicken and chips, 'Portuguese' style (go to Piri Piri if you want the real version!). Can get busy at lunchtimes and evenings, a trendy eatery for Maseru's emerging middle class.
- KFC, Kingsway (by Fruits and Veg), Main North 1 road across from Lesotho High School, in Maseru Mall parking lot - standard fast food chicken
- New Asia, Kingsway (behind Victoria Hotel) - good Chinese restaurant - access from the carpark behind Victoria Hotel
- Peace Restaurant, Moeshoeshoe Rd (just down from Galito'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 China
- Good Times Cafe, LNDC Centre, Kingsway (above the Vodacom shop) - one of the only nightspots in Maseru (certainly the most mainstream/visible one) 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.
- Solomon's Ground, below the post office at the corner of Constitution Road, this restaurant offers decent Italian food and on Thursdays offers an Ethiopian buffet.
- Lancer's Inn, Kingsway - good food but slow service.
- Lesotho Sun, Nightingale Rd - a Chinese restaurant, and a grill restaurant, both quite average for the price (expensive) but if you are after a nice steak then it's more convenient than a trip to Ladybrand. There's a gluttonous all you can eat buffet on Sundays at lunchtime with loads of food. Doors open at 12.30 but it soon packs out as post-church middle-class Basotho families stuff themselves. Get there early if you want to get your nose in the trough! M120 per person.
- Maseru Sun Cabanas, runs the same Sunday lunch buffet food-fest as the Lesotho Sun. I disagree with this post - Cabanas "buffet" grill is much better than at the Lesotho Sun (even though they are both part of the Sun International Group) and has a much wider choice. Top tip - there is usually bread and butter pudding on the desert table which is better than your mum OR Gran ever made. Weird eh?
- Regal Restaurant, Kingsway (part of the Basotho Hat complex) - the only non-hotel, non-Chinese restaurant that offers a pleasant dining experience - good (British-style) Indian food, appealing interior and good service. Expensive though and service is average at best.
- Ocean Basket, South African chain serving seafood and sushi.
- Piri Piri, on Orpen Road just before entrance to Maseru Sun Hotel. Delicious and very spicy Portuguese/Mozambican food in a lovely atmosphere.
- Cafe 72, MGC Building at the foot of Parliament Hill. Best cocktail drinks ever. Nice salads, steaks and sandwiches, although invariably someone will try to order something that is out of stock that day. Average service but quite an upmarket ambiance for Maseru.
- 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 weeknights.
- 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 - its next to the Sparrows bar / 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:
|| Under M250
|| M250 to M500
|| Over M500
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 accomodation options, the best of which is probably the Lesotho-Durham link. Many of the budget options fill up quickly, however, so if possible it is advisable to book in advance.
- Lesotho - Durham Link, off the Agric / Old Airport Road, on the northern edge of the lake, ☎ +266 22325166, . 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). M160 per person (dormitory).
- Lesotho Work Camps Association, 22 Cathedral Area, Main North 1 (A few minutes walk from the Cathedral). 24 bed Dorm M50 per person per night. They have only dorms. Male, female separated. If you pay for the annual membership costs M50, then you pay M30 per night. So if you plan to stay in Maseru for more than 3 nights, it will be cheaper to pay the membership. There is a small kitchen. Good location. 2 min to the Cathedral, 3 min to the Chinese market, 5 min to Shop Rite and Taxi Rand. Dorm rooms are clean enough for the price, but the shower room is really dingy and squalid. And there is only ONE shower for everybody! Though the dorms never get full. I can recommend only if you really need a cheap place to stay in Maseru. (Apr. 2014)
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, ☎ +266 2232 2046. Basic amenities, rude staff, overrun with cockroaches. Not recommended. 130 LSL per night per person.
- Maseru Backpackers, near the air squadron and air field (slightly out of town but pleasant), ☎ (+266) 22325166, . Hot water and kitchens. M160 per person per night.
- Mohokare Guest House, 260 Kofi Annan, New Europa, ☎ +266 2231 4442 ([email protected], fax: +266 2231 4445), . 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- R400, Double-R550.
- Black Swan, New Europa, ☎ +266 22 317 700, . Comfortable guesthouse 2km from downtown. Internet. Nice breakfasts.
- Seilatsatsi B&B, Main North road (5km from the city centre), ☎ +266 223 32317, +266 588 52284, . Good option if you are driving. Nice garden, professional management. R350 single, R450 double B&B.
- Boikhutsong Bed & Breakfast, 623 Tjobolo, Hillsview, ☎ +266 63059190. A 6 bedroom guesthouse in the Hillsview suburb - get a taxi or its a 30 minute walk.
- Lakeside Hotel, ☎ 22313646. Not a good choice for the tourist as the hotel is miles out of town on Main North Double room from M274.00, Single from M183.00.
- Mpilo Lodge, Maluti Road, Maseru West, ☎ 22317800 ([email protected]). Doubles from M500.00, singles from M350.00.
- Victoria Hotel, Kingsway, ☎ 22313687. Often the business travelers last resort when the other hotels are full. Adequate at best. Next to the red light area and the cinema. Double room from M600.00, Single from M540.00.
- Lancer's Inn, Kingsway, ☎ 22312114 ([email protected], fax: 22310223). 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 M845.00, singles from M745.00.
- Lesotho Sun (now the AVANI Lesotho Hotel & Casino), (20min uphill walk from the centre.), ☎ 22313111, . Perched up high on a hill overlooking the city. Not one of the Sun 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. Double rooms from M862, singles from M762.00..
- Maseru Sun Cabanas, Old Europa, ☎ 22312434. Much the same as the Lesotho Sun but has a larger pool. No need to go anywhere to get food because there is a restaurant by the pool site that serves delicious food (both western and traditional) Double rooms from M862, singles from M762.00.
- Queen Proteas, New Parliament Drive (At the east end of the Kingsway bypass, near the turn off for the new Parliament building), ☎ +266-22315215, 58079472. checkin: 18.05.13; checkout: 25.05.13. Opened in late 2009. 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 wifi access. single room.
The Pioneer Mall has free WiFi, and it's actually quite fast (500kb/s if you're lucky). The best reception is near Rendezvous Cafe and Spur. The mall is generally open until 10pm, and is a quick walk from town.
Vodacom also offers 20 min. of free WiFi per day. There is a store on Kingsway, and another in Pioneer Mall.
In Maseru, there are several internet cafes, although fairly cheap (usually 0.20-0.50 ZAR per min) they are pretty slow at best. The main internet cafes are:
- 999 Internet, Kingsway (opposite the Post Office). The best value in Maseru
- Leo Internet, (near the Basotho Hat)
- The Lesotho Sun, very expensive.
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.
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 2.40LSL.
Embassies and Consulates
- United States, 254 Kingsway Ave, ☎ +266 2231-2666 ext 4124 ([email protected]), . Tu 8AM-noon, 2PM-4PM, F 8AM-noon.
- Teyateyaneng - or 'TY', for short, has a reputation as the national centre for arts and crafts. Check out the weaving workshops where you watch women create gorgeous tapestries and rugs; look for signs as you enter on the Main North road or leave on the road towards Leribe
- Leribe - town in the north of the country, known for dinosaur footprints and not far from Tsehlanyane National Park and Bokong Nature Reserve.
- Semonkong - pony trekking in the Highlands and abseiling down the impressive Maletsunyane Falls
- Malealea - pony trekking in the Highlands from the large lodge
- Thaba Bosiu - historic mountain fortress of King Moshoeshoe I, father of the Basotho nation. Arguably the country's most important historical and cultural site.
- Morija - another critical historical location, the settlement of several early missionaries and traditional centre of education in Lesotho. A visit to the Morija Museum is an excellent introduction to Basotho history and good context before or after visiting Thaba Bosiu.
In South Africa:
- Ladybrand - the closest town across the border. As Maseru has developed, Ladybrand has become less important. Still, a nice place to come for a change of scene, a massage at Cranberry Cottage, or brunch at Living Life cafe.
- Bloemfontein - used to be the nearest cinema. Now Lesotho has its own (in Pioneer Mall; half-price tix on Tuesdays!). However Bloemfontein still proves useful for the Maseru resident when you require a) advanced/specialist medical care, b) an airport with commercial flights to more than 1 destination (sorry, Moshoeshoe I International Airport), or c) a Woolworth's food market.
|This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!