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The Capital of Lesotho, Maseru is generally the first stop for most visitors. The City is being reconstructed after some of the shopping areas were burnt in 1998 and several other developments are taking place.
Maseru is the major gateway for travellers coming by air, and for drivers coming from Johannesburg and Bloemfontein, but it is also a pleasant base from which tourists can explore the Western and Northern attractions of Lesotho.
Maseru is a young but growing city. The site was first
occupied as an administrative post by the British in 1869, and grew slowly from then. Many
old buildings from early in the century can still be seen. Recent years have seen a
greater degree of growth and modernisation and central Maseru is becoming dilapidated.
The road on the right just before it (facing away from the
border), Orpen Road, leads down to the Maseru Sun Cabanas. Across the road from the Hat
are the offices of Lesotho Airways and a few doors up, the Lesotho
Tourist Board. They have information on various aspects of the country as well as some
beautiful posters at good prices. A little further up on the right side of the road is the
OK Bazaars supermarket, then the Lancer's Inn Hotel and bakery and then the Post Office.
Opposite the post office is the Department of Immigration.
The Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Victories is an imposing colonial style structure on the main entry into the City, and well worth a visit. Just away from the City centre, the Papal Pavilion is a memento of the Popes visit to our Kingdom.
In recent years, promotion of the use of local stone (Maluti sandstone) for modern buildings has resulted in some very pleasing new buildings that blend well with the dramatic Lesotho scenery.
The weaving centres, such as Thorkild Hand Weaving and Moteng Weavers, provide great opportunities for visitors to buy high-quality and well-designed traditional Lesotho products.
Lancers Gap, on the road north from Maseru, offers fine views of the City and the Caledon Valley, and is the site of a famous battle in 1852 when Basotho warriors under Moshoeshoe ls son Molapo defeated the 12th Royal Lancers under Lt. General Sir George Cathcart who were on a punitive expedition.
It is even more in the surrounding countryside than in the City itself that the visitor will find so much of interest to make a memorable visit to Lesotho. Maseru, with its fine hotels, is an ideal base from which to explore the western regions of Lesotho, with their history and culture, craft centres, and with a countryside that changes with the seasons.
In the springtime, billowing clouds of peach blossom in the nearby orchards provide a wonderful opportunity to explore our famous Peach Blossom route, either by car or on pony.
Roma Our National University is sited in a very scenic valley at Roma, 35km from the capital, and is an interesting point for a short excursion from Maseru. This has always been an educational centre, and is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Mission that was founded in 1862.
Thaba Bosiu is not far from Maseru and is a well worthwhile excursion. Buses and taxis run to the tourist office at the base of the mountain from the southern bus rank in Maseru. Guides are available at the tourist office. The senior guide is a direct descendant of Moshoeshoe the Great and has a wealth of knowledge and stories about the place. He makes history come alive. It is not too stiff a climb to the top, where ruins of Moshoeshoe's village remain, and the royal graveyard, is also located on the summit. Views are lovely, and just nearby is Qiloane, a strangely formed mountain, the shape of which is supposed to have inspired the old Basotho hat building in Maseru.
Morija is a small town about 40 km south of Maseru. It is well worth a stay, but can also be visited as a day trip from Maseru. The only museum in Lesotho is located here. The museum has a lovely tea garden overlooking the surrounding hills and pony trekking day trips can also be done from here.
Lesotho may not have Vegas-style nightlife, but when the sun goes down the fun does not stop. In Maseru there are two casinos, and gamblers can enjoy blackjack and roulette, as well as slots.
In Maseru and other towns in Lesotho, visitors will find a wide range of excellent restaurants. Fine dining experiences range from Chinese and Indian to Continental and tasty Southern Africa fare. In the warmer months, many people will also enjoy a braai the Southern Africa barbecue.
In Maseru, visitors will find a cinema, and most hotels provide television that feature Lesotho Television, South African channels and satellite links. And dont forget that our friendly bars are welcoming and informal. A drink with friends under the starlit sky in summer, or round a cosy log fire in the winter, is a great way to finish off the day.
By air: Through Maseru International
Airport, 40km away from the City centre.
Internal flights: Mission Aviation fly once or twice a
week from Maseru to Mokhotlong, Thaba Tseka and Katse .
Shops Monday to Friday 0800 - 1100
Government Offices Monday to Friday 0800 - 1245 1400 - 1630
Banks Monday to Friday (exc. Wednesday) 0830 - 1530