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High Commission of the Kingdom of Lesotho

1820-130 Albert Street
Ottawa, ON K1P 5G4
Canada
Tel: + 1-613-234-0770
Fax: +1-613-234-5665
 

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LESOTHO FACT SHEET

 

OFFICIAL NAME Kingdom of Lesotho
SHORT FORM Lesotho (formerly known as Basutoland)
CAPITAL Maseru
ADMINISTRATIVE DISTRICTS Berea, Butha-Buthe, Leribe, Mafeteng, Maseru, Mohale’sHoek, Mokhotlong, Qacha’s Nek, Quthing, Thaba Tseka
NATIONAL MOTTO Khotso, Pula, Nala (Peace, Rain and Prosperity)
AREA 30,355 sq.km (11,718 sq.mi.) about the size of Belgium
LOCATION Situated between latitudes 28º and 31º South and Longitudes 27º and 30º East
TOPOGRAPHY Highveld, plateau and mountains
ALTITUDE Ranges from 1388 to 3 400 metres above sea level
TIME ZONE Central African Time = GMT+2
CLIMATE Temperate; hot summers (about 32 Cº/ Fº 90) and cool to cold winter-snowfall in the highlands (about –7 Cº/ Fº20)
POPULATION 2.2million (2004 estimates)
NATIONALITY Mosotho (singular) Basotho (plural)
OFFICIAL LANGUAGES English and Sesotho
RELIGIONS Predominantly Christian comprised of Roman Catholic, Anglican, Evangelical, and other denominations. Indigenous believes are still widely practiced.
TYPE OF GOVERNMENT Parliamentary Constitutional Monarchy
HEAD OF STATE His Majesty King Letsie III
HEAD OF GOVERNMENT The Right Honourable the Prime Minister, Dr. Thomas Motsoahae Thabane
LEGISLATIVE Bicameral parliament, Senate (33 members) National Assembly (120 members)
ELECTION MODEL Mixed Member Proportional
JUDICIAL Customary Courts, Magistrate’s Court, High Court, and Court of Appeal
SUFFRAGE 18 years
MAIN EXPORTS Labour and water to the Republic of South Africa, textiles, footwear, to the United States, European Union and Canada, wool and mohair products
MAIN IMPORTS Automobiles, Machinery, Building Material, Fuel, Medicine, corn and other foodstuffs
AGRICULTURE Mostly subsistence farming; corn, wheat, sorghum, barley, beans, peas, potatoes, pumpkins, vegetables, fruit trees,
LIVESTOCK Cattle, sheep, goats, (wool and mohair) horses and donkeys
CURRENCY Loti (singular), Maloti (Plural) the currency is pegged at par with the South African Rand (ZAR).
MEASUREMENT Metric System
VOLTAGE 220 – 240 volts
DIALLING CODE International access code +266
 



USEFUL INFORMATION


DISTANCE TABLE

The Moshoeshoe I International Airport in Maseru connects Lesotho to the world through daily one hour flights to Johannesburg, South Africa,

The Highest quality asphalt roads connect Lesotho and the capital Maseru to various main centres in the southern African region:
 

Maseru to Durban (South Africa)

600 km

Maseru to East London (South Africa)

583 km

Maseru to Port Elizabeth (South Africa)

738 km

Maseru to Cape Town

1 165 km

Maseru to Johannesburg

455 km

Maseru to Gaborone (Botswana)

630 km

Maseru to Mbabane (Swaziland)

635 km



CUSTOMS REGULATIONS

All goods brought into Lesotho are subject to customs control and baggage may be subject to examination. Visitors from the Southern African Customs Union (Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland) are not permitted to bring liquor into Lesotho. The following items are quantities to a total value not exceeding M500.00 per person are allowed under rebate duty: one litre each of wine, spirits or any other alcoholic beverage, 400 cigarettes or 50 cigars, 300ml perfume. Domestic pets, livestock, seeds, bulbs, plants and trees may not be imported without payment of customs duty and are subject to quarantine restrictions. Permits may be obtained from:

The Principal Secretary
Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security
P.O. Box 24
Maseru 100
LESOTHO




CURRENCY and BANKING

Lesotho’s standard unit of currency is the loti (plural Maloti, symbol M), which is equivalent to the South African rand and is divided into 100 lisente (singular sente, symbol s). Notes comprise M200, M100, M50, M20 and M10, coins comprise M5, M2, 50s, 20s, 10s and 5s. Travellers; cheques and most credit cards may be used in Lesotho. There are no restrictions on the amount of money tourists may bring into the country. Lesotho’s three commercial banks, comprising Standard Lesotho Bank, Nedbank and First National Bank, offer currency exchange services in their main Maseru branches.

Banks are open Mondays to Fridays from 08;30am to 03:30pm and on Saturdays from 08:30am to 12:00noon. Most retail stores are open Mondays to Fridays from 08:00am to 06:00pm as well as on Saturdays and Sundays from 09:00am to 01:00pm.

 

 © Lesotho High Commission in Canada- 2010

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