BY REGULAR TAXI:
Regular taxis (you phone, they pick you up) and 4+1s — have a yellow stripe down the side and squeeze in 4 passengers. Always check the cost of a taxi before you get in.
Phone +266 627 45199 for Khosana at Comfort Taxis Phone +266 631 66000 for Perfect taxis – well run and partly owned by an English Ex-pat Phone +266 584 01360 for a local guy who has a good car and is extremely reliable. Call him Tom Taxi and he will know that you are legitimate and that you know the right fares.
BY MINIBUS TAXI:
As with most of Africa the minibus ‘taxi’ (aka combi or Toyota Hiace) is the transport of the people.
Be sure you are clear on where the minibus is going (there should be a sign in the front windscreen), you’ll be asked for money after a minute or two, with money being passed down the minibus. Try to get the front seat by the driver for more leg room. Prices are fixed by the government. There is a risk of overcharging foreigners — ask the other passengers if you are not sure of the price. Be warned, the reason the Minibus taxis are so cheap is because of the way they fit so many people in. Don’t be surprised to see kids sitting on laps four or five high, or to be told to have large amounts of luggage on your lap or wedged in around you. The Minibus taxis tend to be poorly maintained and are not insured. However, very few accidents involving taxis occur.
Intercity travel by taxi will cost no more than M50 (maloti) for a single way ticket, and inner city minibus taxi rides will cost you around M2.50 (4+1s will cost you M20 for the whole car, no matter how many are with you, provided its within a city).
Always check the cost of a taxi before you get in.
Finding a taxi:
Upon arrival in one of the main towns, you will notice that all the minibuses are hooting their horns, which is to signal that they have space for more passengers. To flag one down, just wave to a taxi as it approaches, the conductor (who will be leaning out of the window on the kerbside of the van) will usually be shouting the destination of the taxi. If you are not sure it will be going where you want to go, ask before you get on!
In Maseru, there is a place called Setopong on Moeshoeshoe Road, near to the Shoprite by The Circle / Cathedral. This is where all the minibus taxis leave from, and if you want a taxi out of town, you should head here. However, it is a very busy and bustling place, heaving with people. It is easiest to take a 4+1 taxi toward Setopong and ask the driver to drop you off near the taxis that travel to the part of the country you are headed.
It is also possible to hire a car and travel around. The Sun hotels in Maseru both have hire car places, as does the airport. If you hire your car in South Africa (probably cheaper than hiring in Lesotho) be sure to get permission to take the car across into Lesotho (the hire car insurance may not cover Lesotho).
But it’s nowhere near as fun as getting up close to the locals and chatting with them!
You don’t need a 4×4 to see the main sights in Lesotho — for the average visitor only the road to Semonkong will need a 4×4. The road is tarred to Mokhotlong (via Leribe) and is now tarred all the way to Qacha’s Nek going south from Maseru. In the towns some side roads are unsealed but you can bump along in a saloon easily enough — If heading off in to the mountains on unsealed roads (e.g. to the Kao diamond mine) then a 4×4 is a must. The same goes for Thaba Tseka and going up or down the Sani pass.
When driving it’s not advisable to stop at junctions or traffic lights at night — there is a very small chance of something nasty happening.
Mission Aviation Fellowship, +266 2232 5699. Offers flights to NGOs operating in Lesotho and also offers charter flights from Moeshoeshoe I airport in Maseru if you want to reach an inaccessible part of the country.