travel group lesotho

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  • 3 Activities
  • 8 Places to Visit
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Immersive Lesotho Day Trip from Underberg

Immersive Lesotho Day Trip from Underberg

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  • Sani Pass & Lesotho Day Tours
  • Tours from Underberg

Immersive Lesotho Day Trip, exploring the “Kingdom in the Sky”

This tour will take you up Sani Pass and further on into a village in the Mountain Kingdom, called Mokhotlong, allowing you to explore more of Lesotho in just a day !

It’s the perfect mix of nature, culture and history – enjoy Lesotho’s natural flora and fauna, driving past the highest peak in Southern Africa ; dive into the culture of the Basotho people at a historical trading post and take a peek into history by getting to see the old buildings that pack lots of history into this small village.

Why go further into Lesotho?

Our top-ranked Sani Pass tour is very popular as it explores the Sani Pass summiting into the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho! However, if you have more time, it’s really worth your while going on our full-day tour into Lesotho . With the extra time that we have, we get to travel beyond Sani Top and into the more populated areas of Mokhotlong. Experience real Basotho-life!

We summit some of the highest peaks south of Kilimanjaro ! Black Mountain pass is an incredible sight at 3240m ASL – it often sees snows in Winter and sometimes even in Summer. As you descend into the valleys below you start seeing the remote villages around Mokhotlong.

Great Value Immersive Experience into the heart of Remote Lesotho

We pack coffee/tea, snacks and a hearty lunch while overlooking Lesotho’s Mountain Vistas.

Included in the price is Basotho Pony-Trekking in the foothills near Mokhotlong with your guide – who lives in and loves this area and shares stories about rural life in the mountains OR an immersive cultural experience – a short hike brings you to the heart of a homestead where we learn so much from these friendly and warm people who have been living the same way for many years.

No trip into Lesotho Via Sani Pass is complete without a final stop at the Highest Pub in Africa .

For a more detailed itinerary, please click on the itinerary tab.

All of these activities are much longer than what we could offer on our shorter tour.

To keep this amazing experience unique and intimate , we usually take your group privately or if you are a couple we on occasion may join you with another couple.

When booking, please let us know which activity you would prefer and if you have any special dietary requirements , this will help us to plan for your tour.

Special Rates

Special rates are available for pensioners and children under 12 , please contact us for more information.

Special Group Rates for the Lesotho Day Tour

3 – 5 guests get a 10% discount 6 or more guests get a 20% discount !

We look forward to hosting you on your Lesotho Adventure!

Emile and the team .

About Mokhotlong

This village in Lesotho is a picturesque hour and a half drive from the Sani Pass Border Post. Mokhotlong started as a small police outpost in 1905 and over the years it developed into a remote trading hub for the people of the Highlands region. Since Mokhotlong is so remote, it was preserved from the development that other cities in Lesotho underwent. Mokhotlong gives tourists the opportunity to experience a truly traditional village in the ‘Kingdom in the Sky’.

Lesotho is the only country in the world that is in its entirety above 1000m in elevation, making this an experience that you cannot enjoy anywhere else in the world! This tour ticks all these boxes – nature, culture and history – all in Lesotho, all in one day.

Additional information

travel group lesotho

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Two horsemen looking Maletsunyane Falls, Highlands, Lesotho

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Beautiful, culturally rich, affordable and easily accessible from Durban and Johannesburg, mountainous Lesotho (le-soo-too) is a vastly underrated travel destination. The contrast with South Africa could not be more striking, with the Basotho people's distinct personality and the altitudinous terrain's topographical extremes. Even a few days in Lesotho’s hospitable mountain lodges and trading posts will give you a fresh perspective on Southern Africa.

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Attractions

Must-see attractions for your itinerary.

Qacha's Nek Snake Park

Qacha's Nek Snake Park

This site is unique in Lesotho, not only because it is the country's only snake park, but because you can also get your car washed while you visit the…

Cultural Village

Cultural Village

Revamped in 2016, the well-maintained cultural village is a highly worthwhile stop. Excellent guided tours of the complex explain traditional Basotho…

Liphofung Cave Cultural & Historical Site

Liphofung Cave Cultural & Historical Site

This small but historically significant sandstone overhang is adorned in San rock art and served as a temporary hideaway home for King Moshoeshoe the…

Bokong Nature Reserve

Bokong Nature Reserve

Bokong has perhaps the more dramatic setting of the two northern parks, with stunning vistas over the Lepaqoa Valley from the visitors centre, various…

Ts'ehlanyane National Park

Ts'ehlanyane National Park

The country's top park features a beautiful, 56-sq-km patch of rugged wilderness, including one of Lesotho’s only stands of indigenous forest, at a high…

Ha Baroana

Ha Baroana is one of Lesotho’s more important and publicised rock-art sites. It’s worth a visit if you have extra time, although neglect and vandalism…

Sehlabathebe National Park

Sehlabathebe National Park

This far-flung, lesser-visited park offers stunning rock formations, rolling grasslands, wildflowers and a feeling of isolation, though there's also a…

Ha Kome Cave Houses

Ha Kome Cave Houses

The Ha Kome cave houses are an anomaly in this area, 21km from Teyateyaneng (TY) and several kilometres from the village of Mateka. These extraordinary…

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Home » Travel Guides » Lesotho » 15 Best Places to Visit in Lesotho

15 Best Places to Visit in Lesotho

There are few countries in the southern reaches of Africa as off-the-beaten-track as little Lesotho. Why? Well, for starters, it’s Landlocked and entirely encompassed by the popular lands of South Africa the country, meaning it’s not exactly the easiest place to get to. And then there’s its veneer, spiked for the most part by impenetrable mountains of stark rock and sweeping plateaus of dusty sandstone – not the easiest place to navigate! But with Lesotho’s difficulties so too come its beauties.

The backcountry is wild and primeval. Sweeping grass plains are broken only by the occasional peppering of thatched San villages. The great mountain rivers are only just being tamed by even greater mountain dams. There are awesome waterfalls or valley panoramas around every corner, and the trekking – well, the trekking is simply to-die-for!

Lets explore the best places to visit in Lesotho :

1. Tsehlanyane National Park

Tsehlanyane National Park

The undisputed jewel in the crown of Lesotho’s national park system comes in the form of the sun-baked highlands of Tsehlanyane.

Surrounded by the rock-ribbed peaks of the mighty Maloti Mountains (also home to the Afriski resort, believe it or not!), the region is famed for its rare woodland habitats and high altitudes of up to 5,600 meters above sea level.

Trekkers often opt to hit the connecting trail that links the park with Bokong, and come to delve into the wildernesses of chi chi trees and rare fern species, endemic berg bamboo groves and mountain animals that abounds in all its glory here.

Maseru

Welcoming, stable, small and on-the-up, Maseru might just be something of the odd one out when it comes to African capitals.

Slowly being reconstructed after a period of upheaval in the late 90s, the town is now a charming and characterful place to while away a few days.

The most noticeable landmark has to be the appropriately-named Basotho Hat, which is actually a gift shop selling traditional Basotho arts and crafts.

Aside from that there’s a smattering of great tailors and international eateries, not to mention a fair bit of backpacker traffic in the bars.

3. Semonkong

Semonkong

Nestled between the dusty escarpments of the Maseru District, close to the geographical heart of Lesotho as a whole, the little conglomeration of bamboo-topped thatch villages and huts that is Semonkong might not look like one of the most-visited spots in the country; but it is.

Why? Well, that honour surely has to go to the mist-producing plumes of the great Maletsunyane Falls, which can be found roaring over the edge of a table-top mountain nearby.

Thousands of visitors come to wonder at this great natural creation, to scale the mountain paths in its presence and see the ice-caked plunge pools into which is descends.

4. Katse Dam

Katse Dam

Blocking the meanders of the Malibamat’so River as it flows down from the cold highlands of the country, the Katse Dam once reigned supreme as the largest of its kind in all of Africa.

And while that superlative has been taken by the Tekezé Dam of Ethiopia, there’s no question that this dramatic wall of concrete and steel remains one of the continent’s real engineering wonders.

Surrounded by grass-topped mountains and undulating peaks, it clocks up a whopping 185 meters in height and comes in at nearly 2,000 meters above sea level!

Bokong

Nestled between the dramatic mountains just to the west of the aforementioned Katse Dam, the little hill town of Bokong is a great place to wax up the walking boots and hit the trails of central Lesotho.

In the immediate vicinity, visitors will be able to discover the likes of the Lepaqoa Waterfall, crashing over the escarpments of rock that define Lesotho’s highlands in plumes of mist and steam.

The surrounding Bokong Nature Reserve is also a real draw.

Complete with winding hiking trails and maintained campsites, it’s a great place for horse riding and trekking, and even runs into the paths of the Tsehlanyane National Park on its northern fringes.

6. Liphofung

Liphofung

The sinewy mountains around Liphofung rise in hues of ochre and snow-white during the winter.

They conceal the fascinating historic sites of the Moteng Valley, which have yielded evidence of human habitation in these parts of Lesotho since at least the Stone Age.

Today, visitors can come and explore the unique history of the Liphofung Caves, where a well-rounded visitor’s center now offers an insight into the old Basotho kings and the ins and outs of traditional Basotho craft culture.

There are also oodles of walking routes in the area, and some good campsites to boot.

Leribe

Also known by the name of the river that fringes the north and south of the town (Hlotse), little, laid-back Leribe is the place to go for a glimpse of authentic Basotho life.

Set right on the Lesotho-South Africa border in the north of the country, its wide, sun-baked streets are lined with low-rise shacks and tin homes.

Some draws include the local marketplace, the Leribe Craft Center (loaded with handmade fabrics and wools), and one or two historic wartime lookout points (dating from the years of English colonialism). There are also English-style statues peppering the squares and a pretty Anglican church to see.

8. Butha-Buthe

Butha-Buthe

The gateway to the northern passes, the northern “city” of Butha-Buthe touts easy access to the prehistoric wonders of the Moteng Valley, some of the country’s most dramatic mountain roads, and the aforementioned Afriski ski resort to boot.

However, the town itself is also worth a little attention, thanks largely to the natural rock fortresses on its edges.

These once helped the Basotho kings fend of Zulu invaders, and still offer some breathtaking views over the roofs of the city and surrounding district.

9. Thaba Bosiu

Thaba Bosiu

You could be forgiven for thinking that you’d been transported to the hoodoo-spiked lands of Arizona or Mexico when you first behold this vast and flat stretch of desert-like sandstone that dominates the landscape between the Orange and Caledon Rivers.

But no, this is still Lesotho, and the two square kilometers of elevated space offered by the Thaba Bosiu plateau represents the historic natural fortress of the Basotho tribe, while the spot also served as a stronghold during the Basuto Wars, and against the Boers during the Basotho conflicts with the Orange Free State in the 1850s.

10. Ha Kome

Ha Kome

The awesome Ha Kome cave houses of Lesotho’s Berea District are surely one of the most striking wonders in the country.

Carved directly from the rock faces of the surrounding mountains, they can be found hiding between the valleys close to the village of Mateka.

A truly earthy and interesting look at traditional family living in this part of Africa, the structures are still inhabited by the descendants of those who built them almost 200 years ago.

Come and meet the cave dwellers and take a tour of the on-site Ha Kome Visitors Centre, which unravels the heritage of these curious highland settlements.

Mohale

Mohale is a beautiful place. Sprawled over the sculpted mountains right in the heart of the country, it’s enveloped by sweeping highland panoramas on all sides.

And while there are only a few who come to enjoy the less-popular trekking away from Bokong and Tsehlanyane, most these days will flock into the region for a glimpse of the award-winning Mohale Dam.

Intended as a backup to the aforementioned Katse Dam, this awesome structure counts a whopping 145 meters in height and bridges a wide crest on the Senqunyane River of more than 700 meters in total!

12. Mafeteng

Mafeteng

Once a hot point of conflict during the Gun Wars of the late 19th century, and then subsequently a working mill town, little Mafeteng makes its home south of the Basotho capital and close to the border with South Africa to the west.

A place at once industrial and historic, it’s known for its flair for local famo music, and has a clutch of good hotels, local eateries and bars besides.

Mafeteng is also a convenient stopover if you’re making a beeline for the border at Wepener, or going deeper into the mountains, to spots like Malealea, or to the cultural attractions of Morija just to the north.

13. Teyateyaneng

Teyateyaneng

The gateway to the great mountains of the Berea District, where ancient San tribal cave paintings hide between the rocks and monolith villages – still inhabited, mind you – emerge from the dusty cliffs, Teyateyaneng (often conveniently referred to as just T.Y) is one of Lesotho’s more enthralling and interesting highway towns.

It’s known for its earthy local craft markets, which boom with wood carvings and traditional costumes throughout the week.

There are also weaving galleries and the occasional mountain tavern to enjoy.

And the city is a great option for further explorations into Ha Kome and Hlotse.

Morija Museum and Archives

Famed for its other moniker – the Selibeng sa Thut – Morija is something like Lesotho’s answer to England’s Cambridge or the US’s Massachusetts.

Long a center for learning, it’s considered the go to place to unravelling the mysteries and histories of the Basotho culture and past.

The main institution has to be the acclaimed Morija Museum and Archives, which contains fascinating relics that detail episodes of the Gun Wars, the Boer War and English colonialism in these parts.

The town is also the host of an annual arts and culture event, which brings traditional dance, live music and performances to the streets.

15. Sehlabathebe National Park

Sehlabathebe National Park

The paradise on the tops of the Maloti Mountains, Sehlabathebe National Park occupies around 68 square kilometers on the very roof of Lesotho.

It’s actually joined at the hip with the Maloti-Drakensberg Park National Park across the border in South Africa, and boasts the same breathtaking vistas of rolling highland savannah, wild flower meadows and verdant valleys overlooked by craggy faces of primeval stone.

Intrepid travelers flock here to ride across the plateaus on horseback, encounter semi-nomadic tribal peoples, and embark on some of the most beautiful trekking trails in the entire Qacha’s Nek region.

15 Best Places to Visit in Lesotho:

  • Tsehlanyane National Park
  • Butha-Buthe
  • Thaba Bosiu
  • Teyateyaneng
  • Sehlabathebe National Park

How I spent a perfect day (and a half) in Lesotho

Horseriding in Lesotho

Lesotho (pronounced leh-soo-too) is a tiny mountain kingdom landlocked by South Africa . Formerly known as Basutholand, modern Lesotho is a nation of blue skies, towering mountains, rushing rivers and pony trekking. Not to mention friendly faces.

One of the highest points in Southern Africa, Lesotho is the only independent state in the world that sits entirely above 1000 metres, so expect crisp summers and snowy winters. Locals here get around in the warmest wool sweaters, knit caps and the Seanamarena blanket, which is probably the cosiest traditional garment ever created.

I’m on the Kruger, Coast & Cape trip , a 22-day overland odyssey that makes a pit-stop in Lesotho for rondavels, shebeens and, of course, pony trekking. Here’s how I spent 24 (and a bit) hours in the Kingdom in the Sky:

9AM – To the Gates of Paradise

Two travellers in Lesotho

Image by Ryan Bolton

It doesn’t get much better than driving the Sani Pass from Durban. Winding higher and higher, this famous road cuts through cliff faces, seemingly skirting the edge of the world. We stop at the Gates of Paradise for a panoramic view of Lesotho plains, eating our lunch at an altitude of 2001 metres. Gift, our tour leader, points to his left and says “Just over those hills is our home for the night. It’s only a handful of kilometres but it’s going to take us a while, so buckle in for the African massage”. He’s not wrong. The travel is slow, and the pot holes are epic, but the view is amazing.

EXPLORE SOUTHERN AFRICA NOW ON A 22-DAY SMALL GROUP ADVENTURE

12PM – Walk like a local

Man in Lesotho, Africa

Image by Tayla Gentle

We’re calling Malealea town home for the next few days, a tiny village standing at 1800 metres above sea level. Regina, a local woman, takes us on a tour of the neighbourhood. The village is a collection of grazing ponies, kids wrapped up in warm wool and traditional Basotho huts. Grandmothers sit on their front doorsteps holding babies and shouting at younger kids to keep it down while elsewhere we hear the sounds of the local choir rehearsing. We are welcomed into homes and schools and shown a genuine hospitality not often found when travelling.

RELATED: 6 REASONS WHY SOUTH AFRICA IS A DESTINATION WITH SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE

3PM – Sing with the choir

Speaking of the local choir, it turns out they were rehearsing for their afternoon show. We all grab a plastic chair and head down to the grass amphitheatre. Above us, the sky is rolling with thunderclouds threatening to clap. The chorale leader tells us that all the singers are untrained and have learnt by ear. He blows a tuning whistle and the first lady sings: I get goosebumps. The choir singers split effortlessly into a four part harmony, singing a welcome song in Basutho. The song that follows steps up the energy and soon they’re clapping and dancing, and I’m clapping and dancing along with them.

5PM – Hit the shebeen

Three women drinking in a shebeen

Shebeen is another word for bar, essentially, and in Lesotho that translation is quite loose. Homebrewing is a big thing here, with many locals fixing a personal home-brew setup in their living spaces. The way to visit a shebeen is to look for the flags. If a home has maize beer ready to drink, it will fly a yellow flag. If another has sorghum beer, you’ll see a white flag. We’re in Malalea on a lucky day, as all the beers in town are ready and drinkable. The highlight, however, is the ginger beer. We crowd into the tiny hut and find ourselves surrounded by elderly ladies who are passing around a giant mug of beer. Some nod hello on our entrance, others smile. But by the end of my first mug of beer, I’m taking selfies with three of them.

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9PM – Dreaming of Basotho huts

Huts in Lesotho

As we’re walking back to our hut, a little woozy around the edges from gallons of ginger beer, the skies finally open and we’re in the middle of a torrential downpour. Luckily the round, grass thatched, mud brick huts are a) watertight and b) cosy. The mud brick helps to keep these traditional rondavels cool in summer and warm in winter; it’s the perfect natural insulation. I fall asleep to the pitter-patter of giant raindrops and the flicker of candlelight. Snug as a bug in Lesotho.

10AM – Saddle up

Riding horses in Lesotho

A trip to Lesotho is not complete without getting on a horse. And not just any horse, a pony. Most locals here own a trusty steed because 9/10 times it’s faster to ride a horse than to navigate these mountains by car. My pony for the day is a bossy little number named Microsoft. I love her already. Our horse guru tells me that Microsoft is the older sister of the ponies and because of that, she likes to be at the front of the pack. Me too, Microsoft. Me too.

Traversing the Lesotho landscape from the saddle is incredible. The vistas feel even bigger, you feel even smaller. It’s a welcome new perspective. The ponies know their way around these mountains and they take lead, effortlessly meandering around boulders, across river beds and up gravel tracks. Whenever we get to an expanse of green, the guide gives us free reign to go as fast as we want. Microsoft and I fly across the flats. I haven’t laughed so freely for a long time.

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12PM – See the Bushmen art

A man horseriding in Lesotho

We tie the horses up and jump off our saddles at the top of a huge gorge. If I didn’t know I was in Africa it could’ve easily been somewhere in the Australian northern territory. We traipse down the rocks, winding our way into the gorge, climbing beneath huge overhanging boulders. The Bushman’s Painting in this area of Lesotho depict half-human hybrids hunting eland bulls. The rock art is over 27,000 years old and it gives you an insight into the ancient culture of the San Bushmen people. Long story short: the climb down is worth the effort.

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3PM – Dance like a local

Get back on the horse, literally. The ponies lead us back to Malalea Lodge just in time for the local band’s afternoon jam session. The band is comprised of a bunch of local men who have created their own instruments out of everyday pieces. There is something like a guitar, a drum set, and a lot of whistling. Two smaller boys, who look about ten years old, perform a dance that is an incredible mix of Basutho and jive. I’ve never clapped harder or smiled more widely.

If dancing, singing, and meeting a few friendly ponies sounds like your perfect trip, check out our small group adventures in Lesotho now . 

Feature image by Ryan Bolton. 

Feeling inspired?

travel group lesotho

Tayla Gentle

I'm a travel writer guilty of visiting places that often give my mum mild anxiety. Likely born in Jamaica in a past life, travel for me involves dancing to afrobeat, drinking Mekong whiskey and wearing pyjamas on long haul flights.

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Destinations

Local destinations, themed holidays, about thompsons, lesotho travel.

Travel to Lesotho to discover an adventurer’s playground. A landlocked country entirely surrounded by South Africa , the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho is famous for its natural beauty, rugged terrain and rich local culture and traditions. Visitors here will be enthralled by the wide selection of adrenaline activities including skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, pony trekking, hiking and abseiling.   

Holidays in Lesotho also offer a tranquil retreat where you can take part in more leisurely pursuits. Things to do include boating, fishing and birdwatching. You can explore the country’s fascinating history by visiting rock art sites, viewing ancient relics and learning about the locals’ tradition and culture in rural Basotho villages.   

Why visit Lesotho 

  • It’s home to the Sani Pass, South Africa’s most challenging yet rewarding 4x4 route.   
  • Lesotho is known for its picture-perfect scenery.   
  • Known as ‘The Kingdom in the Sky’, it’s the only country in the world that’s elevated above 1,000m.   
  • The country is rich in relics of its prehistoric past, including dinosaur footprints preserved in sandstone.   
  • The continental climate makes it ideal for snow activities.   
  • You can view wild animals in their habitat in two different nature reserves:  Ts’ehlanyane  National Park and  Bokong  Nature Reserve.  
  • It boasts one of only two ski resorts in Southern Africa,  Afriski , situated 3,222m above sea level.   
  • The country’s natural attractions, including  Maletsunyane  Waterfalls and  Katse  Dam, are spectacular.   

For adventurous families, friends and couples, Lesotho promises an exciting holiday in a magnificent setting. Let Thompsons Holidays arrange your Lesotho holiday package.    

What to do in Lesotho

The tiny country of Lesotho is entirely landlocked and offers a unique experience for holidaymakers. Located just 540km from Johannesburg , Lesotho is home to the only ski resort in Southern Africa –  Afriski , located in the Maloti Mountains. But that’s not all. There are things to do in Lesotho for every type of  traveller , whether you’re looking for an adrenaline rush or want to enjoy some peace and quiet while you’re trout fishing. Lesotho offers a staggering amount of activities, including skiing, sailing, kayaking, quad biking, off-road biking and much more.  

Things to do in Lesotho 

  • Go pony trekking on a legendary Basotho pony.   
  • Enjoy hiking in the various national parks and reserves.   
  • Go canoeing on  Mohale  or  Katse  Dam.   
  • Try white-water rafting in the mountain streams.   
  • Brave the staggering 4x4 route on Sani Pass.   
  • Enjoy snowboarding in the Maloti Mountains.    
  • Abseil in  Maletsunyane  Falls, the world’s highest commercial abseil point.   
  • Visit  Thaba   Bosiu  mountain, where King  Mashoeshoe  founded the kingdom of Lesotho in the 19th Century.   
  • Explore Kome, a village full of cave dwellings carved beneath towering rocks.   
  • Have a drink in Africa’s highest pub at Sani Mountain Lodge.   

You can get to know the friendly local people, enjoy fabulous food, go skiing in the winter months or just soak up the beauty and  tranquility  around you. Whatever you decide to do, and whatever type of Lesotho holiday packages you’re looking for, whether with friends, family or a loved one, Thompsons Holidays will make it happen.  

Know before you go...

When is the best time to visit?   

  • The best time to visit Lesotho is in October  and  November or March  and  April.  
  • The r ainy season is from November to April.   The rainy season is also the hottest time – January  and  February.  
  • Summer (from October to April) is hot  and  humid, often reaching 30°C.  

Getting there  

  • Flight duration from Johannesburg to Lesotho: 1 hour.  
  • Driving time from Johannesburg to Lesotho: 4 hours ,  30 minutes.   

Do I need a visa?  

  • South African passport holders do not require a visa to enter Lesotho if they are staying less t han  3 weeks.  
  • Make sure  your passport  is valid for 3 months after your trip.   

What time is it? 

  • Time zone – same as in South Africa.  

Money matters  

  • The official currency is the Maloti (MKW).  
  • South African Rands are very widely accepted in the country, although you may well receive change in Lesotho currency.  
  • Tipping is widely accepted in Lesotho.  Tip 10% for services rendered, at your discretion.  

Language & phrases  

  • English and Southern Sotho are traditional languages.  
  • A number of other languages including Zulu, Sesotho, and Xhosa are also spoken.  

Culture & religion 

  • Christianity is the dominant religion in Lesotho.  

Health information  

  • The water in Lesotho is safe to drink. Buy bottled water if you wish .  
  • No vaccinations are currently required but check with your travel clinic before you go.  

What must I pack? 

  • Depending on when and where you visit, lightweight clothing for summer, warm clothing for winter, rain gear, beachwear if relevant and ski gear if travelling to a ski resort. Choose items that can be layered.    
  • Comfortable walking shoes.    
  • Sunscreen, lip balm, hat and sunglasses for summer holidays.    
  • Mini first aid kit and regular prescription medication.    
  • Hand sanitiser and insect repellent.    
  • Camera.    
  • Travel adaptor.  

Getting around 

  •   Transport within Lesotho includes cars or public transport (coaches or minibus taxis).  

What can I do to be a responsible traveller? 

  •   Wherever possible, buy local food and souvenirs and support local artisans .  
  • Avoid single-use plastic; rather take fabric shopping bags with you and use refillable water bottles (when local drinking water is available).  
  • Respect each other's cultures and customs and avoid imposing your beliefs.   
  • Do not support animal encounters and wildlife activities that are harmful or unethical.  

Safety tips  

  • Always have a map (or app) on hand, especially when travelling at night.  
  • Be safety conscious: don’t display cash or valuables. Leave jewellery and expensive watches at home.  
  • Keep your belongings safe – use the hotel safe for passports and valuables and watch out for pickpockets and bag snatchers when out and about.  

What do I do in an emergency? 

  • If passports or valuables are stolen, report the theft to the hotel/police immediately.  
  • Contact the Thompsons Holidays 24-hour care line to assist.  

Out of season

We’re sorry! The holiday you’re looking for is not in season. Luckily, we have loads of other exciting options. Take a look!

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Welcome To The Mountain Kingdom

+266 800 10100

Home > tourism, tourism experience.

Popular descriptions of this rugged country, with majestic beauty and serene simplicity, are “Mountain Kingdom” and “Kingdom in the Sky”. Lesotho Offers a very different tourism experience, with the potential of the tourism sector lying in its natural beauty, rich flora and fauna, and absorbing prehistoric and cultural heritage. The appeal of this extraordinary country is rarely found in more commercialized destinations.

Mountains, valleys, and rivers provide memorable scenery for tourists. This is where Lesotho gets its crystal clear water as well as green pastures for livestock. Minerals such as diamond are found in the mountains. Indeed, Lesotho is the Kingdom in the Sky. Mountains of Lesotho.

Most tourists travel many kilometers from their countries just to come and patch in the rocks of Lesotho. They also enjoy playing around the clean water of Lesotho’ s mountains. This is one of the biggest source of income to the country.

Basotho are a nation that has solid traditions, beliefs and customs. The annual Morija arts festival portrays at the best level the rich culture and celebrations that Lesotho is truly proud of. If you want to be part of these celebrations you will be welcomed with smiling faces. And in the villages, you will be offered the traditional porridge — Motoho. Come and experience a wealth of savory food, natural attractions, and reserves.

travel group lesotho

The Basotho Hat – The Nations Symbol

The Maluti Mountains, spurs of the Drakensberg range, extend north and south. They form a high plateau from 9,000 to 10,000 ft in height. The highest point is Thabana Ntlenyana (11,425ft) in the east. The rich volcanic soils of the foothills and mountains are some of the best in the country.

The sources of two of the principal rivers in South Africa, the Orange and the Tugeld, are in these mountains. Tributaries of the Caledon River, which form the country’s western border, also rise here.

Look for the Basotho Hat (Mokorotlo) building in Maseru (near Victoria hotel) and you will find a souvenir of a lifetime in it — at a price that will make you smile.

Get Directions to Lesotho by clicking this link :  Visit Lesotho

Quick Links

  • Tlhopho Bocha
  • Lesotho Communications Authority
  • Lesotho National Development Corporation
  • Central Bank of Lesotho
  • Lesotho Revenue Authority
  • Southern African Development Community
  • Lesotho Highlands Development Authority
  • Lesotho Planned Parenthood Association
  • National University of Lesotho
  • Land Administration Authority
  • African Union
  • Southern African Customs Union

Tourists Attraction

  • Visit Lesotho
  • Thaba Bosiu
  • Morija Arts & Culture
  • Africa Tours
  • Lesotho Tours
  • Tour Operators

Top Tour Operators and Travel Agencies in Lesotho 2024/2025

Top Tour Operators and Travel Agencies in Lesotho. Below you will find 3 of the best tour operators and travel agencies in Lesotho offering in total 5 tours and holidays through-out Lesotho. Combined they have received 5 customer reviews and an average rating of 5 out of 5 stars. The top tour activities offered in Lesotho are: .

  • Tours in Lesotho

3 Tour Operators in Lesotho with 5 Reviews

Wayfairer Travel

Wayfairer Travel

  • Address Temple 1852, Lower Approach Road, Bristol, England
  • Response Rate 50%
  • Response Time 2 hours

Zulu Safaris

Zulu Safaris

  • Address 1 Bell Street, Shop G01 Ushaka Marine World, Durban, South Africa
  • Response Rate 100%
  • Response Time 3 hours

World Expeditions

World Expeditions

  • Address 1B Osiers Road, Wandsworth, London, England
  • Response Rate 82%

travel group lesotho

  • Best-in-Class Top 5% of companies
  • Excellent Service Top 10% of companies
  • Superior Service Top 15% of companies

Lesotho Tour Reviews

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Caution October 19, 2023

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Travel Advisory July 31, 2023

Lesotho - level 1: exercise normal precautions.

Reissued with obsolete COVID-19 page links removed.           

Exercise normal precautions in Lesotho.

Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Lesotho.

If you decide to travel to Lesotho:

  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program ( STEP ) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter .
  • Follow the U.S. Embassy in Lesotho on Facebook and Twitter .
  • Review the Country Security Report for Lesotho.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations.  Review the Traveler’s Checklist .
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.

Embassy Messages

View Alerts and Messages Archive

Quick Facts

Must be valid at time of entry; 3 months of remaining validity suggested

One page per entry stamp

Not required if stay is less than 180 days

Yellow fever if traveling from or through a yellow fever endemic country.

Embassies and Consulates

U.s. embassy maseru.

254 Kingsway Avenue Maseru 100, Lesotho Telephone: +(266) 2231-2666 Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(266) 5888-4035 Fax: +(266) 2231-0116 [email protected]

Destination Description

See the Department of State’s  Fact Sheet on Lesotho   for information on U.S. - Lesotho relations.

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

U.S. citizens entering Lesotho must present a valid passport. Visas are not required for U.S. citizens visiting for 30 days or fewer. U.S. citizens may apply for an extension of an additional 30 days at a time through the Office of Immigration. The maximum number of 30 day extensions permitted is five, totaling 180 days.  After 180 days U.S. citizens are required to apply for a visa online. Vaccination for yellow fever is a common requirement throughout the region, and you should carry your international vaccination cards with you. For more information concerning entry requirements, travelers may contact the Embassy of the Kingdom of Lesotho , 2511 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008, tel. (202) 797-5533. 

Attention new South Africa Regulations:  Travelers who intend to visit or transfer through South Africa must have at least two blank (unstamped) visa pages and carry unabridged birth certificates for all children under 18.  Please see  Country Specific Information for South Africa  for additional information.

While U.S. citizens normally do not need a visa for South Africa if you plan to stay less than 90 days, South African visa requirements are different for individuals who are residents of Lesotho.  It is common for foreigners residing in Lesotho to receive seven-day visas when crossing into South Africa by road.  Travelers who overstay in South Africa may be declared “undesirable” by the immigration authorities and barred from entering South Africa.  Travelers planning to visit South Africa for a longer period should check with the  High Commission of South Africa in Maseru  on how to obtain a visa for a longer stay.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Lesotho.

Find information on  dual nationality ,  prevention of international child abduction  and  customs regulations  on our websites.

Safety and Security

Terrorism:  Terrorist groups and those inspired by such organizations are intent on attacking U.S. citizens abroad.  Terrorists are increasingly using less sophisticated methods of attack – including knives, firearms, and vehicles – to more effectively target crowds.  Frequently, their aim is unprotected or vulnerable targets, such as: 

  • High-profile public events (sporting contests, political rallies, demonstrations, holiday events, celebratory gatherings, etc.) 
  • Hotels, clubs, and restaurants frequented by tourists 
  • Places of worship
  • Schools 
  • Parks Shopping malls and markets 
  • Public transportation systems (including subways, buses, trains, and scheduled commercial flights)

For more information, see our Terrorism page. 

Crime: Demonstrations  occur frequently. They may take place in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, and during international events. 

  • Demonstrations can be unpredictable, avoid areas around protests and demonstrations. 
  • Past demonstrations have turned violent.
  • Check local media for updates and traffic advisories. 

Crime:  Lesotho has a high crime rate, and foreigners must remain vigilant at all times. Foreigners are frequently targeted and robbed and have been car-jacked and killed. U.S. citizens have reported incidents – including sexual assault, armed and unarmed confrontation, and home invasion – occurring in broad daylight. There are no indications that U.S. citizens are specifically targeted.

Crime is most prevalent in urban areas but can happen anywhere. Criminal incidents have occurred in popular restaurants, along poorly lit or unlit roads, and locations frequented by foreigners. Victims have included tourists, volunteer workers, and employees of non-governmental organizations.

Extra caution should be exercised while walking through downtown Maseru, both at night and during the day. You are urged to exercise caution and avoid crowds, demonstrations, or any other form of public gathering. Traveling alone or at night is particularly dangerous due to limited street lighting and undeveloped road conditions. 

There is a serious problem with theft from baggage at O.R. Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg), a required transit point for air travel to Lesotho. You should secure your luggage with Transportation Security Administration (TSA) approved locks, use an airport plastic wrapping service, and avoid placing any items of value in checked luggage. Make an inventory of items in checked baggage to aid in claims processing if theft does occur.

International Financial Scams:  See the  Department of State  and the  FBI   pages for information.

Internet romance and financial scams are prevalent in Lesotho. Scams are often initiated through Internet postings/profiles or by unsolicited emails and letters. Scammers almost always pose as U.S. citizens who have no one else to turn to for help. Common scams include:  

  • Romance/Online dating
  • Money transfers
  • Lucrative sales
  • Gold purchase
  • Contracts with promises of large commissions
  • Grandparent/Relative targeting
  • Free Trip/Luggage
  • Inheritance notices
  • Work permits/job offers
  • Bank overpayments

Victims of Crime: Report crimes to the local police at (266) 2231 2943 or (266) 2232 2099.  These numbers should be answered by police 24/7, but have been known to be out of service. Also contact the U.S. Embassy at (266) 2231-2666 Ext: 4124 or (266) 5885-4035 after hours.

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

See our webpage on  help for U.S. victims of crime overseas .

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide our information on  victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence:  U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.

Tourism:  The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in/near major cities. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more  information on insurance providers for overseas coverage .

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties:  You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business.

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on  crimes against minors abroad  and the  Department of Justice  website.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our  webpage  for further information.

Extreme weather preparation: Visitors to the interior of Lesotho should bring clothing and equipment suitable for extreme cold weather during the winter months of June through August. Weather conditions can deteriorate rapidly in the mountains, and snow may close mountain passes. Temperatures can drop below freezing even in the lowlands.

Lesotho has one of the highest rates of lightning strikes per square mile in the world, and lightning-related deaths are not uncommon. If you find yourself in a storm, find shelter in a building or car.

Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Although counterfeit and pirated goods are prevalent in many countries, they may still be illegal according to local laws. You may also pay fines or have to give them up if you bring them back to the United States. See the U.S. Department of Justice website for more information. 

Faith-based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:

  • Faith-Based Travel Information
  • International Religious Freedom Repor t   – see country reports
  • Human Rights Report   – see country reports
  • Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
  • Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad

LGBTQI+ Travelers: Consensual same-sex sexual relations between men are criminalized in Lesotho, although the U.S. Embassy is not aware of any recent arrests or prosecutions. There is no explicit prohibition of consensual same-sex sexual relations between women.

See   our LGBTQI+ Travel Information  page and section 6 of our  Human Rights report  for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: The Buildings Control Act of 1995 requires that all buildings be made accessible, but enforcement thus far has been negligible. There are no mandatory standards of accessibility for sidewalks, road crossings, public transportation, and parking areas. There are no free or reduced fares for transport, and very few accessible places of lodging, medical facilities, restaurants, cafes, or bars.

Students: See our  Students Abroad  page and  FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for  Women Travelers . Gender-based violence (GBV) is at epidemic levels in Lesotho, with one in three women and girls reporting abuse by an intimate partner (UNAIDS). Women should remain vigilant when traveling in Lesotho and should avoid traveling alone if possible.

Medical facilities in Lesotho are limited and ambulance service is unreliable. Specialist care is available in Bloemfontein, South Africa, 90 miles away. U.S. Embassy Maseru maintains a list of  physicians and other health care professionals , but does not guarantee service or provide recommendations.

Health care in Lesotho itself does not meet Western standards. There are few dependable specialists in town and there is a fully equipped emergency room at Queen Mamohato Memorial Hospital which can be used to stabilize a patient only. There is a small private hospital, Maseru Private Hospital, which has thirty-two available beds, a small operating theater, radiology, and lab services. However, the facility is under-utilized by residents because of the excessive cost of care. As a result, services there are unreliable, with the x-ray equipment frequently being out of order and a constant change over in staff. A better choice for medical stabilization of emergencies, basic x-ray services, simple hospitalizations (i.e., IV re-hydration) and basic emergency care is the Wilies Clinic, run by the PMA, Dr. Hoedoafia. The facility is clean, well-equipped with basic supplies and medications, and Dr. Hoedoafia is available 24/7. Medical services in Bloemfontein are excellent. Employees frequently go there for specialty consultations. In any emergency, patients would be stabilized at the any of the 3 hospitals and then transported by car, ambulance or helicopter to the Medi-Clinic in Bloemfontein. The medevac center for Maseru is Pretoria. All the hospitals have pharmacies for OTC and prescription refills.

For emergency services in Lesotho, dial Landline: +266 22326690, Cell:+266 80012121/+266 5834 9286. 

Ambulance services are:

  • not widely available and training and availability of emergency responders may be below U.S. standards.
  • not present throughout the country or are unreliable in most areas except in Maseru, Mafeteng, Berea, Leribe and Mohale’s Hoek
  • Injured or seriously ill travelers may prefer to take a taxi or private vehicle to the nearest major hospital rather than wait for an ambulance.

VITALITY AMBULANCE MASERU

  • Contact person: Dr Malebohang Raleche
  • Landline: +266 22326690
  • Cell:+266 80012121/+266 5834 9286

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas. 

Medical Insurance:  Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more  information on insurance providers for overseas coverage . 

We strongly recommend  supplemental insurance  to cover medical evacuation.

If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of Lesotho, and its  MFA  to ensure the medication is legal in Lesotho. Always carry an adequate supply of your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription. 

Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription.

Lesotho has one of the highest HIV rates in the world. Approximately one-quarter of the adult population of Lesotho infected with HIV. Travelers are advised to practice safe sex if engaging in sexual activity, or if exposed to blood products through injuries or rendering assistance to accident victims. 

The following diseases are prevalent:

  • Tuberculosis (TB)
  • Schistosomiasis
  • African Tick-Bite Fever
  • Yellow Fever
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Chikungunya
  • Leptosporisis

Vaccinations:  Be up-to-date on all  vaccinations  recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Air Quality: Visit AirNow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.

The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals . We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic. 

Further health information:

  • World Health Organization
  • U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

OPTIONAL stock language for Health section on special circumstances :

Health facilities in general:

  • No adequate health facilities are available in Lesotho.        
  • Public medical clinics lack basic resources and supplies.
  • Hospitals and doctors often require payment “up front” prior to service or admission.[Credit card payment is not always available. Some hospitals and medical professionals require cash payment.
  • Private hospitals usually require advance payment or letter of guarantee of payment.
  • Be aware that some hotels, resorts, etc. have exclusive agreements with medical providers, which may limit your choices in seeking emergency medical attention.
  • Medical staff may speak fluent English.
  • Generally, in public hospitals only minimal staff is available overnight in non-emergency wards.
  • Patients bear all costs for transfer to or between hospitals.
  • Psychological and psychiatric services are limited, even in the larger cities, with hospital-based care only available through government institutions.

Pharmaceuticals:  Exercise caution when purchasing medication overseas. Pharmaceuticals, both over the counter and requiring prescription in the United States, are often readily available for purchase with little controls. Counterfeit and substandard medication is common and may prove to be ineffective, the wrong strength, or contain dangerous ingredients. Medication should be purchased in consultation with a medical professional and from reputable establishments.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration are responsible for rules governing the transport of medication back to the United States. Medication purchased abroad must meet their requirements to be legally brought back into the United States. Medication should be for personal use and must be approved for usage in the United States. Please visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration websites for more information.

Non-Traditional Medicine:  U.S. citizens have suffered serious complications or died while seeking medical care from non-traditional “healers” and practitioners in Lesotho. Ensure you have access to licensed emergency medical facilities in such cases.

Water Quality:  In Maseru, tap water is potable. Bottled water and beverages are generally safe, although you should be aware that many restaurants and hotels serve tap water unless bottled water is specifically requested. Be aware that ice for drinks may be made using tap water.

Altitude:  Many cities in Lesotho, are at high altitude. Beware of the symptoms of altitude sickness, and take precautions before you travel. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Travel to High Altitudes .

General Health Language:

  • Use the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended mosquito repellents and sleep under insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets. Chemoprophylaxis is recommended for all travelers even for short stays.
  • HIV/AIDS: Lesotho has one of the highest HIV rates in the world. Approximately one-quarter of the adult population of Lesotho is infected with HIV.
  • Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Resources for Travelers regarding specific issues in Lesotho.  

Air Quality:  Air pollution is a significant problem in several major cities in Lesotho. Consider the impact seasonal smog and heavy particulate pollution may have on you and consult your doctor before traveling if necessary.

People at the greatest risk from particle pollution exposure include:

  • Infants, children, and teens
  • People over 65 years of age
  • People with lung disease such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
  • People with heart disease or diabetes
  • People who work or are active outdoors

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety:  The majority of Lesotho’s 5,000 miles of roads remain unpaved. A few main rural highways are comparable to U.S. two-lane rural roads, but lane markings, signs, shoulders and guardrails do not meet U.S. standards. Lesotho's mountainous terrain makes driving on secondary roads hazardous. Road accidents are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in Lesotho. Unpaved roads in the interior—often narrow, winding, and steep—are poorly maintained. For travel in the interior, especially in wet or snowy weather, a high ground clearance or four-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended. Four-wheel-drive is also a requirement for entering or departing Lesotho through the Sani Pass on the eastern border. The authority for road safety issues rests with the  Lesotho Mounted Police Service ; there are no auto clubs or reliable ambulance services. Drivers should contact the police in case of road emergencies.

Traffic Laws:  Traffic moves on the left, with right-hand drive vehicles. Never assume right-of-way, as aggressive and unpredictable local driving habits result in frequent collisions. Lesotho has a high number of traffic-related deaths and injuries. Driving after dark is dangerous due to the absence of street lighting, livestock on the roads, and the prevalence of crime—including incidents of carjacking. Travel is best done by private car. Rental cars are available in Maseru, and cars rented in neighboring South Africa may be brought into Lesotho with the written permission of the rental company.

Public Transportation:  Although bus and public taxi services exist, chronic overloading combined with inadequate vehicle maintenance and lack of driver training make them unsafe. Some private taxi services are available in the capital, but roving mini-bus taxis should be avoided. There is no passenger train service in Lesotho.

See the Ministry of Transport’s facebook page for more information.

Visit the website of Lesotho’s National Tourist Office  authority responsible for road safety. 

Aviation Safety Oversight:   As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Lesotho, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Lesotho’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the  FAA’s safety assessment page .

For additional travel information

  • Enroll in the  Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)  to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Call us in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from all other countries) from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  • See the  State Department’s travel website  for the  Worldwide Caution  and  Travel Advisories .
  • Follow us on  Twitter  and  Facebook .
  • See  traveling safely abroad  for useful travel tips.

For additional IPCA-related information, please see the  International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA)  report.

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Home / Tours / By Country / Lesotho Tours, Packages and Budget Safaris

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travel group lesotho

R 46,650

Kruger, Wildlife and Mountains Adventure (Comfort) (14 Days)

Tour Map

R 52,950

Kruger, Wildlife & Mountains Tour (Small Group with Aircon) Max 12

small group overland safari

R 104,345

Great East African Lodge Safari – 13 Days

travel group lesotho

R 37,950

Durban to Cape Town via Lesotho (Comfort) Tour (12 Days)

travel group lesotho

R 29,800

Durban to Cape Town via Lesotho Tour (Camping) (12 Days)

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R 20,100

7 Day Drakensberg, Lesotho & Addo Tour (Comfort)

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Lesotho Travel Guide

Lesotho traditional hut house homes in Lesotho village in Africa

Lesotho is primarily made up of the  Sotho  ethnic group, which is a major reason why the country has avoided civil warfare in its long history. The majority of the country has a traditional ancestor worship belief system alongside Catholicism, which is why you will see native rituals, including chanting and drumming, at church services. Music is just as important as dancing, and during your  Lesotho tours  you can expect the men of communities to do group dances with much high-kicking gusto!

Unidentified Basotho man wearing traditional blanket in the Mountains of Lesotho

Animals are an important element of Lesotho communities and the Basotho (citizens of Lesotho) value cattle even over money. The wealthy tend to send their children abroad for private schooling. The Basotho are well known for their handmade crafts, and one example is the patterned woven blanket that the people wear, as well as tapestries and finely made musical instruments.

On your  Lesotho tours , you can also observe the amazing knitwear and leather, made from the wool and hides of the sheep and goat herds that roam the mountains, or the woven and grass and ress work, such as  mokorotlo , a traditional Basotho hat.

Northern Lesotho

Similar to most African cuisine, the  local dishes  revolve around maize (for the renowned staple meal of mealie pap), sorghum and wheat as well as beans, peas, cabbage and onion. You can also taste various stews made with peanuts or oxtail, curries and kebabs. Prepare to eat lots of beetroot salad during your  Lesotho tours , as it is a common side dish. Ginger beer is a popular alcoholic beverage, as is  ting , made from fermented porridge.

Why not try Lesotho’s national dish?

  • Papa:  a thick maize porridge that is usually eaten with mutton, chicken or eggs or a spicy vegetable sauce

The Enchanting Travels team is happy to help you plan your private and tailor-made Lesotho tours. 

Lesotho was originally known as Basutoland. It is known as the Hostage State as it is a country completely surrounded by and dependent on the Republic of South Africa. Tribal wars in southern Africa during the 18th and 19th centuries forced many of the Sotho-speaking tribes to flee into the highlands.

Moshoeshoe , an African chief, united the peoples into a nation in the 1800s. Unfortunately the  Boers  (Dutch-settlers) took much of the land. Moshoeshoe requested assistance from the British Government and the remaining area became a British protectorate. Lesotho gained independence in 1966 and a constitutional monarchy was established.

Whilst Lesotho has suffered from much political strife over the last few decades. the nation is determined and optimistic, and  Lesotho tours  have contributed to the growing economy.

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Best Places To Visit

Lesotho Travel Guide

Eastern Lesotho offers some of the most scenic views in Africa. Explore the two giant dams at Katse and Mohale and the dramatic Sani Pass.

Eastern Lesotho

Lesotho Travel Guide

Explore an African adventureland.

Mountain Kingdom

Lesotho Travel Guide

Spectacular mountain views and diverse outdoor experiences await you in Northern Lesotho! It offers great hiking and horse riding and even downhill skiing!

Northern Lesotho

Lesotho Travel Guide

Sehlabathebe National Park, with amazing rock formations and sandstone sculptures, offers fantastic hiking and horse riding opportunities.

Sehlabathebe National Park

Lesotho Travel Guide

The Lowlands, in the western part of Lesotho, are at such an elevation that most countries would consider them uplands! A heavily farmed and populated yet pretty region, the small mission town of Morija has a cluster of historical buildings.

Western Lesotho

Things to do.

Dramatic gorges, rolling valleys and the iconic Basotho ponies – don’t miss out on the top highlights while planning your Lesotho travel itinerary. Follow this link for an overview on what to do in Lesotho.

Best Time To Visit

The climate in Lesotho is moderately warm throughout the year. Due to the high altitude, the temperatures are relatively low compared to the neighboring countries of Lesotho. Follow this link for an overview on the seasons and the best time to visit.

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My Adventure to Lesotho: the Land Enveloped in South Africa

travel group lesotho

This post may contain affiliate links to things like tours, hotels, Amazon associates and products. These help me earn a small commission at no additional charge to you.

For those who don’t know, Lesotho is a country landlocked within South Africa. They have their own currency (though they do also accept the South African Rand), their own language, their own king and their own culture.

So while travelling in South Africa , I knew I wanted to visit. Whilst backpacking I met Bethany, a Canadian who also wanted to go. We tried to research HOW – and hit multiples dead ends.

The dilemma

I’ve since been told that the biggest problem regarding Lesotho and tourism is that most foreign visitors travel via South African tour companies which means their money stays within South Africa and nothing is received by Lesotho, the country they’re actually visiting.

I can certainly see how this happens. Simply because we couldn’t find any information about visiting independently, at one point we thought joining a tour in South Africa might be our only option. Lesotho’s capital, Maseru, is in the north, not far below South Africa’s Johannesburg. However, we were coming from the Garden Route, below Lesotho, where the border is well and truly blocked by the Sani Pass: a series of mountains that you need a 4×4 car to get over.

travel group lesotho

Getting to Lesotho

We considered our options:

  • A) try to hire a beast of a car
  • B) take a tour from the South African backpackers near the border
  • C) attempt to find a local bus and do it ourselves (we didn’t actually know if this was even possible).

We were all about C! A car hire would be expensive, it would take time to find one, and it could be potentially treacherous driving. Neither of us wanted to take an expensive day tour from South Africa which would take us from highlight to highlight at someone else’s schedule and not let us meet the people and see what the country was all about.

With that in mind, we rocked up at Sani Lodge Backpackers on the border to work it out from there. The staff told us local minibuses DID travel over the mountain pass – exactly the news we wanted to hear! Bethany and I decided an adventure was on the cards. We decided not to plan our trip, book any accommodation or organise anything. I was really excited about this. I took an organised 40-day tour through seven countries from Kenya to Cape Town and since had been on the Baz Bus: South Africa’s door-to-door backpacker’s bus that doesn’t really allow you to get lost. While I love travelling in Africa, so far I’ve found it hard to integrate with the locals. In Asia – you pull up a stool, tuck into a bowl of pho and immediately have a group of new friends, as I proved in the Philippines:

travel group lesotho

In contrast, Westerners pay thousands of dollars to go on safari in the Serengeti, climb Kilimanjaro and tour the pristine beaches of Zanzibar. Most of the locals live out in the arid countryside and while I’d have liked to meet them, it wasn’t a stop on the tour. So, I digress but my point is – around Africa, I’ve sometimes felt sheltered from reality: a tourist seeing the attractions and never really breaking out of my bubble.

We left our big rucksacks at our hostel in South Africa and headed off on foot to find a local minibus. They were apparently a 3k walk away but after about 10 minutes, we were picked up by one of the hostel’s 4x4s, heading towards the pass for a day tour. We were dropped off at the local bus stand and instructed to visit this ticket office. We immediately knew we were off the tourist track!

travel group lesotho

We paid the equivalent of £6 for a bus that would take us over the mountain pass, across the border and to a town in Lesotho called Mokhotlong.

The treacherous Sani Pass

Getting over the Sani Pass was certainly an experience. It was definitely a 4×4 job but unfortunately, we were not in one. Our bus left only when it was full, and when I say full, I mean full! There were four people on each three-person bench plus lots of luggage… every time we went up a hill (which was basically the entire time on the pass), the bus was straining against our weight and threatening to slide back down.

travel group lesotho

Because it was raining the pass was really slippy. Bethany and I took one look at the pile of mud we were about to drive through and were like ‘no way’ – but it was yes way! We stormed through it and the next one and the next.

The pass was a windy track through the mountains that went back and forth on itself so we were usually being thrown one way or another, and my head was constantly smacking the ceiling. Headgear should have been mandatory.

travel group lesotho

Still, the views were absolutely incredible. The hills were so lush and green and were rolling like grassy waves against the horizon. I spent a lot of time with my GoPro pointed out of the window like an ultra-keen tourist – but actually, it was so stunning even the locals were taking photos.

Checking out of South Africa

We checked out and after a section of mountainous no man’s land, we arrived at the highest border crossing in the world and the entrance to the Kingdom of Lesotho. While Lesotho as a whole was definitely not touristy, the area at the border was home to a few colourful craft shops and a campsite boasting the highest pub in Africa. Because we were on the local bus which wasn’t about to wait for us, checking this out had to wait for our return journey.

travel group lesotho

We got back on our bus which was pounding insanely loud African music, and marvelled as we began to get used to the countryside. It was so different to South Africa, and also anywhere I’ve been. The people and the countryside worked together in a way that only a rural destination can – everyone we passed was either on horseback or herding sheep. It was the clothing that I noticed the most: despite the fact that it was boiling hot (to me anyway), people were clad in thick, patterned blankets. Some even had them pulled over their heads and faces – I think to shade them from the sun. I’d have probably passed out after five minutes in one.

travel group lesotho

Eventually, we reached our end destination of Mokhotlong – and realised we had no idea what we were actually doing there.

It was a small, friendly town and plenty of the residents stopped us in the street to chat – as white, blonde girls we stood out just a TAD – and asked us where we were going, and if there was somewhere we were looking for. Unsure what to do, we decided food was a good plan. Mokhotlong didn’t have any restaurants that we could see but there was a barbecue on the main street where chicken breasts and legs were being cooked and served with pap (a doughy maize meal).

travel group lesotho

We paid 50 Rand (£3) for two pieces of chicken and pap each – that’s less than a pound per giant chicken breast smothered in peri peri sauce (cheapest Nando’s ever!). When I finished eating, our new friends on the stall insisted I must eat more chicken for free… No resistance from me!

Our chicken was packaged up in takeaway boxes but, as we had nowhere to go, we went to sit on the curb – and were instead ushered into a little tin room behind the barbecue. Bethany and I both agreed we’d have rather been sat on the curb because the room was almost entirely taken up with a vat of raw chicken which one of the guys started chopping up as we ate. However, they’d definitely invited us in to be hospitable so we weren’t about to complain.

Our new friends chatted to us, teaching us a few local words and phrases. We were told that while the country is called Lesotho, the language is Sesotho and the people are called Basotho. We even got onto the subject of local healers who the people strongly believe can cure all kinds of ailments including HIV. It was harrowing to hear that people think this can be easily cured without medicine.

After eating we went for a wander towards the outskirts of town. Like anywhere, one of the best things to do in Lesotho for me was see how the locals life. I loved the style of the houses in Lesotho – round buildings made from stone and sporting thatched roofs.

travel group lesotho

We were quite possibly the only tourists to have ever wandered around that area and while the local people were friendly, they were also a bit confused and the most common question asked was ‘why are you here?’ – as if we’d been on the hunt for Cape Town and taken a VERY wrong turn.

Standing at a viewpoint over the valley below the village, we were approached by a couple of kids – one of whom was Zannalee, a teenage girl wearing bright yellow trousers who was keen to chat to us.

travel group lesotho

Zannalee told us she wanted to become an actress. She spoke incredible English and explained to us that the beautiful valley we were looking down on was soon to be flooded and made into a reservoir. From what I understand, South Africa’s water supply predominately comes from Lesotho and the situation is heavily controlled by SA.

Despite the fact that Zannalee’s mother grows crops in the valley and their livelihood depend on it, I wouldn’t imagine they have much choice about its future. We asked Zannalee what she thought about it but she just smiled and shrugged and said they would find another plot elsewhere.

We decided to travel on to the next town we’d been told about, as we felt we’d seen most of Mokhotlong in our quick visit. We boarded another local bus which yet again was packed.

On the road again

Bethany was put in the back, sandwiched between three other women, and I was put in the front, beside the driver and a guy lying down in the passenger seat. When I asked why he was lying down, he told me he’d fallen off his horse and was on the way back from the hospital. He was clearly in agony and couldn’t move his shoulder, and his face was covered in scratches. He seemed to be using the last of his energy as he told me ‘I need to sleep’. Poor guy – the last place he should have been was sharing a seat in a packed minibus, lurching around corners at a million miles an hour!

travel group lesotho

The other passengers found mine and Bethany’s presence a huge novelty and were hysterical at everything I did. Before we set off, a young boy of about five came and climbed into the driver’s seat and when the driver arrived I told him, no need, the little boy was going to drive. The locals in the back were roaring (at me or with me, who knows) which they continued to do throughout the journey. The guy with the bad shoulder kept asking me to open the window when we stopped and I kept misunderstanding and thinking he meant the door. The driver shouted at me every time I threw it open and the locals couldn’t contain how funny they found this.

Bethany also told me after that at one point, someone farted in the back and everyone else rolled down the windows and were giggling A LOT. As usual, the bus was pumping the loudest African music you could imagine and the bass was shaking the whole bus. Poor, poor shoulder guy.

travel group lesotho

Luckily the locals knew the guest house that had been recommended to Bethany as we’d never have found it alone – there was no sign or indication that it was a hostel and it looked just like any other concrete building. However it turned out to be a good base for the next two nights – even though the water wasn’t working for much of our stay, meaning washing, cooking and drinking was a challenge.

On our second day, the manager arranged for some local women to fill up the property’s water tank and they walked back and forth from the house to the village’s tap all day, with plastic buckets balanced on their heads. Then, we waited for him to connect it to the taps and make it run – by which time I was SO thirsty!! I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated how lucky we are to always have water at our disposal, and also how much water I waste in ordinary life.

Molumong was a tiny village even smaller than Mokhotlong. There wasn’t a load to do apart from hang out with the locals – which luckily was exactly what Bethany and I wanted to do. We went for a walk on our first afternoon and inadvertently turned into the Pied Piper as the local kids joined ranks with us and went wherever we did.

Horse riding in the wilderness

travel group lesotho

A couple of travel guides had informed me one of the best things to do in Lesotho was go horse riding – they weren’t wrong! We did this the morning after we arrived. There was definitely no tourist office in town but the man who owned the property took guests out riding for a very small fee.

travel group lesotho

The horses were kept in the field surrounding our house so we basically rolled out of bed and onto a noble steed. There were no helmets or briefings – I’m no pro but had ridden a couple of months before in Malawi so instructed Bethany (who was slightly freaking out) on the basics. We rode out of the village and into the countryside where we were surrounded by mountains.

I felt so calm and peaceful breathing the fresh air and hearing nothing but the sound of our horse’s hooves… …Until my horse decided to canter into a spiky bush and no amount of rein-tugging could persuade him out. They do say not to work with children or animals so maybe I had that coming. Amazing as it was, I wouldn’t have wanted to spend loads longer out on the horse as it was getting HOT. That afternoon I had a small meltdown because of the temperature and lack of drinking water – and also probably because of the altitude (we were in the highest country in the world after all). As a white English girl I’m definitely not cut out for the African weather.

New friends

Once it had cooled down, a girl we’d met the previous day, Patience, and her friend, Florence, came to visit us at the house.

travel group lesotho

Bethany said she’d heard about some ancient rock paintings in a cave nearby, and did they want to come and see them with us?

Patience looked at us like we were mad and said that we shouldn’t go to the caves as bad people did bad things there. I assumed she was referring to crime but apparently she was actually talking about witches who practise bad magic.

She also mentioned that the caves were an hour’s walk away uphill. I immediately agreed with her: the witchcraft sounded like a bad idea and definitely not something we wanted to take any chances with! 😉

Instead, we went on a leisurely walk to a viewpoint overlooking a river. It was great chatting to Patience and Florence – my favourite people to learn from while travelling are usually girls my own age. It’s often the most fascinating comparison: an insight into how my life would be had I been born into the culture I’m visiting.

That morning an impressive church ceremony had taken place in town. We’d heard singing coming from a local building and when the doors had burst open, colour had flowed into the streets. Everyone was dressed in their Sunday best: bright blazers, decorated hats and patent heels which crunched into the dry earth.

Patience asked us if we go to church at home and we told her we didn’t. She looked confused and asked us how we talk to God; how we ask for things. When we told her we didn’t do that either, she found the whole thing hilarious.

travel group lesotho

As the sun was setting, she turned to me, squinting against the sun, and asked ‘but what is your life without religion?’

Bethany explained that we exercise personal morals and goals, rather than following a divine code. They still clearly found the whole thing mind-boggling but thankfully decided not to further question our bizarre life choices.

Patience and Florence told us that even though they’re 21, they attend a vocational school where they learn useful industry skills such as knitting. It takes them two hours a day to walk there (as it does all the kids) because it’s in the next town. I can’t imagine spending four hours a day walking anywhere, let alone to and from school. Their dedication was so admirable and it wasn’t something they spent a second complaining about.

I do hope I return to this little country one day! We didn’t have time for many of the popular things to do in Lesotho, like make it to the capital, Maseru, or Africa’s tallest waterfall which sits in the middle of the country. I’ll have to see them another time.

Heading home

The next morning we journeyed back to South Africa via Mokhotlong and the Sani Pass. One thing I’ll definitely miss is the friendliness of the people in Lesotho. Waiting for the bus, my shoelace was undone and everyone was extremely concerned. When I asked the driver what time the bus would leave he said ‘tie your shoe; then I tell you’.

We had time for a quick stop at Africa’s highest pub, one of the most popular things to do in Lesotho, before we rattled back down the bumpy pass. Despite the fact it was 9am, we fitted in an Amarula shot (the African version of a Baileys). When in Lesotho, hey?

travel group lesotho

Thanks for reading!

If you liked it, please share it 🙂 See you next time for more adventures,

travel group lesotho

Rose is a solo traveller from the UK who has been on the road since 2015. She wants to show other women that solo travel isn't scary and doesn't have to be expensive! Rose has lived in Mexico, Canada and all over Asia, seeking out food, bubble tea and street art wherever she goes!

7 thoughts on “ My Adventure to Lesotho: the Land Enveloped in South Africa ”

travel group lesotho

At your next visit, stay a little longer and visit all the districts. The mountain kingdom has attractions spaced out in the mountains and valkeys

travel group lesotho

Thanks David, I’ll be sure to!

travel group lesotho

I’m from Lesotho but live in the US now, I’ve never even been to those beautiful places myself 😅 You’re lucky! Anyway, I’m going to visit this July and I’m planning on going to the rural areas 😊

Hey Alina! That’s great to hear you’re visiting in July. I hope you have a blast. Beautiful country!

travel group lesotho

Thanks for visiting my country, Lesotho, I am a mosotho woman and I currently live and work in Saudi Arabia, I grew up in Lesotho but ultimately worked most of my youth years in South Africa, I like Lesotho and I own some properties in the capital Maseru , I read your story about touring Lesotho, sorry that you did not have tourist guidance, otherwise there are some nice fascinating places to go to whilst in Lesotho,next time if ever there’ll be a next time , you can contact me

Hi Linkeng, thanks for your comment! That’s so kind, I will certainly be in contact if I visit again!

travel group lesotho

I love reading this, please visit Lesotho again. There is a lot to see.I am from Lesotho living in the UK. Next time you will have a place to sleep in my district.

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Travel Disruptors: Capturing B2B growth

In 1996, Expedia—then under the auspices of Microsoft—debuted as one of the internet’s first online travel agencies (OTAs). Expedia Group is now a publicly held company encompassing brands such as Expedia, Hotels.com, and Vrbo. It sees more than six million average daily visitors and more than one billion average monthly searches across its sites and apps.

Ariane Gorin joined Expedia Group in 2013 and is now president of Expedia for Business. She oversees the company’s fast-growing global B2B ecosystem, which counts Walmart and United Airlines among its partners. Gorin’s advice to young people who are thinking of entering the travel industry? “Go for it,” she says, “because once you get in, you’ll never want to leave. What we do as an industry is help people create memories, and that’s incredibly meaningful.”

In this installment of Travel Disruptors , Gorin spoke with McKinsey’s Emma Loxton about the industry’s postpandemic recovery, Expedia Group’s B2B offerings, and how generative AI (gen AI) might change the business of travel. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.

McKinsey: As the travel industry continues to bounce back from the pandemic, we see people traveling and interacting with travel companies in slightly altered ways. How has Expedia Group responded? Where have you invested to deliver for customers?

Ariane Gorin: It’s been an interesting few years. One thing that’s certain is that people need to travel, want to travel, and—no matter what barriers are put up—will find a way to travel.

At Expedia Group, when COVID-19 arrived in 2020 and borders closed, we saw consumers shifting to Vrbo, which is our vacation rentals brand. People were concerned with health and safety and wanted to be in their own bubbles, so they started renting whole homes. This meant that, while the air and hotel businesses didn’t do as well, the Vrbo business thrived.

Then, as vaccinations began and international borders opened, we saw people returning to international travel, hotels, and airlines. At Expedia Group, we have a diversified business, both geographically and in terms of brands and lines of business, so that as travel patterns changed, we always had an answer.

In terms of investments, I think we’ve led the way in having a focus on self-service and automation. When the pandemic began, we needed to handle a sudden onslaught of requests for cancellations, refunds, and credits. We were prepared because we’d already made a lot of investments in self-service technology. We quickly developed the ability, for example, for people to self-service airline credits, which was important for travelers but also really important for our airline partners. We let consumers make modifications using chats on our platform, instead of having them spend time on the phone with an airline trying to cancel or modify a ticket.

We also took advantage of the past couple of years to replatform our entire company. We have a number of brands—Expedia, Hotels.com, Vrbo, and others—that were each running on different technology stacks. In a world where having access to data and scale can be an advantage, the idea that we had these separate stacks and couldn’t innovate on them all at the same time was a problem for us. We found we had an opportunity, during a period of depressed demand, to do a lot of technology work under the covers and to then reemerge with a great platform that had scale and modern infrastructure and that allowed us to use modern data science to innovate faster for our travelers.

McKinsey: Countries have taken different paths back from 2020, and travel markets are developing at varied paces. How do you see the industry evolving in different markets?

Ariane Gorin: There are parts of the industry that have grown past where they were prepandemic, but other parts haven’t fully recovered yet. For example, air capacity in the United States is above prepandemic levels, but airlift between the United States and China is still only a fraction of what it was. Corporate travel is expected to recover, at a dollar value, in 2024 to where it was prepandemic, but when you factor in inflation, it means that from a volume perspective it still won’t have fully recovered.

There remain a lot of areas where there could be waves of growth. When you look at the middle-class population in Asia, it was about 2.0 billion people in 2020, but it’s expected to be 3.5 billion people by 2030. India, over the past decade, has issued 100 million passports, but still only 7 percent of the Indian population has a passport—compared with more than 40 percent in the US.

McKinsey: You’ve been instrumental in developing B2B offerings for Expedia Group. What was the genesis of that effort, where does it stand now, and what’s your value proposition for the different organizations that you work with?

Ariane Gorin: I started working on B2B initiatives in 2014. At the time, B2B was a small part of our business—basically using our hotel inventory to power other travel companies—and it wasn’t growing much. I think there was a perspective that the B2B business was sort of a sideshow.

What my team and I realized was that the travel industry was immense and that the major OTAs, at that time, were only a small portion of it. There was still a ton of business being done through corporate travel, OTAs in emerging markets, offline retail, and loyalty programs. Those were huge pockets of demand that our brands weren’t going after and that our hotel and airline partners wanted to be able to access.

We thought about how we could power all these other companies by bringing to them our technology and, especially, our supply of high-quality inventory. In recent results, B2B was at a record $995 million and growing at a 26 percent increase year over year for us. And there’s still a big runway for helping to power other companies.

The first thing in any B2B effort is understanding what your client or partner needs. For example, we work with an online travel agency in Indonesia. They already understand travel, and they are experts at knowing what their local traveler wants—how to market to that traveler, what payment types that traveler wants to use, and so forth. They know all of that. What they’re looking for from us is mainly access to great hotel inventory in Europe and in the US.

On the other extreme, earlier this year we announced a partnership with Walmart in which we are powering the travel component of its loyalty program. Walmart is not a travel company, so it is looking to Expedia Group to bring in a turnkey travel solution. And that includes not only the hotel inventory and the like but also the front-end technology. It’s our content and it’s our customer support. Similarly, if you go to United Airlines online and you look at the hotel tab, that’s us. They’ll be the first to say they’re not the experts in hotels, so they want our hotel inventory and also the great e-commerce experience that we can bring.

It’s really about listening to your partner and then having modular blocks of solutions—from technology to inventory and all of the support around them—that you can then fit to what the partner needs.

One of the things that’s helped our B2B business succeed is that we are part of a company that also has a B2C business. So we know what kinds of photos, content, and descriptions travelers want, and we are constantly making sure that our technology has the best uptime possible because we’ve got millions of people shopping on our own brands. When a B2B partner decides to come to us for their inventory or their technology, they know that it’s going to be backed by what’s working for these massive consumer brands.

McKinsey: Expedia Group is a very large company in the travel industry. How do you think about working with smaller organizations and entrepreneurs to create value for the traveling public?

Ariane Gorin: We’ve realized there are a lot of small companies or even individuals that want to participate in the travel industry, and we work with them in a number of ways.

One is that we have a program that allows an individual at home to become a travel agent. You can sign up for the Expedia Travel Agent Affiliate Program, which we call TAAP, and we’ll put all the tools at your fingertips to start to sell travel. For example, one woman who lost her job at the beginning of the pandemic decided to start her own travel business through TAAP, and that helped her build back her income.

For start-ups that are trying to make their way in the travel industry, we recently created an accelerator program. Its theme was around making travel more inclusive and accessible, so we chose a handful of start-ups that were working on accessibility. We gave them technical expertise, marketing expertise, access to coaches and mentors in our company, and stipends. It’s a six-month program. And in some cases, we actually looked at whether we could integrate their services into our products. It’s really fun to see how all of those start-ups are evolving.

And, of course, there are the individual property owners using Vrbo. What these entrepreneurs are primarily looking to us for is distribution. And our promise to them is that we’re going to develop a great platform with great marketing that’s going to attract travelers, but we’ll also provide advice about photos, descriptions, and other things they can do to help themselves get in front of the travelers who interest them. We have a lot of intelligence about what makes a property successful that we can share with them.

McKinsey: What’s your view on the biggest use cases for gen AI in the travel industry?

Ariane Gorin: I think smart players are going to benefit from it. We have often talked about how to “put the travel agent back in the OTA”—how to create a personalized experience for people, so they feel that Expedia Group knows them, is recommending things that make sense for them, and is helping them discover new things. I think within that realm of personalization, we can use gen AI to respond more easily to people’s queries and make proposals for them. We’ve already integrated ChatGPT on the front end of the Expedia app and into the shopping flow for our travelers. For example, if you’re looking at a particular property, you can ask questions about amenities, and you’ll have more conversational customer service experiences.

But I think there are also a lot of internal use cases. I have a fairly large team of commercial people who are out talking to partners every day. How can we use gen AI to make them more effective when they’re speaking to a partner? Can we use gen AI to create a summary after a call? Can we off-load some of the less value-add work for them so they can spend their time on more value-add things?

I suspect that in every boardroom, management teams are talking about this. What can you do to make your product better, but also what can you do internally for your company? At Expedia Group, we’re asking what we can do for travelers and for our internal teams, but also what we can do for our partners. We have a lot of information and data about what’s happening in the industry, so we’re wondering to what extent we can provide insights to our partners to help them make better decisions.

McKinsey: What’s one thing you wish you could change about the travel industry?

Ariane Gorin: There’s no denying that, like many industries, we have a big impact on the environment—even though, over the past few years, the growth of the industry has been faster than the growth of our environmental impact. Simply because we’re moving people around the world, sustainability is a real issue. So if I had a magic wand, the first thing I’d do is help us reach our sustainability targets much faster.

Ariane Gorin is the president of Expedia for Business. Emma Loxton is a partner in McKinsey’s London office.

Comments and opinions expressed by interviewees are their own and do not represent or reflect the opinions, policies, or positions of McKinsey & Company or have its endorsement.

This interview was edited by Seth Stevenson, a senior editor in the New York office.

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IMAGES

  1. What to do in Lesotho. Best Things to do in the Kingdom in the Sky

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  2. What to do in Lesotho. Best Things to do in the Kingdom in the Sky

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  3. Lesotho Travel: My Detailed Guide and Itinerary

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  5. Pictures Of Lesotho: A Photographic Travel Diary

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  6. Lesotho , officially the Kingdom of Lesotho, is a landlocked country

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    For those who don't know, Lesotho is a country landlocked within South Africa. They have their own currency (though they do also accept the South African Rand), their own language, their own king and their own culture. So while travelling in South Africa, I knew I wanted to visit. Whilst backpacking I met Bethany, a Canadian who also wanted ...

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