LESOTHO

Country Description: Lesotho is a developing country in southern Africa. Facilities for tourists are limited.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements: For information on entry requirements, travelers may contact the Embassy of the Kingdom of Lesotho, 2511 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 797-5533. Overseas inquiries should be made to the nearest Lesotho embassy or consulate.

Medical Facilities: Medical facilities are minimal. Many medicines are unavailable. Doctors and hospitals often require immediate cash payment for health care services. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. The Medicare/Medicaid program does not provide for payment of medical services outside of the United States. Travelers have found supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas coverage, including provisions for medical evacuation to be useful. For additional health information, travelers can contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's international travelers hotline, telephone (404) 332-4559. Internet: http://www.cdc.gov.

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: Since the resolution of its political unrest in 1994, Lesotho has remained relatively calm except for occasional protests by local labor unions. The security situation can change rather rapidly and travelers are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy in Maseru for the latest security guidance.

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: Deteriorating economic conditions in the country aggravated by the return of large numbers of unemployed miners from South Africa have caused an increase in armed robberies, break-ins and auto thefts. This occurs primarily in the capital city of Maseru but can occur elsewhere as well. Victims have included foreign diplomats and members of foreign aid missions. Traveling alone or at night is particularly dangerous.

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to local police and to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. The pamphlets "A Safe Trip Abroad" and "Tips for Travelers to Sub-Saharan Africa" provide useful information on protecting personal security while traveling abroad and on travel in the region in general. Both are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.

Road Conditions/In-Country Travel: Road travel is difficult, especially during bad weather. A four-wheel drive vehicle is mandatory on dirt roads outside of Maseru. Due to lack of maintenance, some city roads are impassable without a four-wheel drive vehicle and other roads may have limited access to other vehicular traffic. Travelers have experienced unexpected overnight stays in Johannesburg, South Africa, as a result from overbooking and/or flight cancellations of Maseru's local airline.

Drug Penalties: U.S. citizens are subject to the laws of the country in which they are traveling. Penalties for possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines.

Registration/Embassy Location: U.S. citizens are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy and obtain updated information and travel and security in Lesotho. The U.S. Embassy is located at 254 Kingsway, Maseru West; the mailing address is P.O. Box 333, Maseru 100, Lesotho. The telephone number is (266) 312-666.

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