Yes – you can go skiing in South Africa. And since Afriski is only a 2 hour drive away (but allow some extra time to get through the border post), Clarens is the perfect base for an awesome skiing holiday. Afriski winter season runs from 6th June to 31 August, and there is a regular shuttle service which runs from Clarens to Afriski. (See our skiing and snow boarding page.)
Driving in Lesotho:
Before you leave:
Ensure that you have a valid passport in order to enter Lesotho. SADC , British, American, and EU citizens do not require a visa but children under the age of 18 need to have a copy of their unabridged birth certificate. Should you not be carrying a passport from one of these countries please check with the Lesotho embassy. http://www.foreign.gov.ls/services/default.php Please note that all children under the age of 18 must have an unabridged birth certficate.
Ensure you carry a valid driver’s licence. Only South African, Swaziland, Botswana or International Drivers licences are acceptable.
Ensure that your car’s licence disc is up to date and that your car is equipped with two warning triangles. Fire extinguishers are not a legal requirement, but since these have been asked for in the past, we recommend you have one in the car. It is a good idea to have a copy of your car’s registration papers with you, to avoid delays at road blocks which check for vehicle theft.
Check the weather. Under normal conditions a 4×4 is not needed to get to the resort; although the mountain pass to the resort is steep any car above a 1.4l engine will make it up the pass. This however can all change in the event of natural snowfalls ! Visit the Afriski website for the latest weather, road conditions and snow reports. Roads are generally always cleared and salted immediately by the Letseng Diamond mine as soon as it has stopped snowing. In the event of heavy snow it is best to use a 4×4 vehicle equipped with snow chains.
Pack warm clothing, blankets, as well as some food and water, in case of a breakdown. Parts of Lesotho have no cell-phone signal, so it is best to be prepared for any eventuality.
You should also pack the following items to use on the slopes:
– Appropriate clothing: Warm socks; thermal underwear; warm shoes with good tread and a second pair of shoes in case your first pair get wet; ski pants (waterproof) to use on the slopes; beanie and scarf.
– Sunglasses or goggles. You need to protect your eyes rather than run the risk of snow blindness.
– Sunscreen and lip balm. Just because it’s cold does not mean you won’t get sunburnt
It is not necessary to have ski-ing equipment. You can hire everything you need at the resort.
Cash and Credit cards. The Lesotho currency comprises of one Loti (plural Maloti) which is divided into 100 lisente (singular sente). The currency is linked to the South African Rand which is also accepted. Mastercard, American Express, Visa and diners club are accepted in the main centres and in most lodges and hotels. Fuel purchases require cash. Banks open at 09h00 and close at 13h00 weekdays and at 11h00 on Saturdays.
NB. You are not allowed to take alcohol into Lesotho.
The border post at Caledonspoort is open from 6h00 to 22h00, every day of the week.
A 50 km/h speed limit applies in urban areas while 80 km/h is a maximum speed that can be maintained on all other roads.
Check your fuel guage when you get to Butha Buthe. There is no fuel available at the resort, so make sure you have enough fuel to get there and back.
Police road blocks are a common occurrence in Lesotho and there is often a police road block on the outskirts of Butha Buthe on the way to the resort. The roadblocks usually consist of 2 opposing stop signs approx. 100m apart, with the police somewhere in the middle. Stop at the Stop sign and wait until a police officer waves you through to the middle. (Even if there doesn’t appear to be a policeman in sight, stop and wait: one will eventually appear.) Stop again when you reach the policeman.
Please drive cautiously once in Lesotho, the roads are narrow and there are many sheep, donkeys and often also children walking along the road. In particular please be aware of POTHOLES that form during the high rainfall periods in summer.
On getting back:
Don’t delay your trip home past 15h00. It is best to avoid driving in Lesotho after dark – much better to leave early and be sure you’re back in Clarens in time for dinner.
How to get there:
Take the R711 towards Fouriesburg
Turn left opposite the entrance to Fouriesburg
Clear the border post at Caledonspoort
Turn left at Butha Butha (Watch for signs to Afriski)
Travel another 75 k to Afriski