Maseru is the capital city of the land-locked African Kingdom of Lesotho, an enclave of South Africa. The city is situated about 1600m above sea level, in clear mountain air, making it a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts — a definite lure to move to Maseru.
The whole country of Lesotho encompasses 30,355 square kilometers (11,720 square miles), and the city and its peri-urban villages sprawl across 138 square kilometers (53 square miles), with a relatively small, sleepy center. The latest available census (2006) shows 227,880 people live in Maseru, which is about a tenth of the country’s population.
Maseru is far from being an African economic powerhouse. It has an international airport (Moshoeshoe) and relies heavily on tourism, especially from neighboring South Africa. The city has several international standard hotels, branches of South African retail chains and banks, along with restaurants serving good food. There are some flourishing industrial enterprises such as flour mills, textile and footwear companies. These, and diplomatic posts from abroad, all provide jobs for expatriates who relocate to Maseru.
Set at high altitude, Maseru has a pleasant subtropical highland climate, with warm wet summers and chilly dry winters.
The average summer temperature (December to March in the Southern Hemisphere) is 22°C (72°F), and in winter it averages 9°C (48°F). July is the coldest month, when temperatures can dip below freezing at night.
The wettest, and warmest, month is January, when the average precipitation is 111 mm (4.4 inches) and average high temperature 28°C (82°F).
If you plan to live and work in Lesotho you will need a work permit. The best advice for expatriates is to arrive in Maseru as a tourist and apply for a work permit within 30 days of your arrival.
Lesotho is an independent state and thus a valid passport is needed to enter. Citizens of numerous countries do not require a tourist visa to enter Lesotho for up to 30 days, including Commonwealth countries and the USA. You can check the full list of visa-free countries online. If you do need a visa you should apply in advance at your nearest Lesotho embassy or consulate. Find contact details for Lesotho Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates around the world at the web address given above.
Once in Maseru your employer will probably guide you through the process of obtaining a work permit, which involves completing an application form from the Ministry of Labor and Employment (Tel: +266 22 312620) and submitting it to the Commissioner. If the application is approved you will have to collect your work permit from the Central Police Station in Maseru.