Lesotho Border Officials & Police





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  1. #1
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    Default Lesotho Border Officials & Police

    We ventured up to Lesotho again this weekend and encountered problems that we have never faced before.

    We entered Lesotho via the Monantsa Border Post by Matatiele. We were stamped out of SA by the SA Officials but we weren't stamped in on the Lesotho side as there is no border Lesotho Border Post there. We travelled to Katse and then down to Sani Border Post. The Lesotho asked us where our entry stamp was. We told him we couldn't get stamped in as there is no Lesotho border post ther. The official refused to stamp us out of the Lesotho Border and held our passports back for about half an hour while we tried to explain our situation. We told him how can we get stamped in if there is no border post and asked him what we should do to rectify the problem but he wasn't listening. It was like trying to explain to a brick wall . Eventually he gave us our passports back and told us to get out of his country. As far as he was concerned we were never in Lesotho.

    Our second snag was with the Police. We went through three road blocks. At the first one they checked for safety triangles and drivers licences. We were waved through the second road block but at the third we had the problem.

    As I was slowing down to stop at the stop sign at the road block, the police waved me through so I proceeded. I was promptly stopped and so was the vehicle behind me.

    The policeman asked me why I didn't stop and informed me that he was going to fine me for not stopping at the sign. We argued that we were going to stop but he waved us through and we did the same at the second road block and nothing happened to us, we greeted the police and proceeded. He told me to wait and spoke to our other vehicle who gave him the same story. He then walked back to me and told me that he would let us go but next time he woldn't be so kind.

    Unfortunately these incidents put a damper on our weekend!

    Have any of you guys ever expeirenced any of these problems before?
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  2. #2
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    We had something similar, but in the end it turned out well and has changed my view of Lesotho border control.

    Stamped out of SA at Sani bottom no problem. At Sani Top we where given grief about my wifes passport. In 2006 she did not stamp out of Lesotho but did stamp back into SA. The guy said he cannot stamp her into Lesotho because she has been there for the last 3 years and should be arrested for overstaying .

    He said we should continue on our journey and sort it out at Caledonspoort.

    When we arrived at Caledonspoort on Monday they stamped all of us out of Lesotho without even looking at any of the passports because "It is teatime now" .

    First off all if you always smile and you are always calm things will work out.

    Second of all the border control in Lesotho is a complete farce. Nobody cares who goes in or out of Lesotho BUT they will give you grief if they see some small little thing wrong. Roll with the puches and be on your way.

    Yes it is frustrating I agree
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  3. #3
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    2 years ago we hit the SA border at Sani just before closing. The chaps there were very pleasant and in fact, had just knocked off. He opened the office for us, did the passport bit and then opened the gate for us.

    When we eventually got to the Lesotho border it was closed and the gate locked. The chaps were still there but would not stamp us in because it was after closing time which I suppose is fair enough. It was dark, windy, wet and cold by this time. Eventually, one of the chaps said we could walk to Sani Chalet as that was still in SA . He pointed to a row of rocks leading from the border post to, I think, the dining room at the Challet and informed us that that was the border.

    In effect, if we staid in the lounge at the Chalet, we were still in SA, however, if we went to the Dining room, we were in Lesotho, illegally I presume At some point, the same border control chap popped in to have a wee snifter before heading home. After getting this from the bar he enscounced himself in front of the fire in the lounge. So I guess he was in SA illegally All things being equal, the next morning he happilly stamped us in and gave us a Months stay

    On an other occassion whilst at Molumong, we were visited by an Army Lieutenant and his driver. He just wanted to see if we were OK and if we had had any problems. He was apparently "doing his rounds", kind of like the English Bobby. We had avery pleasant chat and a cup of tea. During this he also made mention of the fact that he was not looking forward to the prospect of the Pass being tarred as it would just facilitate the SA criminal element!!

    Otherwise, we have never had any issues at all.

  4. #4
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    Ranga, here are the simple rules as relates to your situation:

    1) While in general the Lesotho border police are very relaxed with checking in- going or out- going travellers, do remember that immigration laws still require that proper formalities be followed i.e passports should be checked for validity and be stamped. It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to ensure that you have complied. There will be the odd point when the immigration officials or police will check and if you do not have the stamp you have a problem! I can assure you that your waiting for 1/5 hour was nothing - ask me! This simply means that, it is better to use the border posts that are manned and Monontsa from what I understand is not one of those. I have heard that it probably works of you come accross such a border post, to get a note confirming this fact from the next police post you come accross - I have no experience here.

    2) Secondly, the simple rule when approaching a police check point in Lesotho is to stop at the STOP sign and WAIT TO BE 'SPECIFICALLY' FLAGGED THROUGH. It seems odd but that will save you some headaches.

    Lastly, something that works for me is simply to acknowledge the authority of these officials - no matter how crazy you may think their actions are - and to be polite and give a smile. This has worked for me in SA, Botswana, Moz etc, including going into Mozambique without the car registration document, at a police check-point wishing a Mozambican police official 'compliments of the season' which he accepted with a smile and flagged me through- how much English he knew did not matter.

    Remember, we can not set our own rules as we move around.

  5. #5
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    I was in Lesotho last weekend and went through 5 road blocks with no hassles, Yes the trick is to stop at the stop and not the cop. Wait until he/she waves the hand of authority in your direction then humbly approach.

  6. #6
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    Default Maliyavuza

    Hello Ranga.
    Your message highlights a development that seems to take place in many of our South African Border control points--and I believe it is NOTacceptable. These people are paid to be pleasant---and are manning the windows to their country---if they cannot do the job pleasantly---we, the visitor, must do our best to get them fired.
    I cannot understand why you should take flak for a vague entry point without controls. (the SA equivalent were in place according to your mail).
    As a Licensed Tour Operator, I used to make sure I was one of the "Hail Fellow, Well met, and smile always" brigade---that has changed significantly since I was recently taken to a back office on the Sani Pass to"negotiate" a problem with a client's visa. I refused.I then had my Provisional 6-month Entry Permit summarily cancelled (this is a discretionary permit to business people who are entering regularly and who would very soon fill their passports with the same entry and exit stamps) and we left without setting foot in their country.I was that angry that I contacted the Lesotho High Commisioner the very next morning.They have an office in Durban. They wanted my report pronto in e-mail format. They acknowledged receipt.Since that date my subsequent dealings with Lesotho border officials have been " cool" and " briskly efficient".I have no idea if the Commissioner did attend to my issue at all---but the change in attitude suggests they are careful with me.I am therefore recommending that you will do all of us a favour, by reporting your issues to the Durban Office, in the hope that they attend, likewise.Good Luck.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mafika View Post
    Ranga, here are the simple rules as relates to your situation:
    1) While in general the Lesotho border police are very relaxed with checking in- going or out- going travellers, do remember that immigration laws still require that proper formalities be followed i.e passports should be checked for validity and be stamped. It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to ensure that you have complied. There will be the odd point when the immigration officials or police will check and if you do not have the stamp you have a problem! I can assure you that your waiting for 1/5 hour was nothing - ask me! This simply means that, it is better to use the border posts that are manned and Monontsa from what I understand is not one of those.

    Lastly, something that works for me is simply to acknowledge the authority of these officials. This has worked for me in SA, Botswana, Moz etc, including going into Mozambique without the car registration document.

    Remember, we can not set our own rules as we move around.
    Mafika

    Firstly, we were very friendly to the official at the border post as we are to everyone in Lesotho. We are not there to take advantage of them or their country and respect their laws. We had our passports, Vehicle reg docs etc. If a person exits SA only to find that Lesotho doesn't have border control on their side, there is no way that person can comply as you are already technically in Lesotho illegally. We asked the official at Sani Pass what we can do to rectify the problem and he was unwilling to help or shed any light on the matter. A smile cannot rectify that problem when the person is not interested in you. We will only enter Lesotho where there is a Lesotho Border Post in future but this will not help other visitors who enter through those border posts.

    Most people, including us, respect officials, police and residents of other countries. The problem comes in when officials take advantage of their powers and make matters difficult for visitors.

    The bottom line is that if there is a border post a person should be able to exit their contry of origin and enter their country of destination. This means being stamped out and in, in the relevant countries. I dont believe it is MY RESPONSIBILITY if the country can't supply a border official. If Lesotho doesn't have the resources for a border post they should have an official posted at the SA border.
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  8. #8
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    Smile Mike Louw

    OK everyone, firstly I do tours in lesotho and have exited and entered at just about every border post there is. I have never expeeienced a problem. If you do happen to enter or exit where Lesotho does not have a border control, simply in form the official at the next post that you come to why there is no Lesotho stamp and there is never a problem.
    The worst thing to do is to become agressive, it will get you nowhere. Sometimes we South Africans think that we are superior and this attitude is picked up by the officials.
    The Lesotho people are generally very friendly and extremely helpfull. It is a wonderfull country to visit.
    Lets keep it real people and show some respect. Don't spoil it for the future.

    Mike Louw
    Last edited by Scotty; 2010/04/04 at 09:36 AM.

  9. #9
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    T.i.a ....

  10. #10
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    I never had problems with officials in lesotho...the worst officials is the South Africans.

    I find that a friendly greeting in the local language does wonders....even ask whether you have done it correctly and you usually get very good response! "Dumela Mme", for a lady or "Dumela Ntate" for a man and thank you is "Ke a le Boa, Ntate/ Mme" (e is an sound like in Afrikaans)

    But, this is Africa, sometimes my mind is also boggled by some attitudes!

    Bostoe

  11. #11
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    Where is the "Monantsa Border Post ", I know of Ongeluksnek pass near Matatiele that does not have a Lesotho Border Post. The prefab buildings are there but no officials. We normally enter and exit here with no problems.
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  12. #12
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    There are 3 border posts within 60km of Matatiele, Ongeluksnek and Quchasnek and Ramatseliso's Gate
    Monontsa border post is by Golden Gate Highlands National Park.
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