Planning a trip to Lesotho and looking for the best ways to get connected? Buying a local prepaid sim card or an e-sim card is the easiest way to keep using data on your phone when traveling in Lesotho. This is a complete guide showing you the mobile internet providers of Lesotho, up to date prices for prepaid sim cards and e-sim cards as per May 2023, give you my recommendation and tell you about my experience getting and using a local prepaid sim card in Lesotho.
As part of visiting every country in the world I recently traveled to Lesotho and checked out the options for buying local prepaid sim cards for tourists. I also wrote prepaid sim card guides for Johannesburg, Cape Town, South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Europe, United Kingdom, USA and many more countries around the world.
Why buying a sim card in Lesotho
At first I also hesitated as I was only visiting the country for about 2-3 days and I thought I would get by with using WiFi from hotels. Unfortunately most hotels and B&B’s I visited did not provide WiFi and when they did it was hardly working.
Another reasons why I decided to buy a local prepaid sim card in Lesotho was to make travel plans and decisions on the road. I rented a car in Johannesburg and went on a big road trip in Lesotho. Finding restaurants, hotels and of course directions from Google Maps was so much easier when I got connected.
IMPORTANT: A Vodacom South Africa sim card does NOT allow free roaming with Vodacom Lesotho! There are international roaming fees in Lesotho for Vodacom South Africa users.
Traveltomtom does recommend international sim cards for travelers, but only a few! Getting a local prepaid sim card is always cheaper, but there are some good international sim card deals available nowadays and they make everything much easier. Click on the link for my complete international sim card comparison and see which one suits your trip.
Traveltomtom actually recommends an e-sim card for Lesotho as there is no need to arrange anything at a store, no need to swap a physical sim card, etc. For $9.5 USD you get 1 GB data for 7 days in Lesotho. Click here to order this e-sim card for Lesotho directly online.
Especially since most people visit Lesotho for just a couple days, an e-sim card is very convenient. 1 GB data is enough to stay in touch on WhatsApp, check your email and use Google Maps for directions.
If you still want to buy a prepaid sim card on arrival in Lesotho then Traveltomtom recommends a Vodacom sim card for Lesotho.
Where to buy a local sim card in Lesotho
The most convenient place to buy a Lesotho sim card is at the border. When crossing the border from South Africa there will be signs and little kiosks everywhere pointing you in the right direction.
Buying a sim card in Maseru is easiest in the Maseru Mall or the Pioneer Mall Maseru, where you will find official retail stores of Vodacom and Econet as well as some other phone shops that sell local sim cards for tourists.
The photo above is from the Caledonspoort border crossing, you can see multiple red painted little kiosks of Vodacom and there were also signs for Econet, the other mobile internet provider in Lesotho.
Prices prepaid sim cards in Lesotho
As I just mentioned there are only 2 mobile internet operators in Lesotho: Vodacom and Econet. All prices below are in ZAR, the South African Rand. The official currency of Lesotho is the Loti, but it is pegged to the ZAR at 1:1. As of May 2023: $1 USD = 18.3 ZAR and 100 ZAR = $5.46 USD.
A Vodacom prepaid sim card costs 5 ZAR in Lesotho, which is about $0.3 USD. You then have to add airtime for buying a data package. These are the available Vodacom data packages:
- 19 ZAR = 1 GB data for 1 day - $1.3
- 24 ZAR = 1 GB data for 3 days - $1.7
- 50 ZAR = 2 GB data for 7 days - $3.5
Check for more info the Vodacom Lesotho website.
An Econet prepaid sim card in Lesotho also costs 5 ZAR ($0.3 USD). You can buy one of the following data package deals after adding airtime:
- 8 ZAR = 200 MB data for 1 day - $0.6
- 50 ZAR = 2 GB data for 1 week - $3.5
Check the Econet Telecom Lesotho website for the latest prepaid data package deals.
As you can prices for prepaid sim cards in Lesotho are VERY CHEAP! There is hardly any difference in price between Vodacom and Econet.
Best mobile network in Lesotho
There is no 5G yet in Lesotho as of May 2023, but there is a pretty extensive 4G network. Unfortunately Econet Telecom does not provide any information about the strength of their mobile network, but Vodacom does. See the picture below!
Based on the information I could find online I found out that although Econet on their website is claiming to have the best network coverage in Lesotho, Vodacom has the best mobile internet network in Lesotho and covers almost the whole country with a 3G signal, while providing 4G in most tourist destinations in Lesotho as well.
Best prepaid sim card in Lesotho in 2023
When comparing the prices for Lesotho sim cards from Econet and Vodacom we can see that there is not much difference however, based on the mobile network coverage I came to the following conclusion that Vodacom is the best prepaid sim card in Lesotho in 2023! Therefore Traveltomtom recommends tourist to buy a Vodacom sim card on arrival.
My experience buying a sim card in Lesotho
Initially my plan was to visit Lesotho for 2-3 days, but as I loved the country so much I decided to stay longer. I crossed the border at the Caledonspoort crossing at night and the sim card kiosks were closed, so at first I did not buy a local sim card. On day 2 of my road trip in Lesotho I felt the need for a local sim card to make my trip to Lesotho much easier.
I stopped at one of the many kiosks on the side of the road and asked for the prepaid sim card prices. The friendly girl told me an Econet and a Vodacom sim card both were 5 ZAR. When I asked her which one she would recommend me, she said without a doubt: Vodacom.
I added an extra 50 ZAR airtime and she converted it within a minute into 2 GB data for 7 days. Driving around Lesotho for 4 days, I had no problem connecting to the internet and actually mostly enjoyed a 4G signal.
If you have any additional questions about buying a sim card in Lesotho please leave me a comment below. Even if you are in need of some Lesotho travel tips, I am happy to help.
Visiting Lesotho was part of my journey to visit every country in the world, read more about it in my Lesotho trip report country no. 114 with some cool travel tips. Go check my Instagram account @traveltomtom for some more wanderlust inspiration. As of May 2023 I have visited more than 155 countries around the world.
Enjoy your trip to Lesotho!