We all know that we don’t pat the back of a colleague in Korea to thank them for a “job well done”. Or eat with your left hand in India, or sip vodka in Russia. In many countries, these actions are harmless. But in others, they can give a wrong impression or cause offense.

In fact, whatever culture you’re from, it’s likely that you routinely do something that could cause offense somewhere else in the world. So here is:

A primer on how to avoid mistakes in

Lesotho culture photo

Photo by Di.Malealea

Try and learn a few Sesotho words before travelling to Lesotho. The locals appreciate a foreigner who has made the effort to learn their language. Always refer to an elder person, or a person of higher social standing as N’tate (male) or M’e (female).

Lumela (pronounced due-mela) is hello. So you would say Lumela N’tate or Lumela M’e. Kea leboha (sounds like ke-la-bore) – is thank you U phela joang (O-pila-joan) – how are you Respond with either hantle (well) or Ke phila hantle (I am well) Sala hantle (as it is written) is “stay well” if they are staying and your are going. Equivalent to goodbye. Somaya hantle is “go well” if they are going and you are staying Always respond to people, it is very offensive to ignore someone who greets you. As a foreigner, locals will be keen to say hello and ask you what you’re up to in their country.

Never get angry at anyone; in the Basotho culture, people never show frustration towards others, and if you do, then you can easily offend someone. You will almost certainly get frustrated when dealing with Lesotho officialdom, always keep your cool no matter how much buffoonery you are subjected to. To show respect when giving and receiving items, use both hands. Also show a respect for food — don’t throw it around, or eat whilst walking.

With this, you had the primer on key facts about Lesotho, and key facts on culture and customs. Another important part of the culture is the local food and the local drinks. Make sure you read our posts on Lesotho food and drinks:

Local food you should try in Lesotho and No miss drinks in Lesotho.

Other tips that you’d like to share on mistakes to avoid in Lesotho? Please comment below.