The Thaba-Tseka district of Lesotho. Picture: Graham Maclachlan

Maseru, Lesotho - Seven people died when a flooded river washed away a minibus taxi in Lesotho, police said on Saturday.

The taxi, filled to capacity with 15 passengers, was trying to cross a bridge in the district of Thaba Tseka on Thursday when it was swept away by the Linakeng River, said police spokesman Mpiti Mopeli.

Rescue workers began to search for missing passengers immediately, but heavy rains made the search difficult. Many of the bodies were discovered along different places on the river's banks on Saturday morning, said Mpiti.

One of those killed in the accident was a woman who had recently given birth to a baby, the police spokesman said.

Parts of southern African have experienced heavy rain for several days. In neighbouring South Africa, parts of the capital Pretoria were left without power due to heavy rainfall.