3 Ways To Explore Ts’ehlanyane National Park

3 Ways To Explore Ts’ehlanyane National Park

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Ts’ehlanyane National Park is only one of two national parks in Lesotho, and makes up an integral part of the greater Maloti/Drankensberg Transfrontier Park.

The Park has an altitude ranging from 1940 to 3112 metres and is considered mostly sub-alpine. It owes its origin to the access road to the Hlotse tunnel as part of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. This proclaimed protected pristine area lies at the junction of the Ts’ehlanyane and the Holomo rivers.

Ts’ehlanyane  is located deep in the front range of the Maloti Mountains at the foot of the Holomo Pass and only about 45 minutes from the South African border post of Caledonspoort (Caledonspoort is 15 minutes drive from the popular Freestate town of Clarens and about 4 hours from O.R Thambo International Airport).

The park is reached by a good 32km-access road that leaves the main Lesotho A1 route, 5 km south west of Butha Buthe. The route passes through the village of Khabo and parallels the Hlotse River along a very picturesque valley until it reaches the park entrance

While visiting the park in winter is an entirely different experience, there are so many things to do and see in the spring, summer, and autumn months. This guide details three incredible ways to witness this spectacular waterfalls and beautiful scenery.

Horse Riding

The horse is a source of pride in Lesotho and the Basotho are renowned as a nation of horsemen. For generations, the sure-footed Basotho ‘pony’ has been bred as the ideal form of transport in the rugged mountains. Even today, the pony is still the most effective means of reaching the more inaccessible mountain villages.

Pony trekking holidays on the hardy Basotho ponies are immensely popular and a fantastic way of exploring Lesotho’s beautiful rugged terrain as the bridle paths that criss-cross Lesotho are barely wide enough for vehicles but the ponies effortlessly dodge obstacles and loose rocks. Basotho Horse Rides are fun for everyone young and old. Go on a guided trek on the back of a traditional Basotho horse by yourself or in a group.

Choose between a short (2 hours) or long (3-4 hours) ride. Guests can explore the Maluti Mountains on horse back when booked via Maliba Lodge which is situated in the park.

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4×4 Trails

The Lesotho Highlands offer some of the most fantastic off road driving you will encounter anywhere in Southern Africa. It is full of beautiful mountain passes (No less than nine) and deep river valleys with tremendous scenery were ever you look. They don’t call it the roof of Africa for nothing!

The roads and passes themselves offer varying challenges that can test driver and vehicle alike. Most of the countries roads are little more than dirt tracks, however the road network (such as it is) is slowly upgrading in line with the main roads.

Watch out for the weather though, as Lesotho can cycle through all four seasons in a single day leaving conditions varied and in places difficult. So whether you are in 4 wheels or just 2, the mountain Kingdom has a challenge for you that you will find both inspiring and rewarding at the end of the day.

Your weekend warriors, your hardcore 4WDers, and everyone inbetween will find suitably challenging routes not only in Lesotho as a whole, but also in the immediate vicinity of Ts’ehlanyane National Park.

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Hiking

There are at least 5 walking tracks for hiking in the immediate area around Maliba which you can follow using the maps provided below, or with a guide upon request.

The Cave Trail

Length 8.4 km return trip (5.25miles), climbing from 1930m to 2520m above sea level. This is a hike leaving from the park entrance. There is parking next to the rangers’ offices at the gate. It is good practice to advise the rangers you will be hiking in the area.

The Circular Route

Length 13km return trip (8miles), Starting at Maliba Lodge at 2030m, following the Upper Route to Black Pool, then climbing steadily up to 2626m above sea level. Thereafter you come down the fairly steep valley to the ventilation shaft, and then circle back to the lodge through gate #8 and the river pool route. This hike is strenuous

The Waterfall Trail

Length 8.7 km return way trip (5.4 miles), Starting at Maliba Lodge at 2030m, dropping to 1980m, then climbing steadily up to 2320m above sea level. This hike is strenuous as it involves pushing your way through dense vegetation up the valley leading to the falls.

Upper Trail

Length 3.2km (2 miles), taking about 1 hours 20 minutes to Black Pool.

Lower Trail

Length 3.1km (1.9 miles), a gentle walk will take about 1 hour 20 minutes to Black Pool. [A return route should take about 3 hours] This route follows the Hlotse River and is almost the same distance as the Upper route but has fewer climbs making it enjoyable for all age groups.

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These activities can be booked via Maliba Lodge which is based in Ts’ehlanyane National Park.

http://www.maliba-lodge.com

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